Vil­lage keep Hol­ly­wood at arm’s length

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


THIS was an­other solid and al­most in­evitable Rath­new vic­tory in this year’s Boom & Plat­form Hire Se­nior Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship as they dis­man­tled a game Hol­ly­wood out­fit.

It was a game of some drama as well that in­volved lines­man Stephen Fa­gan be­ing knocked out af­ter an ac­ci­den­tal col­li­sion on the side­line fol­low­ing the con­test­ing of a break­ing ball that was head­ing out over the line.

The Baltinglas­s of­fi­cial was caught be­tween JT Hay­den and the metal rail­ings out­side the dugout and was re­ported to be knocked un­con­scious by the to­tally ac­ci­den­tal col­li­sion. Hay­den had been shoul­dered into the path of Fa­gan as he went for the ball.

The game it­self was an in­ter­est­ing one but at no time did you feel that Rath­new were in any real dan­ger of los­ing it although Hol­ly­wood’s spurn­ing of a num­ber of goal chances cer­tainly didn’t help their cause in that re­gard.

Rath­new’s eter­nal abil­ity to eke out re­sults when they are de­pleted and with­out the ser­vices of key men was very much in ev­i­dence on Sun­day when Ed­die Doyle and Nicky Mer­nagh stepped up the plate and de­liv­ered a huge shift in the red and green, Doyle bag­ging eight points (two frees), and Mer­nagh lob­bing in a mas­sively im­por­tant 1-2.

No Jody Mer­ri­gan, no Leighton Glynn, no Ross O’Brien, no Mark Doyle – it’s kind of ir­rel­e­vant who lines out in the start­ing 15 for Harry Mur­phy’s side at this stage. Once they have 15 bod­ies in the jer­sey at Se­nior level there seems to be a magic that takes place and lifts per­for­mances and be­lief and re­solve to a higher plain.

Rath­new’s win sees them level on points with AGB and fac­ing a bat­tle with old foes Kil­te­gan this com­ing Satur­day in what is a fine op­por­tu­nity for Harry Mur­phy’s men to se­cure a semi-fi­nal berth given that AGB must travel to Baltinglas­s to face a fly­ing Tinahely side and a slip up there by Damien Red­mond’s men will, pro­vid­ing they beat Rath­new, send the Vil­lage through to the last four and, per­haps more im­por­tantly, give them time to nurse in­juries and gather strength for what­ever fol­lows.

To do that they must get past Kil­te­gan and no bet­ter team to de­rail the best of plans that Ge­of­frey Ber­ming­ham’s out­fit who will look to Seanie Fur­long and Derek Daly to strike at the heart of the Rath­new de­fence.

That same de­fence kept Hol­ly­wood to 1-8 over the course of the hour in Aughrim on Sun­day. Jamie Snell filled in at three for the in­jured Ross O’Brien while the ma­raud­ing James Stafford dropped back when re­quired to mind the house in times of need.

Sam O’Dowd lined out along­side Stafford in mid­field and looked com­pletely at home while Theo Smyth moved to 11 and Nicky Mer­nagh pushed up to the full-for­ward line where he gave the Hol­ly­wood de­fence more than enough to think about along with Ed­die Doyle and Paul El­lis.

Mark Mur­naghan’s Hol­ly­wood are out of the run­ning for a quar­ter-fi­nal place but given the league cam­paign they had they are in with a very good shout of se­cur­ing safety from the Keat­ing Tro­phy if they beat New­town in Aughrim on Satur­day and that would be a com­mend­able fin­ish to what has been a test­ing sea­son over­all.

It was the Nicky and Ed­die show in the open­ing stages of this game as first Nicky Mer­nagh and then Ed­die Doyle pointed for Rath­new, Doyle’s a goal chance that was blocked by Harry Wil­son. Mer­nagh also nothced up two early wises as Rath­new hit the ground ru­in­ing at the county grounds.

