Michael Dwyers are beaten in an absolute thriller
BLESSINGTON MICHAEL DWYERS 7-09 5-02
WOW!!! Is the only word to describe the unbelievable match and scenes we had, in what will be remembered as ‘The Battle of Baltinglass’.
History was made when Blessington won the Ray Daniels Cup for their first time.
Captain Ben Carroll Daniels proudly raised his father’s cup aloft, high into the floodlit sky after one titanic battle.
We required extra-time in Baltinglass, with a real Late, Late Show on Friday night last to separate these two giants of Under-11 Football.
Both Blessington and Michael Dwyers served up a thrilling game befitting the final.
Blessington looked to have one hand on the cup at the end of the first half, however a massive fight back by Michael Dwyers put them in control going deep into injury time in the second half, as the Cup looked southbound, but Blessington rallied very late with a goal to level matters.
Ben Carroll Daniels landed the opening score of the game in the third minute with a point from an acute angle after good build up play by Luke Higgins for Blessington.
A brace of points by Alex Walshe increased the lead. Blessington were starting to dominate proceedings but could not get the better of goalie Eoin Kenna, who was in fine form saving and clearing plenty of ball.
Conor O’Toole finally raised a green flag for Blessington in the 14th minute after great work by Caomhan DeBrun, to close out the opening quarter.
Michael Dwyer’s Mark Kinsella had a chance off a goal but Cillian Swan saved and cleared out for a 45.
Mark Kinsella took the resultant 45, yet again Swan saved and cleared the danger.
Dwyers thought they had surely won a penalty in the next attack, however Jimmy Lalor waved play on, much to the annoyance of the Dwyers entourage.
It was all out attacking football, end to end stuff, in very tough wet conditions by both sides.
“Don’t bounce the ball” was echoed not once, but a thousand times by both managements to their troops.
Blessington steadied the ship with a point from Pat Small in the closing minutes.
Eoin Kenna, single-handedly, was keeping his Dwyers side in the game, as he had some sensational double saves, as Blessington went for the jugular.
Luke Higgins finally landed another major for Blessington as the half-time whistle sounded with the score reading 2-05 to no score in favour of Blessington and it looked like there was no way Blessington captain Ben Carroll Daniels holds the cup surrounded by the Daniels family and Pat Dunne. back for Dwyers.
Well, what we witnessed in the next half beggars belief, one could not even contemplate making this up.
Michael Dwyers came out and blitzed Blessington in the opening five minutes with 2-01 without reply.
Callum McCrea with a goal in the first attack, followed immediately with a point after great work by Mark Kinsella.
Kinsella himself then landed the seconnd goal to leave it a four-point deficit. Connell Harman pulled another shot on goal just wide of the upright as Blessington were shell-shocked.
It was raining hard, but it was raining goals harder. Pat Small had a brace of chances for Blessington, but just missed the target with one and Kenna, yet again saved another.
In the next attack Connell Harman shook the Blessington net to leave the minimum in it with only seven minutes of the second half gone as the decibel levels in the stand rose tenfold.
However, back came Blessington immediately and Caomhan DeBrun landed another major to stem the Dwyers stranglehold in this intense battle.
Callum McCrea won the resultant kick-out and soloed the length of the field and rattled the back of the net.
Dunne Cup semi-final, Blessington v Baltinglass, 2.00 p.m. (Referee P. Dunne, Linesmen N. Kinsella and L. Cullen,
Dwyers sensationally took the lead for the first time on the night, in the next attack as Sean Walsh goaled to leave the score reading 3-05 to 5-01 with eight minutes to play.
Back came Blessington, but they could not get the better off Eoin Kenna again, the man in the hat, who was having the game of his life.
It was all Dwyers at this stage as Blessington looked out on their feet. Dwyers went for the jugular shooting for goals but it was now goalie Cillian Swan’s turn to shine with three point-blank saves to keep his team in the game.
Back up the pitch again, Conor O Toole went in search of a winning goal but Kenna saved and cleared up the field where Mark Kinsella pointed to make it a three-point game deep into injury time.
In the final moments Dwyers won a 14-metre free, to make it a four-point difference, surely to see out the game.
Cruelly, the ball tailed wide with the aid of the wind. Surely there was know way back for Blessington.
The Michael Dwyer’s faithful were baying for Jimmy Lalor’s fulltime whistle, while the Blessington faithful were praying for one more play, as it was all down to the referee’s watch now.
Blessington won the resultant kick-out and went in search of an
Leinster Senior Club Football Championship semi-final, Rathnew equalising goal.
Low and behold, a Luke Higgins shot was saved and parried by Kenna, but Connor O’Toole was first to react and volley the ball to the net to level the match, in one off the best halves of pulsating football ever witnessed with the score reading, Blessington 4-05 to 5-02 for Dwyers as the full-time whistle sounded.
This was “Mayo” like for Dwyers who were out on their feet at this stage and were also light on the subs front.
Into extra-time we went where now the buoyant Blessington finished the stronger, where they scored 3-03 without reply against a Michael Dwyers side who left everything and more on the pitch.
For the Man of the Match award, we could have done with 30 plus awards, as every chap gave a 110% for the jersey.
Pat Dunne presented the Ray Daniel’s Man of the Match Award to Eoin Kenna of Michael Dwyers, who was phenomenal in goals, to a rousing applause by both sets of supporters.
It just had to be Eoin, as Ray himself was a renowned goalkeeper.
Pat Dunne thanked Baltinglass for hosting the game, the referee and congratulated both teams on a smashing game of football.
The Ray Daniels Cup was presented by Ray’s mother, Theresa, along with family members to her grandson, Ben Carroll Daniels, to spark off wild celebrations, as the team still somehow had the energy to do a lap of honour with the cup aloft to bring an end to this dramatic evening.
Blessington: Conor O’Toole 3-02, Pat Small 1-02, Luke Higgins 1-00, Caomhan DeBrun 1-00, James Phibbs 1-00, Alex Walshe 0-02, Harry Wilson 0-01, Tomas Walsh 0-01, Ben Carroll Daniels 0-01.
Michael Dwyers: Callum McCrea 2-01, Mark Kinsella 1-01, Connell Harman 1-00, Sean Walsh 1-00.
Scorers - BLESSINGTON:
Cillian Swan; Harry Nolan, Ryan Keogh, Aaron Mulhall; Max Kehoe, Tomas Walsh, Patrick Small; James Phibbs, Alex Walshe; Connor O’Toole, Ben Carroll Daniels (Capt.), Harry Wilson; C DeBrun, Luke Higgins, Dean Carey, Phillip Byrne. Phillip Hopkins, Sean Gardner, Jake Robbins, Oisin O’Connell.
Dwyers: Eoin Kenna; Jack Whelan, James Lancaster, Mark Kinsella; Craig Evans, Callum McCrea, Malachy Byrne; John Murphy, Sean Walsh; Dylan O’Keefe, Connell Harman, Liam McCrea; Jack McCrea, Jake Keogh.
Ray Daniels Cup winners, Blessington.