Five-star Vil­lage storm to suc­cess

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - LIAM O’LOUGH­LIN at Pearse’s Park, Ark­low

RATH­NEW 5-13 KIL­TE­GAN 1- 17

RATH­NEW made three changes to their pub­lished line out prior to this game, played at Pearse’s Park, Ark­low, on Satur­day last. They brought in Ro­nan Man­ley, Sam O’Dowd and Leighton Glynn to their start­ing line up in place of J. T. Hay­den, Jack Healy and Paul El­lis.

Kil­te­gan had no such de­ci­sions to make. They had the bare fif­teen play­ers, and all started whether they wished to or not.

Mid­fielder Padraig O’Toole got them off the mark onto the score­board in the first minute fol­low­ing a strong carry into at­tack.

Rath­new were level a minute later when Leighton Glynn pointed with his first pos­ses­sion of the ball.

Kil­te­gan were do­ing well in the mid­field area where Rory Finn and Padraig O’Toole were more than hold­ing their own against James Stafford and Sam O’Dowd.

The Car­low bor­der side went back ahead af­ter five min­utes when Rory Finn got Kil­te­gan’s sec­ond point.

Rath­new were find­ing it dif­fi­cult to es­tab­lish any dom­i­nance but points from Eddie Doyle, Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan and Leighton Glynn had them lead­ing by four points to two.

How­ever, two points from Seanie Fur­long (free) and Padraig O’Toole left the game all square again.

Rath­new were un­able to gain a grip on the game as Kil­te­gan stayed with them. An Eddie Doyle free put the green and red side ahead again, on the quar­ter hour mark.

Back came Seanie Fur­long with another equaliser for Kil­te­gan. Fur­long was prov­ing to be a con­stant thorn in Rath­new’s side and War­ren Ka­vanagh was strug­gling to con­tain him.

Rath­new got the first goal of the game when Theo Smyth set up Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan to fire past Daniel Troy af­ter 18 min­utes.

How­ever, Kil­te­gan re­sponded four min­utes later with a ma­jor of their own. Rath­new were pe­nal­ized in the mid­field area for touch­ing the ball on the ground. The free was moved for­ward for dis­sent and this al­lowed Rory Finn to drop a long high ball in on Seanie Fur­long. The Kil­te­gan man fielded well and rounded his man to blast home an equal­is­ing goal. The score stood at 1-5 each and Kil­te­gan were stay­ing with their op­po­nents.

Eddie Doyle from a free and Seanie Fur­long from play ex­changed points be­fore Rath­new suf­fered a bad blow when they lost War­ren Ka­vanagh with a shoul­der in­jury. He was re­placed by Paul El­lis.

Eddie Doyle pointed a Rath­new free, but An­thony Fur­long equalised again.

The score stood at 1-7 each with the first half in the time added pe­riod.

Paul Mer­ri­gan, the Rath­new full-back cleared from his own goal area.

He kept com­ing for­ward in a num­ber of one/two passes to fin­ish up be­ing put through by Leighton Glynn to fin­ish off goal num­ber two.

A fi­nal point from Seanie Fur­long left the half time score at 2-7 to 1-8 in favour of Rath­new. By now word was get­ting through from other venues as to how other games were go­ing and more im­por­tantly, how the scores were go­ing in these games.

Rath­new, who were bat­tling with AGB for top spot in their group, re­alised that the Ark­low side were go­ing well against Ti­na­hely.

The green and reds needed a hand­some win­ning mar­gin to have any chance of a straight semi-fi­nal plac­ing. But there was no guar­an­tee yet that they would win this game.

Like­wise, Kil­te­gan were in a bat­tle with Newtown for a higher plac­ing in their group. This whole sce­nario had the ef­fect of turn­ing the sec­ond half into a real cham­pi­onship en­counter as Rath­new went in search of a big win.

Kil­te­gan resisted bravely and we had a bat­tle royal in this sec­ond pe­riod. Stephan Far­rell and Seanie Fur­long ex­changed two points with Eddie Doyle to leave Rath­new still ahead by two points af­ter seven min­utes.

A minute later they got a some­what for­tu­nate goal when Kil­te­gan goalie Daniel Troy lost con­trol of the gall in his own goal mouth and Paul El­lis was on hand to boot home the third Rath­new goal.

James Stafford was sta­tioned at full-for­ward for the sec­ond half and Rath­new were play­ing a di­rect long kick­ing game try­ing to cre­ate as many goal scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties as pos­si­ble.

The big man was tightly po­liced by Blaine Har­mon but was knock­ing down ball to his col­leagues.

Three points in as many min­utes from Seanie Fur­long, Stephan Coogan and Fur­long again from a free brought the Rath­new ad­van­tage back to two points.

Paul El­lis pointed and when Nicky Mer­nagh goaled there was now two goals of a lead. Ex­cite­ment was high as the sit­u­a­tion at other venues kept fil­ter­ing through.

Jack Healy added a Rath­new point but Stephan Coogan pulled one for Kil­te­gan.

The last ten min­utes were evenly bal­anced as Nicky Mer­nagh and Eddie Doyle points for Rath­new were re­sponded to by a point apiece from Seanie Fur­long and Padraig O’Toole.

Kil­te­gan were still de­fi­ant and were con­tin­u­ing to ac­cu­mu­late a for­mi­da­ble score them­selves. Rath­new got their fifth goal with two min­utes to go when Leighton Glynn went through and set up Eddie Doyle from close in to goal.

The fi­nal score of the game fell to Seanie Fur­long in the third minute of time added when he pointed a free.

This crowned a fine dis­play from the for­mer county star, who still takes mind­ing.

Rath­new’s eight-point win­ning mar­gin was not suf­fi­cient to keep out AGB who clinched the semi-fi­nal place with their win over Ti­na­hely.

How­ever, the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the whole process gave us an ex­cit­ing sec­ond half played in a good spirit all through.

Scor­ers- Rath­new: Eddie Doyle 1-7, Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan 1-1, Paul El­lis 1-1, Nicky Mer­nagh 1-1, Paul Mer­ri­gan 1-0, Leighton Glynn 0-2, Jack Healy 0-1.

Kil­te­gan: Seanie Fur­long 1-9, Padraig O’Toole 0-3, Stephan Coogan 0-2, Rory Finn, An­thony Fur­long and Stephen Far­rell 0-1 each.

RATH­NEW: Peter Dig­nam; David Jame­son, Paul Mer­ri­gan, Jamie Snell; Gary Byrne, War­ren Ka­vanagh, Ro­nan Man­ley; James Stafford, Sam O’Dowd; Danny Staunton, Theo Smyth, Gra­ham Mer­ri­gan; Leighton Glynn, Nicky Mer­nagh, Eddie Doyle. Subs: Paul El­lis, Jack Healy and Luke Cor­co­ran.

KIL­TE­GAN: Daniel Troy; Brian Kear­ney, Blain Har­mon, John Far­rell; Liam Keogh, Stephan Far­rell, John Keogh; Padraig O’Toole, Rory Finn; Aaron Byrne, Seanie Fur­long, Fer­gal Far­rell; Stephan Coogan, An­thony Fur­long, Luke Byrne. REF­EREE: Bren­dan Fur­long (Ti­na­hely).

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