Em­mets bat­tle like demons to hold off Grey­stones fight­back

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - LIAM O’LOUGH­LIN at Aughrim


THIS lo­cal derby in the Light­ning Pro­tec­tion Se­nior Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship be­tween Bray Em­mets and Éire Óg played at Aughrim on Satur­day evening last, August, was played at a tepid tem­per­a­ture for 50 min­utes or more. How­ever, in the fi­nal ten min­utes the game built up to cham­pi­onship at­mos­phere as Éire Óg fought back strongly in an at­tempt to res­cue a badly needed match point from a game in which they had strug­gled to stay alive for much of the sec­ond half. The last few min­utes fin­ished in a wel­ter of ex­cite­ment as Bray Em­mets, with their backs to the wall, fought to hold on to a one-point lead.

How­ever, the game be­gan in a much more low-key fash­ion. The Grey­stones men got much the bet­ter start and had four points on the board by ten min­utes through scores from Dave Rooney (free), two good scores from Craig Smullen and an­other from Gavin O’Shea.

Éire Óg were play­ing with the aid of a strong breeze blow­ing into the town goal and looked like they in­tended to take to­tal ad­van­tage.

Bray Em­mets were very slug­gish at this stage and didn’t help their cause with a cou­ple of bad wides. How­ever, a well put to­gether pass­ing move­ment in­volv­ing Cathal McGee and Marc Len­non put John Hen­der­son clear in front of goal and the cen­tre for­ward fin­ished clin­i­cally scor­ing the game’s only goal.

How­ever, this was only a tem­po­rary re­prieve as Daniel Keane and Dave Rooney re­sponded with two more Éire Óg points to leave them com­fort­ably ahead by 0-6 to 1-0 as the quar­ter hour mark was clocked up.

Bray Em­mets be­gan to get more into the game from here to half time with Des Kelly, John Hen­der­son, Niall McGraynor and Marc Len­non get­ting on more ball. McGraynor pointed a free and then, at the 20-minute stage, the Bray men had a glo­ri­ous chance to go ahead when they were awarded a penalty. How­ever, Des Kelly’s ciotóg shot struck the post and the chance was gone.

In the en­su­ing play Niall McGraynor pointed a free. Bray Em­mets had the bet­ter of the fi­nal ten min­utes of the half but con­tin­ued to be guilty of some bad wides. Daniel Keane stretched the Éire Óg lead back to two points again but Bray Em­mets found their shoot­ing boots to score points from Des Kelly (free), Shane Lo­han and Kelly again to leave the Bray men lead­ing by 1-5 to 0-7 at the break with Éire Óg likely to face a batlle against the breeze..

The first ten min­utes of the sec­ond half seemed to con­firm this view as Des Kelly pointed three frees and Ben Kear­ney had a point from play to push the Em­mets five points out in front.

The ex­cel­lent Dave Rooney, who had a fine game all through, re­sponded with the Grey­stones men’s first point of the half af­ter 12 min­utes but a long clear­ance from goal­keeper Paul O’Ke­effe, put Niall McGraynor in the clear and he promptly re­stored the five-point ad­van­tage. Anto Byrne had en­tered the fray as an Éire Óg sub­sti­tute at this stage and he was un­for­tu­nate that a punched ef­fort from the edge of the square came back off the cross­bar into play. How­ever, this seemed to spur his col­leagues into ac­tion, and they be­gan to come much more strongly at Bray. Dar­ren Hay­den, quiet enough up to now, pointed a free at the three-quar­ter stage. Dave Rooney added an­other point and the lead was now down to a goal at 1-10 to 0-10.

The tempo of the game was now up to cham­pi­onship level and Bray knew they had a bat­tle on their hands. There was no score for eight min­utes as both sides bat­tled for supremacy. A Des Kelly pointed free eased Bray wor­ries as they went four ahead again.

But Éire Óg were now fight­ing to save the game. Dar­ren Hay­den pointed a free and Daniel Keane added an­other to re­duce the gap to two. Paul Cun­ning­ham, long miss­ing from Bray Em­mets’ line ups, was on the field at this stage.

With three min­utes left of nor­mal time left, Cun­ning­ham re­stored the goal ad­van­tage with a ma­jes­tic point scored off the out­side of his right boot. Éire Óg re­fused to die. Dave Rooney pointed a free with the ref­eree in­di­cat­ing four min­utes in to­tal left at that stage.

Dar­ren Hay­den pointed an­other free as the game was about to en­ter the two-minute pe­riod of time added. No fur­ther score en­sued un­til Des Kelly lined up to take what seemed a com­fort­able free for him with the two-minute pe­riod al­most elapsed.

How­ever, the free dropped into Conor Browne’s hands in goal and Éire Óg came motoring back up field. Bray sub­sti­tute Cian Lo­han stopped the at­tack with a tackle around 50 me­tres from the Bray goal.

Im­me­di­ately hos­til­i­ties broke out with the ref­eree tak­ing a minute or so to re­store or­der. Dave Rooney and Paul O’Ke­effe re­ceived red cards, Cian Lo­han got a black card and an Éire Óg side­line in­vader had his de­tails noted by the ref­eree who restarted with a throw in and then blew for full-time.

Éire Óg had lost their free and gone was their pos­si­ble chance of a draw. Full-time score was Bray Em­mets 1-12, Éire Óg, Grey­stones 0-14.

Scor­ers – Bray Em­mets: John Hen­der­son 1-0, Niall McGraynor 0-3, Des Kelly 0-6, Shane Lo­han 0-1, Ben Kear­ney 0-1, Paul Cun­ning­ham 0-1.

Éire Óg: David Rooney 0-5, Dar­ren Hay­den 0-3, Daniel Keane 0-3, Craig Smullen 0-2, Gavin O’Shea 0-1.

BRAY EM­METS: Paul O’Ke­effe; Phil Haughton, Dara Lo­han, Ciaran McKay; Shane Lo­han, Ben Kear­ney, Conor O’Do­herty; Diar­muid Master­son, Des Kelly; Ben McCormack, John Hen­der­son, Dara Rochford; Cathal McGee, Marc Len­non, Niall McGraynor. Subs: Dy­lan Terry, Cian Lo­han for 25, Paul Cun­ning­ham, Liam Banville.

ÉIRE ÓG: Conor Browne; Liam Maguire, Dara Devine, Conal Deeney; Dara Sheil, Mick Can­non, Fin­tan O’Shea; Matt Maguire, David Rooney; James Cran­ley, Dar­ren Hay­den, Peter Keane; Daniel Keane, Craig Smullen, Gavin O’Shea. Subs: Anto Byrne, Sean Law­less, James Wood, Shaun Cran­ley.

REF­EREE: John Keenan

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