Pat’s on the prowl
O’Brien’s men dump Blessington out of championship
A dominant performance from St Pat’s brought an end to Blessington’s Senior football championship campaign for 2018 when the sides met in Joule Park Aughrim on Sunday last.
Last year’s beaten finalists have endured a very disappointing campaign and needed a victory against Casey O’Brien’s men to survive while at the same time condemn Baltinglass to an early exit. However, a Blessington win never looked on the cards after they were ripped apart at the back for three goals inside the first 20 minutes and it’s Baltinglass who progress to the quarter-finals at the expense of Paddy O’Connor’s side.
Casey O’Brien will be delighted with the result which propels them to the semi-finals of this year’s championship. A dropped point against AGB is the only slight negative they will take from the group stages and the Wicklow town men are looking like a serious force this year with leaders all over the field from the full-back line to corner-forward Tommy Kelly and a healthy bench to call upon when required.
On the other hand, Casey O’Brien will likely be concerned at lulls in the performances of key men during this clash with Blessington but as a unit they are functioning solidly and should be there or thereabouts come county final day going on current form.
It was all Pat’s early on. They had amassed three wides before they romped through the Blessington rearguard where Tommy Kelly got on the end of a flowing move to fist home after five for the opening score of the game.
A beautiful ball from John Crowe into space provided Stephen Duffy with all the room he needed to lash home past Peter Manning four minutes later before Patrick O’Connor dropped over a beauty off his left with Shane Murley close by.
The game hadn’t reached the end of the first quarter when Paddy O’Connor sent Mikey O’Connor into the fray. Anto McLoughlin pointed the first of his five-point tally shortly afterwards, this one from a free.
Ciaran Doyle had a fine game for Pat’s and he flashed over the first of three points after Dean Healy had made a fine mark at midfield.
Pat’s had too much power and pace for Blessington in this game and when John Crowe fired home a screamer to make it 3-1 to 0-2 the memories of last year’s county final against Rathnew must have come flooding back for the west men.
Anto McLoughlin decided to stop the rot and he fired over four superb points (two frees) and this along with a Curtis Geraghty white flag sent Blessington in at the break with things looking slightly less bleak at 3-2 to 0-7.
Stephen Duffy dropped over a bomb from about 55 yards out to get the second half scoring underway seconds after registering an early wide.
Two Blessington wides were followed by another Ciaran Doyle point after excellent work from Shane Murley all the way up from full-back and then Blessington squandered a golden chance of a goal when Curtis Geraghty hand passed a ball across the face of the goal, but the ball crossed the line without Patrick O’Connor getting a hand to it.
A goal here would have made it 3-4 to 1-7. Alas, for Blessington the chance was gone.
Tommy Kelly and Kevin Hanlon swapped scores before substitute Ciaran McGettigan showed how valuable he can be when he split the posts after good work from Paudge McWalter.
A Stephen Bohan free and Curtis Geraghty from play left five between the teams with 56 minutes gone but Pat’s would finish strongly with scores from Stephen Duffy (two, one free) and a wicked score from the very impressive John Crowe while Mikey O’Connor completed the scoring for Blessington who were faced with that long journey home with many more questions than answers to consider.
Pat’s power on. They have quality all over the field. Padraig Higgins, Shane Murley, and Wayne Doyle make up a capable full-back line. Conor Ffrench was effective. Dean Healy and John Crowe dominated while a busy half-forward line gave Pat’s plenty of attacking threat.
Stephen Duffy’s roaming license was put to good use for the most part while any side with Paul Earls and Tommy Kelly among their ranks will always be guaranteed a handful of scores.
Scorers – St Patrick’s: Stephen Duffy 1-3 (1f), Tommy Kelly 1-1, Ciaran Doyle 0-3, John Crowe 1-1, Ciaran McGettigan 0-1.
Blessington: Anto McLoughlin 0-5 (3f), Mikey O’Connor 0-2 (1f), Patrick O’Connor 0-1, Kevin Hanlon 0-1, Stephen Bohan 0-1, Curtis Geraghty 0-1.
St Patrick’s: Colm Byrne; Padraig Higgins, Shane Murley, Wayne Doyle; Simon Bouchier, Conor Ffrench, Patrick O’Keane; Dean Healy, John Crowe; Ciaran Doyle, Patrick McWalter, Jack Dunne; Paul Earls, Stephen Duffy, Tommy Kelly. Subs: Ciaran McGettigan for J Dunne (48), Paul O’Brien for C Doyle (58), Jordan Pettigrew for P Earls, Aidan Dunne for S Bouchier (62), James Kavanagh for T Kelly (64), Johnny Delahunt for S Duffy (64), .
Blessington: Peter Manning; Barry Murphy, Stephen Bohan, Wayne Callaghan; Caolan McGorman, Kevin Hanlon, Bryan Carroll; David Boothman, Paul McLoughlin; Eoin Keogh, Patrick O’Connor, Mick McLoughlin; Curtis Geraghty, Anto McLoughlin, Jack Cotter. Subs: Mikey O’Connor for Bryan Carroll (12), Jack Gilligan for C McGorman (24), Aaron Curran for M McLoughlin (H/T), Bryan Carroll for E Keogh (41), Michael Nugent for W Callaghan (inj, 46), Eoin Keogh for M Nugent (inj, 56).
Referee: John Keenan (Aughrim)
Blessington’s Anto McLoughlin fires off this shot towards the St pat’s posts as Paudge McWalter moves to block. Photos: Joe Byrne.
Blesisngton’s Mick McLoughlin comes under pressure from John Crowe of St Pat’s in Joule Park Aughrim.