Rath­new into the last eight

Strong sec­ond-half dis­play

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - DANIEL HAGAN at Pearse’s Park, Ark­low

RATH­NEW made it three wins from three to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Philip Doyle Ju­nior B Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship af­ter de­feat­ing AGB by four points with a very strong sec­ond-half show­ing.

AGB were ar­guably the bet­ter side in the first half as they en­dured a rapid start. The Rath­new net was rippled 24 sec­onds into the game. David O’Neill floated a ball in from dis­tance, Rath­new full-back Ja­son Devlin at­tempted to punch the ball clear but it was poorly judged, and the ball was di­verted to­wards goal, wrong-foot­ing keeper Richard Ka­vanagh.

The home side showed bet­ter glimpses of play early on with their mid­field­ers, O’Neill and Tommy New, con­trol­ling the game.

It was seven min­utes be­fore another score was posted, with Rath­new’s Ed­ward Doyle point­ing his first be­fore a penalty was awarded to his side. Jor­dan Gra­ham was pushed off the ball by Bren­dan O’Sul­li­van and ref­eree Chris Cana­van awarded the spot kick. Doyle stepped up and slot­ted the ball down the mid­dle.

10 min­utes in and the ball hit the net for the third time as AGB broke away im­pres­sively with the ball even­tu­ally land­ing in Ciaran O’Reilly’s arms then he slot­ted home eas­ily. Four scores so far, with three ma­jors and just one ball put over the bar.

Rath­new weren’t get­ting much ac­tion fur­ther afield as they lost con­cen­tra­tion too eas­ily caus­ing them to take their eye off the ball at cru­cial times.

Jack Darcy stuck over a beauty with the out­side of his right boot to give AGB a four-point lead.

Gary Fen­nell was caus­ing prob­lems for the Rath­new de­fence as he al­ways got in front of his de­fender, claim­ing pos­ses­sion and hand­ing the ball onto on­rush­ing for­wards.

There were a lot of risky passes in both back lines caus­ing nerves from both benches but rarely were these cap­i­talised on. The cre­ation of op­por­tu­ni­ties was lack­ing for both with a lot of poor con­ver­sions be­ing shown, 10 wides be­tween them in the first half.

James Hunter and Joshua Gra­ham along with Ross McBride and Jack Darcy all pointed be­fore half-time to leave the scores at 2-3 to 1-4 in favour of the home out­fit. This score could be seen as a bit of a sur­prise con­sid­er­ing the form books, as Rath­new had been vic­to­ri­ous in their two group games whereas AGB had only picked up a draw from their two matches.

AGB did ex­tend their lead early on in the half as Mark Hur­ley and Gary Fen­nell pointed af­ter Ed­ward Doyle’s early score. The game slowed down some­what as AGB goalscorer Ciaran O’Reilly went down off the ball and he would even­tu­ally be missed by his side as they only pointed twice af­ter this.

Com­po­sure was lack­ing in the min­utes af­ter the re­place­ment as a lot of ba­sic er­rors were on dis­play such as drops of the ball and pick ups of the deck which were flagged of­ten by ref­eree Cana­van.

With 20 min­utes to go, Ed­ward Doyle again with a free pulled the gap back to two be­fore he had a goal chance. He rounded the keeper im­pres­sively but some­how from around three yards out, couldn’t con­vert the chance.

Rath­new even­tu­ally lev­elled the game af­ter a boomer from mid­fielder Mick Nolan with his side fi­nally find­ing the con­fi­dence that they were lack­ing.

David O’Neill and James Hunter swapped scores to keep the scores tied with 10 min­utes re­main­ing, although there would be a good few min­utes of stop­page time.

Rath­new were aim­ing high balls in to­wards Ed­ward Doyle but AGB’s full-back and goal­keeper, Bren­dan O’Sul­li­van and Kyle O’Con­nor, were deal­ing fairly well from play.

The away side fi­nally took the lead with five min­utes to go as Joshua Gra­ham put one over be­fore Gra­ham, Doyle and sub­sti­tute James Boy­lan rounded up the scores to give their side a four-point vic­tory.

In the fi­nal mo­ments, AGB’s Jack Darcy was shown a straight red for dis­sent to rub more mis­ery into the Ark­low side who never re­ally turned up for the sec­ond half. Rath­new will be look­ing to kick on from this and­push for­ward and aim for cham­pi­onship glory.

Scor­ers – AGB: Ciaran O’Reilly 1-0; OG 1-0; David O’Neill 0-2; Jack Darcy 0-2; Mark Hur­ley 0-1; Gary Fen­nell 0-1; Ross McBride 0-1.

Rath­new: Ed­ward Doyle 1-7 (4f, 1 pen); Joshua Gra­ham 0-3; James Hunter 0-2; Mick Nolan 0-1; James Boy­lan 0-1.

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