Bray Em­mets are beaten in a free-flow­ing score-fest

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


AVON­DALE and Bray Em­mets pro­duced one of the most open and free-flow­ing games of foot­ball seen for quite some time in Aughrim last Sun­day evening with 35 scores over the course of the hour serv­ing to en­ter­tain a fright­fully dis­ap­point­ing crowd yet again at the county grounds.

With a quar­ter-fi­nal place up for grabs, this game was of huge im­por­tance to both clubs and yet it’s safe to say that league matches in the spring would have a bet­ter at­ten­dance than cham­pi­onship clashes have been at­tract­ing in re­cent weeks.

Nev­er­the­less, the pal­try at­ten­dance was treated to a thor­oughly en­ter­tain­ing game be­tween two foot­balling sides with the Dales prov­ing too strong in the end and seal­ing their place in the last eight against Rath­new cour­tesy of the 5-14 to 2-14 vic­tory in beau­ti­ful sun­shine.

A bright start for Bray Em­mets saw them open up a 1-4 to 0-2 ad­van­tage as the Avon­dale full­back line strug­gled to cope with Niall McGraynor who bombed over the open­ing two points.

A cracker of a goal from dual player Eoin McCor­mack com­pleted the dream start with Zach Cullen point­ing Avon­dale’s only re­ply in the open­ing mo­ments of the game.

Oisin McGraynor raised a white flag for David Burke’s men but points from McCor­mack and Cian Lo­han opened up that 1-4 to 0-2 gap.

A stun­ning Conor Byrne goal dragged Avon­dale back into the game af­ter 10 min­utes and the nippy at­tacker would go on to play a piv­otal role as he brought the very best out of the Bray de­fence.

A mas­sive five min­utes for the Dales saw them open up a three­p­oint lead at 2-5 to 1-5, points from Mark Baker, Conor McGraynor, and David Baker were fol­lowed by a crack­ing goal from Oisoin McGraynor with 16 on the clock.

The ex­cite­ment kept com­ing in waves at the county grounds. Bray full-for­ward Cathal Magee fired home to the top corner of Brian Burke’s net mo­ments later af­ter a long ball de­ceived the Avon­dale de­fence in what has been some­thing of an Achille’s hell for the Dales this cham­pi­onship and sud­denly we were all square.

It was bla­tantly ob­vi­ous that goals were go­ing to de­cide this game. There were plenty more on of­fer for both teams given the open­ness this game was be­ing played at and it was David Burke’s side who grabbed two more be­fore the break, the first from Oisin McGraynor, the fourth from Cian O’Hanainn af­ter a ball from Conor Byrne and it was Avon­dale who went in lead­ing by 4-9 to 2-8 fol­low­ing a re­mark­able first half.

The loss of Niall McGraynor to what must have been an in­jury in that first half was a big blow for the Bray men as the at­tacker had started the game su­perbly. The north Wick­low men would suf­fer another shock to the sys­tem early in the sec­ond half when full-for­ward Cathal Mcgee was shown a black card by ref­eree An­thony Nolan.

These blows would prove sig­nif­i­cantly dam­ag­ing for the Bray men who would try var­i­ous tac­tics to main­tain their pres­ence in this game, one be­ing to push John Hen­der­son up to full-for­ward but that was a clas­sic rob­bing Peter to pay Paul job as Hen­der­son’s true value is in or­ches­trat­ing af­fairs fur­ther out the pitch.

Bray started brightly in the sec­ond half. Marc Len­non and Des Kelly on tar­get from play, but the goal threat from Avon­dale was al­ways present and the very im­pres­sive Dean Ga­han al­most had one in the early stages of thast sec­ond pe­riod.

A point from Conor Byrne af­ter eight min­utes put six be­tween the sides at 4-10 to 2-10 and it was nip and tuck for the next 16 min­utes un­til Cian O’Hanainn got on the end of a move in­volv­ing Conor Byrne and Conor McGraynor to fin­ish home past Tadgh Do­ran.

Bray Em­mets bat­tled hard but couldn’t bag the vi­tal ma­jors that would have given them a foothold in the game in the sec­ond half.

Des Kelly and Conor Byrne traded points be­fore John Hen­der­son wal­loped the cross­bar and David Baker dropped over a point at the other end to bring to an end what was a very en­ter­tain­ing game of foot­ball.

Bray Em­mets now turn their at­ten­tion to the hurl­ing. Avon­dale pre­pare for Rath­new. They will find it hard to score 5-14 against the Vil­lage but, and more im­por­tantly, they had bet­ter come up with a plan to not con­cede 2-14 or the colour of it for that mat­ter if they want to earn their spot in a county semi-fi­nal.

Scor­ers – Avon­dale: Conor Byrne 1-4 (1f), Oisin McGraynor 2-1, Cian O’Hanainn 2-0, Con­nor McGraynor 0-2 (2f), Mark Baker 0-2, David Baker 0-2, Zach Cullen 0-1, Eugene Dunne 0-1, Ross Ward 0-1.

Bray Em­mets: Des Kelly 0-9 (3f), Eoin McCor­mack 1-1, Cathal Magee 1-0, Niall McGraynor 0-3, Cian Lo­han 0-2, Marc Len­non 0-1, 22 0-1

AVON­DALE: Brian Burke; Shane Beavor, Saoirse Kearon, Liam Kin­sella; David Baker, Eoin Baker, Dean Ga­han; Ian Mc­Don­ald, Conor McGraynor; Ross Ward, Zach Cullen, Oisin McGraynor; Cian O’Han­nain, Conor Byrne, Eugene Dunne. Subs: Si­mon Cullen, Shane Byrne, Barry Sheehan.

BRAY EM­METS: Tadgh Do­ran; Marc Len­non, Adam Ben­son, Ciaran McKay; Conor O’Doherty, Shane Lo­han, Ben Kear­ney; Diar­muid Masterson, Des Kelly; Eoin McCor­mack, John Hen­der­son, Dar­ragh Rochford; Cian Lo­han, Cathal Magee, Niall McGraynor. Subs: Ben McCor­mack, Daire Lo­han, David Maloney, Dy­lan Terry, Cathal O Dual­lachain. REF­EREE: An­thony Nolan (Balt­in­glass)

Dar­ragh Rochford of Bray Em­mets is chal­lenged by David Baker of Avon­dale.

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