Late Kenny goal sees Bray defeat Aughrim
BRAY EMMETS 3-12 AUGHRIM 2-12
A goal from Bray full-forward Liam Kenny, four minutes from time, proved to be the match winner in this keenly contested Junior hurling championship game between Aughrim and Bray Emmets played at Ballinakill on Wednesday night last.
Despite being pitted against one of Aughrim’s better performers, Ciaran Byrne at full-back, Kenny was a constant thorn in the side for the entire Aughrim defence.
He was very strong under the high ball and used his vast experience to score the first Emmets goal and to make the second scored by Brian Duggan.
Bray had begun the game in a strong fashion and had a couple of early scores on the board before the Aughrim side got going. Weather conditions were dry at this stage, but darkening skies looked ominous and the lights were on ten minutes before the break.
An Aughrim pointed free from Conor Connolly was the Ow men’s single response to Conor Hardiman and Brian Tynan. However, a great solo run through the Emmets defence by centre forward Robert Lambert and the resultant point seemed to lift the Aughrim men who went through their best period in the game from here to half time.
Brian Hanlon and Conor Lambert came to terms with their midfield role and their forwards began to get a more plentiful supply of ball. When Sean O’Neill goaled, it put Aughrim ahead, but Brian Tynan leveled matters again for Bray.
Their full-forward line of Ebbs, Kenny and Duggan remained very dangerous, with Kenny’s ability to pluck the high ball out of the sky leaving a constant threat. He got through after 13 minutes, but David Whitty saved brilliantly from close in.
However, Kenny won the rebound to record Bray’s first goal. Conor Hardiman added a point from a free but Aughrim came back strongly with points from Brian Hanlon, Conor Lambert, Conor Connolly and two Conor Connolly frees to push ahead again.
But the danger of the Emmets full line of attack was always there and Kenny fed Brian Duggan for their second goal. Play was evenly balanced from here to half time with Duggan, Hardiman, Luke O’Reilly and Tynan scoring points for the Bray men.
David Whitty saved brilliantly coming to half time as Aughrim added points from Connolly and Conor Lambert.
A goal from Tim Healy put Aughrim two points ahead coming up to half time but they had a great escape coming up to the half-time whistle when Liam Kenny managed to kick what seemed a certain goal over the bar. The half-time score stood at 2-9 to 2-8 in favour of Aughrim.
By now the threatened rain had arrived and it changed the entire nature of the game. Gone was the freer movement of the first half and it appeared that the Emmets side was better equipped to handle the wet conditions.
Their touch and combination gave them an advantage as the Aughrim lads had to work that much harder to stay with them. But Aughrim did work hard and scores in this half were hard come by.
The Aughrim full-back line of Peter Quigley, Ciaran Byrne and Mick Darcy were defending stoutly and the alert Whitty in goal was ensuring that the goals of the first half would be hard earned.
However, three Conor Hardiman frees had the Bray men two points ahead after twelve minutes. Sid Hunt, Luke O’Reilly and Paul Barry had established dominance around the middle of the field for Bray and very little ball was moving to the Aughrim attack.
Aughrim suffered a blow when they lost Mark Clancy to a hand injury. Clancy had been playing well in the half back line and his loss was felt. Robert Lambert was moved to midfield and Aughrim began to get forward more once again. A point from Bray substitute Andy Conway put them a goal ahead as the game moved into the last quarter.
However, Aughrim were now fighting back and points from Brian Hanlon and Robert Lambert left the minimum between the sides at 2-12 to 2-11 as the momentum was swinging back to Aughrim.
However, that man Kenny got the ball in his hand and rifled home the crucial goal with four minutes to go. Try as they might, Aughrim could not close the gap and their only reward was a point from Robert Lambert just before the call of time.
The experience and craft of some of the Emmets players was really the deciding factor in their game, particularly when conditions got wet. Their full forward line was ever dangerous but, to their credit, the Aughrim full back line got to terms with them. The battle for Aughrim to establish an adult team is not over yet but it does look that the product of an excellent juvenile structure can look forward to a future in their own club colours.
Scorers – Bray Emmets: Liam Kenny 2-1, Brian Duggan 1-1, Conor Hardiman 0-6, Brian Tynan 0-2, Luke O’Reilly 0-1, Andy Conway 0-1.
Aughrim: Conor Connolly 0-7, Robert Lambert 0-3, Sean O’Neill 1-0, Tim Healy 1-0, Brian Hanlon 0-1, Conor Lambert 0-1.