Bray Emmets are beaten in a free-flowing score-fest
AVONDALE 5-14 BRAY EMMETS 2-14
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.