Late Kenny goal sees Bray de­feat Aughrim

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - LIAM O’LOUGH­LIN at Bal­li­nakill

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.

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