O’Brien bags 1-6 as Neary’s men get off to bright start

Bray People - - SPORT -


IT was a win­ning start to the Da­cia Cars Se­nior Hurl­ing Cham­pi­onship for St. Pa­trick’s as they bested Éire Óg in Bray on Mon­day evening.

As al­ways, Andy O’Brien was a key fig­ure for Pat’s and the sharp-shooter bagged the con­test’s only goal and it ar­rived at a cru­cial time.

It was a two-point game when O’Brien blasted to the net 12 min­utes into the sec­ond pe­riod and Pat’s were never go­ing to let the lead slip after that against a Grey­stones side that played the clos­ing 10 min­utes with 14 men fol­low­ing Andrew Walsh’s dis­missal.

The con­test is prob­a­bly best de­scribed as tepid, nei­ther side showed their full hands but Pat’s will be de­lighted to have earned a win­ning start with­out hav­ing to be at their best.

Éire Óg didn’t reg­is­ter their first score un­til the 15th minute when Anto Byrne won a free that James ‘Pooch’ Cran­ley con­verted.

Pat’s had two points on the board by that stage - an Andy O’Brien free and an ef­fort from play for Chris Ka­vanagh - both inside the open­ing three min­utes.

A tac­tic Éire Óg fre­quented in the early stages was the long, high ball in on top of Andrew Walsh but Pat’s dealt with it well in the most part. Full-back Gerry Con­nors did pick up a cau­tion from John Keenan though after a bit of af­ters fol­low­ing one such ex­cur­sion.

Pa­trick Murphy had a sniff of goal when Andy O’Brien’s free was beaten away to the half-for­ward but Dan O’Neill de­nied him.

Some neat play from Andrew Walsh al­most saw him lay on a goal for a team-mate but he couldn’t quite grasp the slio­tar and the goal chance - and Walsh’s hopes for an as­sist - were gone.

Éire Óg lev­elled through Cran­ley on 19 min­utes and but that would be the last time the sides were all square and Pat’s had pulled three points clear by the in­ter­val.

Pat’s re­mained on the pitch at the break whilst Éire Óg re­treated to the chang­ing rooms where they re­mained camped for as long as John Keenan’s pa­tience would al­low them but the mind games did not work.

Keenan was kept busy in the early stages of the first pe­riod. He booked Ricky Quinn after 30 sec­onds and then Andrew Walsh col­lected his first yel­low for an off-the-ball in­ci­dent with Ge­orge O’Brien Jr.

Four min­utes later, O’Brien Jr. also made an ap­pear­ance in Keenan’s notebook after pulling his hurl across Walsh’s chest. Re­venge is a dish best served with a hurl it would seem.

Anto Byrne re­duced the gap to two points and Éire Óg had a chance to cut it to the min­i­mum when Byrne found Andrew Walsh who might have pointed in­stead tried to set up a goal chance for Michael Walsh.

Un­for­tu­nately for the lat­ter Walsh, the ball was beyond him and the chance evap­o­rated.

An Anto Byrne free on 41 min­utes was ini­tally waved wide by the would-be um­pires but when Keenan awarded the score, it seemed to gee up the Éire Óg crowd.

Their new-found gid­din­ness lasted ap­prox­i­mately 60 sec­onds un­til Andy O’Brien was found deep into Éire Óg ter­ri­tory and whilst mov­ing to the left, he drilled the ball across the face of O’Neill’s goal for the match’s key mo­ment.

The sides traded points for the re­main­der of the clash - the high­lights of those white flags com­ing from beau­ties from Ge­orge O’Brien Jr. and James Bon­ner O’Brien - but Pat’s task grew a tad eas­ier when Andrew Walsh was sent to the line hav­ing picked up a sec­ond yel­low after catch­ing Dale Quinn with his hurl as the Pat’s full-back caught well.

Scor­ers - St. Pa­trick’s: Andy O’Brien 1-6 (5F’s), James O’Brien 0-2 (1F), James Bon­ner O’Brien 0-1, Chris Ka­vanagh 0-1, Ed­die Kelly 0-1, Ricky Quinn 0-1.

Éire Óg scor­ers: James Cran­ley 0-4 (2 F’s, 1 65), An­thony Byrne 0-3 (3F’s), Kristin Flynn 0-1, Michael Walsh 0-1, Eoin Dor­gan 0-1.

John Dee O’Brien; Dale Quinn, Gerry Con­nors, Ge­orge O’Brien Jr.; Ed­die Kelly, Andy O’Brien, Shane Doyle; Christy Moore­house, James Byrne; Chris Ka­vanagh, Ricky Quinn, Pa­trick Murphy; Ge­orge O’Brien, James O’Brien, James Bon­ner O’Brien.

Dan O’Neill; Kristin Flynn, Billy Cud­dihy, Daniel O’Con­nor; Shaun Hughes, Peter Keane, Eoghan Potts; Brian Law­less, Sean Law­less; Michael Walsh, An­thony Byrne, Leon Browne; Danny Nolan, Andrew Walsh, James Cran­ley.

John Keenan. Old Conna, Bray.

Christy Moore­house and Shane Doyle of St Pa­trick’s put pres­sure on Anto Byrne of Eire Og Grey­stones.

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