Gle­nealy march on

Su­per sec­ond half sees de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons through

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at Joule Park Aughrim

DE­FEND­ING cham­pi­ons Gle­nealy se­cured their pas­sage to an­other county fi­nal with vic­tory over St Pat’s in the clas­sic game of two halves in Joule Park Aughrim on Sun­day af­ter­noon last.

With the wind at their backs in the sec­ond half and shoot­ing to­wards the dress­ing room end, Gle­nealy put the boot down through goals from Jonathan O’Neill Jnr and Gavin Weir that served to knock the stuff­ing out of Michael Neary’s charges who exit the cham­pi­onship at the same stage as last sea­son when they fell to Bray in the last four.

Guided by the lead­er­ship qual­i­ties of Jonathan O’Neill Snr at mid­field who also chipped in with six valu­able points and with Danny Staunton cur­tail­ing the in­flu­ence of Andy O’Brien at full-back, Garry Laf­fan’s men turned around 2-4 to 0-4 half-time deficit af­ter Pat’s had bagged two goals that will give the Gle­nealy de­fence night­mares as they pre­pare for their county fi­nal bat­tle with James Hickey’s Carnew.

St Pat’s wel­comed back goal­keeper Eoghan O’Mahoney for this piv­otal clash and with a heav­ily strapped leg the net­min­der went on to have a su­perb game be­tween the sticks. Gle­nealy were able to en­joy the de­fen­sive qual­i­ties of War­ren Ka­vanagh at six and had the com­fort of know­ing that Leighton Glynn, Tommy Doyle, John Manley and Ruadhri O’Neill were on the bench among oth­ers should they have been re­quired in the sec­ond half.

It was a changed Pat’s out­fit from this time last year. O’Mahoney re­placed James ‘Jimzer’ O’Brien in the goals. The cor­ner-back pair­ing of Michael Con­nors, who was now at half-back from where he had a fine game, and An­drew Con­way, who was on the bench, were re­placed by Dale Quinn and Ge­orge O’Brien.

Niall Han­ton had started at half-back against Bray last year but was lined out at half-for­ward on Sun­day and while his half-back col­league Shane Doyle was on the bench wear­ing 27. They were re­placed by Ed­die Kelly and the afore­men­tioned Michael Con­nors who stood ei­ther side of Gerry Con­nors.

Ricky Quinn be­gan last sea­son’s epic strug­gle with Bray at mid­field but found him­self on the bench on Sun­day with Christy Moore­house and Chris Ka­vanagh lin­ing out in the mid­dle.

The half-for­ward line was rad­i­cally al­tered. Niall Han­ton, Wayne Far­rell and Pa­trick Mur­phy re­placed John ‘Dee’ O’Brien (sub), Terry Healy (not present) and Ed­die Kelly (half backs).

The only line that was un­changed from last sea­son was the full-for­ward line where Andy O’Brien, Ge­orge ‘Bee’ O’Brien and James ‘Bon­ner’ O’Brien prowled.

Things were look­ing very bright for Pat’s in the open­ing half. A goal off the hand of Andy O’Brien af­ter five min­utes for what was the open­ing score of the game was a mas­sive boost.

It was a stop-start kind of game that rarely opened up into an en­joy­able hurl­ing match.

There were 36 frees awarded by ref­eree John Keenan who felt the wrath of both side­lines at times over the course of this games for de­ci­sion both man­agers felt should have gone their way. Of the 36 frees, Pat’s were awarded 23 while Gle­nealy at­tracted 13.

Pat’s would prove the less waste­ful of the two sides, fir­ing wide seven times. Gle­nealy would prove way­ward on nine oc­ca­sions.

A key bat­tle was that of Danny Staunton and Andy O’Brien with Staunton not let­ting the at­tacker out of his sight in that open­ing half with the St Pat’s con­tin­gent be­liev­ing that the Gle­nealy full­back might have crossed the line on more than one oc­ca­sion.

The open­ing 12 min­utes were owned by Pat’s. Af­ter Andy’s for­tu­itous goal he fol­lowed up with a pointed free for a foul by Jonathan O’Neill Snr that earned him an early yel­low card.

A high tackle on Jonathan O’Neill Jnr by Chris Ka­vanagh pro­vided ‘Bosco’ Snr with a chance from a free and the Gle­nealy leg­end didn’t let his side down.

Pat’s struck back and struck back hard. A long free from the im­pres­sive Michael Con­nors was al­lowed drift all the way to the back of the Gle­nealy net in a mo­ment of hor­ror for Cian Staunton and a fine score from open play from Christy Moore­house drove Pat’s to a 2-2 to 0-1 lead with a very strong wind at their backs in the first half.

‘Bosco’ re­duced the ar­rears with a pointed free, but Andy hit back af­ter a foul on Pa­trick Mur­phy and then Gle­nealy were awarded a penalty for a foul on Gavin Weir with 20 min­utes on the clock.

The re­spon­si­bil­ity fell to Jonathan O’Neill Snr but his wicked shot was saved su­perbly by Eoghan O’Mahoney and Michael Con­nors was quick­est to re­act to clear the dan­ger. Was this to be Pat’s day?