Stephen Kear­ney got Hol­ly­wod of the mark but wides would be a con­stant in Hol­loy­wod’s down­fall on the day and they had six misses on the board by the time Ed­die Doyle sent over a free af­ter a foul by Mikey Healy on the ram­pag­ing Jamie Snell.

Doyle fol­lowed that with a point from play of his left be­fore Hary Wil­son stormed up from full-back and should have torn Peter Dig­nam’s net in half but blazed over in­stead with 18 gone and his side trail­ing by 0-4 to 0-2.

Two more Ed­die Doyle points pushed Rath­new four ahead but a Thomas Burke free and a fine ef­fort from Conor Burke off the out­side of his right boot brought Hol­ly­wood kick­ing and scream­ing back into this game by the 29th minute.

But Rath­new would fin­ish the stronger. Nicky Mer­nagh swung over af­ter Holy­wood had coughed up pos­ses­sion and Paul El­lis fin­ished with aplomb to send Rath­new in with an 0-8 to 0-4 lead at the break.

Hol­ly­wood started brightly but Cian Tyrrell could only watch as his shot was saved by the man moun­tain Peter Dig­nam in the Rath­new goal.

A long Rath­new ball caught Hary Wil­son on the hop and Ed­die Doyle stroked over to open up a 0-9 to 0-4 lead but Holy­wood roared back into contention with a sweet Stephen Kear­ney goal af­ter a ball from Rob Houli­han and great work from Conor Burke.

Kear­ney added a point to close the gap to one, but the key mo­ment fol­lowed when Hol­ly­wood missed the chance to draw level and Rath­new went up the field and Danny Staunton fired over af­ter great work by Nicky Mer­nagh.

Rath­new owned the next 15 min­utes and went on to open up a 0-14 to 1-6 lead through points from Ed­die Doyle (two, one free), James Stafford with a stun­ner of his left, Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan be­fore ruth­lessly kil­ing the game of with a Nicky Mer­nagh ma­jor fol­low­ing good work from Ed­die Doyle and the ever-im­pres­sive James Stafford.

Both sides were prob­a­bly for­tu­nate to have 15 on the field af­ter it looked like blows were struck over on the stand side be­tween Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan and Ciaran Tyrrell but ref­eree Noel Kin­sella is­sued two yel­lows.

Rath­new march on. A slip up from AGB and vic­tory for them against Kil­te­gan and they reach the last four and from there any­thing can hap­pen.

Scor­ers – Rath­new: Ed­die Doyle 0-8 (2f), Nicky Mer­nagh 1-2, Paul El­lis 0-1, Danny Staunton 0-1, James Stafford 0-1, Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan 0-1.

Hol­ly­wood: Stephen Kear­ney 0-4, Rob Houli­han 1-0, Tom Burke 0-2 (1f), Conor Burke 0-1, Harry Wil­son 0-1.

RATH­NEW: Peter Dig­nam; David Jame­son, Jamie Snell, Paul Mer­ri­gan; Gary Byrne, JT Hay­den, War­ren Ka­vanagh; James Stafford, Sam O’Dowd; Danny Staunton, Theo Smyth, Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan; Paul El­lis, Nicky Mer­nagh, Ed­die Doyle. Subs: Jack Healy for G Mer­ri­gan (60).

HOL­LY­WOOD: Jamie Tutty; Seanie O’Keefe, Harry Wil­son, Shane Kelly; Conor Burke, Mikey Healy, Harry Houli­han; Cian Tyrrell, Kevin Mur­phy; Robert Kelly, Eoin Burke, Robert Houli­han; Thomas Burke, Stephen Kear­ney, PJ O’Ke­effe. Subs: Keith Traynor for S O’Ke­effe (inj), Ciaran Tyrrell for K Mur­phy, Colin Tutty for E Burke, Jack Cullen for K Traynor, Keith Pep­pard for R Kelly (BC).

REF­EREE: Noel Kin­sella (Lacken-Kil­bride)

Hol­ly­wood’s Harry Wil­son trots past the Rath­new hud­dle.

Seanie O’Ke­effe of Hol­ly­wood is chal­lenged by David Jame­son of Rath­new.

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