Bray dish out dev­as­tat­ing de­feat to Balt­in­glass

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


BRAY EMMETS’ ten­dency to pull off bat­tling wins by way of brave and dogged per­for­mances shows no signs of fad­ing af­ter they dis­patched Balt­in­glass with gusto fol­low­ing a tough, hard-hit­ting en­counter in a dreary and damp Aughrim in the last of four games last Sun­day in the Boom and Plat­form Hire Se­nior Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Group 2.

Brian O’Ke­effe’s men were full value for this seven-point vic­tory against a Balt­in­glass side whose form has taken a sig­nif­i­cant dip since they lifted the league ti­tle only a mat­ter of weeks ago af­ter vic­tory over Rath­new.

Since that time, Sean O’Brien’s men have lost that unity they pos­sessed in the league and they have stum­bled from one de­feat to an­other, start­ing with Avon­dale, then Bless­ing­ton and now Bray Emmets in what was a loss that will st­ing sharply over on Slaney­side as they look to sal­vage what they can from a dis­as­trous cham­pi­onship cam­paign.

How­ever, had Balt­in­glass taken one or two of their goal chances in the sec­ond half or con­verted some of their seven sec­ond-half wides then the story of this game might well be vastly dif­fer­ent. The loss of John Murray to a red (yellow and black) and Dar­ragh Doyle (black) didn’t help things for Sean O’Brien’s men but over­all it was the Bray men who showed more hunger and to­geth­er­ness when the big ques­tions were asked.

The win has com­pletely trans­formed Bray’s hopes and dreams in this cham­pi­onship. Ahead of them they now face clashes with Éire Óg and Avon­dale and with the Dales just one spot above them in third po­si­tion a quar­ter-fi­nal spot is well and truly within their grasp at this mo­ment in time.

To a man, Bray Emmets wanted this more than Balt­in­glass, and most cer­tainly in the trenches of the sec­ond half when the game was finely bal­anced in the fall­ing rain and dour light in front of a ridicu­lously small crowd in Aughrim.

Bray’s Des Kelly, Diar­muid Master­son, Cathal McGee, Marc Len­non and Niall McGraynor worked tire­lessly and self­lessly in pur­suit of this vic­tory while Ben Kear­ney’s mark­ing job on John McGrath was hugely im­pres­sive over the course of this game.

A Bray Emmets win looked highly un­likely when John McGrath fin­ished home from close range af­ter 30 min­utes to open up a 2-4 to 0-5 lead.

Their open­ing goal ar­rived af­ter two min­utes from the boot of Chris Heaslip in re­ply to a Cathal McGee point for Bray.

Brian O’Ke­effe’s men re­acted to the goal su­perbly with two points from frees by Niall McGraynor to level at 0-3 to 1-0 af­ter five in­ter­est­ing and entertaini­ng min­utes.

Balti­glass were show­ing a raft of po­si­tional switches com­pared to their team list. John McGrath was wear­ing 14 but lined out at cen­tre for­ward. Tom Burke wore three but was de­ployed at mid­field with Peadar Burke who was named at cen­tre for­ward while Ian Sheerin was mind­ing the house at full-back and the full-for­ward line showed Johnny Keogh, Adam McHugh and Chris Heaslip seek­ing scores against a Bray full-back line of Ciaran McKay, Adam Benson and Philip Haughton.

Dan Kelly (free) and Marc Len­non ex­changed points and then fol­low­ing a dogged but fruit­less spell Johnny Keogh (free) and Cathal McGee (free) did like­wise to leave the score at 1-2 to 0-5 af­ter 25 can­tan­ker­ous min­utes.

Balt­in­glass owned the next five min­utes and har­vested a stun­ning 1-2, the poinst from Peadar Burke and Adam McHugh and the goal from McGrath who got on the end of a sweet team move that started with a Dar­ragh Doyle mark.

And then a sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment ar­rived. A long Bray ball to Eoin McCor­mack saw the dual star pulled down by John Murray and ref­eree Bren­dan Fur­long spread the arms wide to sig­nal a penalty and dis­patched Murray with a black card on top of an ear­lier yellow. Bray Emmets cap­tain Des Kelly stepped up and stuck away a peach of a goal from the spot giv­ing Mark Jack­son no hope what­so­ever. 2-4 to 1-5 Balt­in­glass led by at the break.

A goal chance early in the sec­ond half for Chris Heaslip was kept out by the Bray defence but Mark Jack­son pointed a free shortly af­ter­wards to put three be­tween the sides.

Eoin McCor­mack replied be­fore Marc Len­non al­most goaled but for the hero­ics of Mark Jack­son in the Balt­in­glass goal and Niall McGraynor tapped over the rebound to close the gap to a sin­gle point.

A Dan Kelly pointed free kept Balt­in­glass on the front foot, but they lost Dar­ragh Doyle to a black card for a foul on Ben McCor­mack af­ter 13 min­utes with Billy Cullen en­ter­ing the fray in his stead.

Two goal chances fol­lowed for Balt­in­glass with Chris Heaslip be­ing un­for­tu­nate enough to not con­vert at least one of them and then Bray surged ahead through a Des Kelly point from about 38 yards and a rip­per of a goal from Marc Len­non to make it 2-8 to 2-6.

Mark Jack­son re­duced the deficit to a sin­gle poi­int from a free just be­fore Brian O’Ke­effe sent in John Hen­der­son to the fray with 10 to go.

The be­gin­ning of the end for Balt­in­glass ar­rived when full-for­ward Cathal McGee lashed home past Mark Jack­son and Ben McCor­mack fol­lowed up with a point af­ter 52.

It was all Bray Emmets now. They had the bit firmly be­tween their teeth and they pow­ered on with pints from Dar­ragh Rochford and Eoin McCor­mack to leave the score read­ing 3-11 to 2-7 and scarce time for a mirac­u­lous Balt­in­glass re­vival.

They came hunt­ing, though. High ball af­ter high ball and even­tu­ally they won a penalty which Stephen Heaslip drove wide by a mat­ter of mil­lime­ters. And that was that. A mas­sive win for Bray Emmets and a crush­ing de­feat for Balt­in­glass.

Scor­ers – Bray Emmets: Cathal McGee 1-2 (1f), Marc Len­non 1-1, Des Kelly 1-1, Niall McGraynor 0-3 (2f), Eoin McCor­mack 0-2, Ben McCor­mack 0-1, Dar­ragh Rochford 0-1.

Balt­in­glass: Chris Heaslip 1-0, John McGrath 1-0, Dan Kelly 0-2 (2f), Mark Jack­son 0-2 (2f), Johnny Keogh 0-1, Peadar Burke 0-1, Adam McHugh 0-1.

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