Five-star Village storm to success
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).