Gle­nealy were hun­gry for goals but O’Mahoney was in ex­cel­lent form af­ter a long layoff. He pro­duced the goods again mo­ments later when Jonathan O’Neill Jnr fired in a shot only to see the Pat’s net­min­der block it out for a 65 which was swung over by O’Neill Snr, 2-3 to 0-3.

Ge­orge ‘Bee’ O’Brien added Pat’s’ last score of the first half and ‘Bosco’ flicked over from play to leave the half-time score read­ing 2-4 to 0-4 to Pat’s with Gle­nealy pre­par­ing to en­joy the ben­e­fits of that wind in the sec­ond half.

What­ever Garry Laf­fan said at the break worked a treat be­cause the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons came out a dif­fer­ent side in the sec­ond half.

Gary Hughes opened the scor­ing with a point be­fore ‘Bosco’ Snr swung over a free and then a 65 af­ter O’Neill Jnr had brought yet an­other fan­tas­tic save out of O’Mahoney in the Pat’s goal.

The first Gle­nealy goal ar­rived af­ter 36 min­utes and it was a fa­ther and son com­bi­na­tion with ‘Bosco’ Snr send­ing in a lovely ball for Ju­nior to ri­fle home to level the scores and get the re­cov­ery fully un­der­way.

Gavin Weir fired over fired over for the lead and then drew a save from O’Mahoney be­fore Garry Laf­fan sent in Enan Glynn for Gary Hughes af­ter 41 min­utes.

A foul by Staunton on Andy O’Brien drew a free but the sharp-shooter blazed wide and the county star would prove way­ward mo­ments af­ter Alan Driver split the posts at the other end and just be­fore Enan Glynn brought the best out of Eoghan O’Mahoney as Pat’s sent in Jim O’Brien for Gerry Con­nors.

The writ­ing was on the wall af­ter 47 min­utes when Alan Driver turned provider for Gavin Weir who fired past O’Mahoney to put five be­tween the teams.

Michael Neary had moved Andy O’Brien out the field in a bid to win pri­mary pos­ses­sion around the mid­dle, but it failed to work as Gle­nealy proved too sharp and too clever.

Jim O’Brien pointed a free for what was Pat’s’ first score of the sec­ond half af­ter 48 min­utes, just be­fore Wayne O’Gor­man was in­tro­duced for Gle­nealy.

Ge­orge ‘Bee’ O’Brien re­duced the lead to three points but a poor ball out of their de­fence by Pat’s al­lowed Garry Byrne all the time in the world to fire over and when Jonathan O’Neill Jnr ri­fled home af­ter 54 the deed was as good as done at 2-11 to 2-6.

Jim O’Brien would com­plete the Pat’s scor­ing on what was a mas­sively dis­ap­point­ing day for Michael Neary’s men. A long ball from Danny Staunton to Alan Driver would see the cap­tain split the posts for the last score of the day.

Gle­nealy se­cure their place in the county fi­nal. They want more of the same af­ter last year’s epic Le­in­ster voy­age. They’ll have to ne­go­ti­ate a way past Carnew first, though. Ex­pect a se­ri­ous bat­tled in the de­cider.

Scor­ers – Gle­nealy: Jonathan O’Neill Snr 0-6 (4f, 1 65), Gavin Weir 1-1, Jonathan O’Neill Jnr 1-1, Gary Hughes 0-1 (f), Alan Driver 0-2, Garry Byrne 0-1.

St Pa­trick’s: Andy O’Brien 1-2 (2f), Jim O’Brien 0-2 I1f), Ge­orge ‘Bee’ O’Brien 0-2 (1f), Christy Moore­house 0-1, Michael Con­nors 1-0 (f).

Gle­nealy: Cian Staunton; Em­met Byrne, Danny Staunton, Ro­nan Manley; Garry Byrne, War­ren Ka­vanagh, Joe Drive Jnr; Jonathan O’Neill Snr, Robert Byrne; Jamie Byrne, Gary Hughes, Paul O’Brien; Jonathan O’Neill Jnr, Alan Driver, Gavin Weir. Subs:

St Pa­trick’s: Eoghan O’Mahoney; Dale Quinn, John Con­nors, Ge­orge O’Brien; Ed­die Kelly, Gerry Con­nors, Michael Con­nors; Christy Moore­house, Chris Ka­vanagh; Niall Han­ton, Wayne Far­rell, Pa­trick Mur­phy; Ge­orge ‘Bee’ O’Brien, Andy O’Brien, James ‘Bon­ner’ O’Brien. Subs:

Ref­eree: John Keenan (Aughrim)

Andy O’Brien comes un­der pres­sure from Gle­nealy’s Danny Staunton in the SHC semi-fi­nal in Joule Park Aughrim.

Gle­nealy’s Paul O’Brien gets his shot away as Gerry Con­nors closes in.

Gle­nealy’s Gary Hughes watches as Eoghan O’Mahoney pulls off one a num­ber of su­perb saves.

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