Lights go out on crunch battle in Baltinglass
A clash that was warming up nicely in Baltinglass last Friday evening had to be abandoned by referee Noel Kinsella in bizarre circumstances after the crowd had waited over an hour and 15 minutes for the arrival of an ambulance to take an injured player to hospital.
With the game set to continue once PJ O’Keeffe had been tended to and with the ambulance having just pulled up beside the stricken player who injured himself after an awkward tangle with a Kiltegan man, all of a sudden, the floodlights went out leaving the west Wicklow venue in almost complete darkness.
Sources in the Baltinglass club have said there were no issues with the lights whatsoever and that eyewitnesses spotted someone leaving the compound where the controls for the floodlights are housed immediately after they were switched off.
It is understood that the Baltinglass club are irate following the incident and the matter was discussed at a club meeting on Monday evening.
The game itself was interesting albeit low-scoring. Kiltegan were leading 0-3 to 0-2 at the time when O’Keeffe went down awkwardly on his shoulder. After initial treatment an attempt was made to lift the centre forward up to his feet, but he became weak and was returned to the ground where he remained for the next 75 minutes as an ambulance made its way from Naas.
Jacko Dalton opened the scoring for Kiltegan moments after Cathal Fitzgerald fired a rasper at the Hollywood goal which Ian Burke pushed on to the crossbar.
The game was tight and sporting at this stage although Hollywood would lose Mikey Healy to a blood sub briefly early on and they would lose Eoin Burke permanently after eight minutes after he was pushed into the fence, injuring his knee in the process. It is understood that both Eoin Burke and PJ O’Keeffe are out for the rest of the seasons from their respective injuries.
Tony Hannon equalised and then put Hollywood ahead with two frees but a Seanie Furlong 45 and pointed free pushed Kiltegan ahead as they battled bravely against a well organised and hungry Hollywood defence.
However, as the first half neared its conclusion, O’Keeffe went down and it was clear from the first moments that he was seriously injured. After the initial attempt to move him failed it was decided to wait for the ambulance.
As the time dragged on, discussion and phone calls were made in haste and a decision was made that the game would be played to the finish regardless of when the ambulance arrived.
When the medics arrived both teams were prepared to return to battle but shortly after the lights went out referee Noel Kinsella sounded the final whistle and the crowd streamed out of the grounds.
Baltinglass GAA Club ground staff and officials had the lights back up and running within five minutes but the decision to abandon the game had already been taken.
In the intervening time Kiltegan have given Hollywood a walkover in the refixed game set for Roundwood on Monday night last. This has forced a play-off game between Rathnew and Hollywood to see who tops the group and takes the semi-final spot while Kiltegan will face AGB. Both games will take place this Saturday in Joule Park Aughrim.
Hollywood: Ian Burke; Keith Traynor, Harry Wilson, Sean O’Keeffe; Conor Burke, Mikey Healy, Robert Houlihan; Ciaran Tyrrell, Robert Kelly; Matthew Kelly, Patrick O’Keeffe, Cian Tyrrell; Stephen Kearney, Tony Hannon, Eoin Burke.
Kiltegan: Fergal Harmon; Adam Wynne, Stephen Farrell, John Farrell; Luke Byrne, Colm Keogh, Liam Keogh; Rory Finn, Padraig O’Toole; Aaron Byrne, Cathal Fitzgerald, Anthony Furlong; Mikey Foley, Seanie Furlong, Jacko Dalton.
Referee: Noel Kinsella (Kilbride)
Kiltegan’s Colm keogh gets his pass away despite Hollywood pressure.
Kiltegan’s Rory Finn tackles Hollywood’s Matthew Kelly.