Duffy points the way as Pat’s drive on

O’Brien’s side pip Rath­new

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

COUNTY cham­pi­ons St. Pa­trick’s and their neigh­bours Rath­new fought a close en­counter in the Dunne Cup semi-fi­nal in Aughrim on Thurs­day, June 20.

St Pats were on top for a long pe­riod in the first half but were un­able to make it show on the score­board. They got off to a good start when Tommy Kelly came in front to re­ceive a Stephan Duffy free and turned quickly to open the scor­ing with a point into the town goal.

Duffy him­self got their sec­ond point a minute later from a free and when Ea­mon Wolfe got another point af­ter seven min­utes Pats led by 0-3 to nil.

They were much sharper at this early stage and at­tempts by Rath­new to move for­ward were break­ing down and too much ball was go­ing astray.

Phil Mur­phy pointed from play af­ter nine min­utes to get Rath­new off the mark. How­ever, Tommy Kelly re­sponded with another point from play two min­utes later to put his side 0-4 to 0-1 ahead.

How­ever, de­spite hav­ing plenty of pos­ses­sion, Pats were not to score again for al­most a quar­ter of an hour. Rath­new grad­u­ally came into the game. Eddie Doyle pointed a free af­ter 14 min­utes, con­verted another af­ter 22 min­utes and when Phil Mur­phy got his sec­ond point from play a minute later, Rath­new were on level terms at 0-4 apiece de­spite hav­ing far less of the ball.

Tommy Kelly brought the St. Pats scor­ing drought to an end when he pointed a free with five min­utes left in the half. A few min­utes prior to this they had lost full-back Niall Don­nelly with a leg in­jury. He was re­placed by Ciaran Doyle with Shane Mor­ley mov­ing to full-back. How­ever, full-for­ward Nicky Mer­nagh lev­elled mat­ters again when he re­ceived a pass from Sam O’Dowd and popped over a point. The score stood at 0-5 apiece at the break.

Theo Smyth put Rath­new into the lead for the first time when he pointed a ‘45’ three min­utes into the sec­ond half. Pats’ cen­tre for­ward Donal Fitzger­ald re­sponded with an equaliser in the sixth minute.

Just as they had done in the first half, St. Pats shut down their scor­ing de­part­ment for more than a quar­ter of an hour. Not that Rath­new were that much bet­ter. Eddie Doyle put them back into the lead with a pointed free af­ter eight min­utes.

De­spite an abun­dance of pos­ses­sion, they too were not to score for another 13 min­utes when full­back Ross O’Brien got for­ward to put them two points ahead.

James Stafford and Sam O’Dowd were en­joy­ing a much bet­ter sec­ond half but, like Pats in the first half, Rath­new were un­able to make it show on the score­board.

In fact, O’Brien’s point was to prove to be their last score as they were wide with a few scor­ing chances. Dean Healy, who was quiet enough for much of the game, be­gan to get on more ball and Stephan Duffy brought the sec­ond St. Pats long bar­ren spell with­out a score to an end when he re­duced the Rath­new lead to the min­i­mum with a point af­ter 22 min­utes. Two min­utes later Dean Healy brought the sides level again at 0-8 apiece. At this stage we were faced with the prob­a­bil­ity of two pe­ri­ods of ex­tra time at the end to de­cide mat­ters.

How­ever, Stephen Duffy pointed a free with two min­utes of nor­mal time left to put St. Pats back into the lead again.

In the re­main­ing six min­utes of play, Rath­new were un­able to break the St. Pats de­fence and al­most fell fur­ther be­hind when Tommy Kelly was short with a scorable free. St. Pats held on for vic­tory and now meet Balt­in­glass in the Dunne Cup fi­nal.

Scor­ers - St. Pats: Tommy Kelly 0-3, Stephan Duffy 0-3, Ea­mon Wolfe 0-1, Donal Fitzger­ald 0-1, Dean Healy 0-1.

Rath­new: Eddie Doyle 0-3, Phil Mur­phy 0-2, Nicky Mer­nagh 0-1, Theo Smith 0-1, Ross O’Brien 0-1,

Strat­ford-Grange­con un­der-9 foot­ballers ready for bat­tle in Bal­li­nakill.

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