Donard-the Glen ask se­ri­ous ques­tions ahead of fi­nal

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at Knock­ananna

LAST year’s beaten fi­nal­ists Donard-The Glen laid down a se­ri­ous marker to the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons when they pro­duced an ut­terly dom­i­nant per­for­mance in the last group cham­pi­onship game in a damp Knock­ananna in what was a dress re­hearsal for the county fi­nal which takes place this Satur­day in Dun­bur Park.

In a more or less mean­ing­less game it was al­ways go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing to see how this pair of foes would fare against each other given how close they are to the flag­ship day in Wick­low camo­gie, and while noth­ing can re­ally be taken from the re­sult, it’s the per­for­mances that are the most telling.

Aside from the last seven min­utes of this game this was a dev­as­tat­ing shift from the DonardThe Glen side who look to have a con­sid­er­able amount more camo­gie played this sea­son than Knock­ananna have go­ing on first touch and their over­all hurl­ing.

Again, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that this was a non-event of a game in terms of the re­sult and there were a few play­ers miss­ing for the home side who have also lost seven play­ers from last year’s panel, but no team goes out to lose any game and Knock­ananna cer­tainly didn’t on Tues­day evening last but if it doesn’t make it abun­dantly clear as to what’s po­ten­tially com­ing on Satur­day in Dun­bur for Tom Byrne’s side then noth­ing will.

Donard-The Glen’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Kil­dare Division 2 camo­gie league has ob­vi­ously been of ma­jor ben­e­fit to their hurl­ing. They topped the league ta­ble for a time and lost out to Moore­field in the semi-fi­nal for a place in the league de­cider and they looked very sharp in most po­si­tions in this cham­pi­onship clash on the Car­low bor­der.

Con­trast that to Knock­ananna who have played just six league games (many against In­ter­me­di­ate teams) and three cham­pi­onships games, Avon­dale, Gle­nealy and Donard-The Glen, and it’s abun­dantly clear how such a gap has opened up in re­la­tion to match sharp­ness and hurl­ing abil­ity.

Donard-The Glen hit the ground run­ning in Knock­ananna and opened up a 1-5 to 0-0 lead af­ter 17 min­utes, the goal from Kelly O’Neill af­ter four min­utes and points from Clair Whe­lan (3) and two from Aoife Grace as the visi­tors com­pletely bossed the open­ing 30 with Ma­cayla Mur­phy prov­ing to be a sav­iors for the home side in the goals.

Knock­ananna opened their ac­count af­ter 25 min­utes through full-for­ward Aine O’Ke­effe af­ter a qual­ity ball from Laura Ho­gan but a Kelly O’Neill pointed free made it 1-6 to 0-1 at the break.

The de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons had lost Erin Byrne to in­jury early on which cer­tainly didn’t help their cause, but they were los­ing out in al­most ev­ery po­si­tion on the field which was putting sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure on their de­fence.

The game was over in the early stages of the sec­ond half when the ex­cel­lent Clair Whe­lan fired home a rip­per that was fol­lowed up by a ma­jor from Emma Hay­den which left it 3-5 to 0-1 for the visi­tors.

Knock­ananna man­ager Tom Byrne made some fun­da­men­tal changes to his line up to try and sal­vage some­thing or res­cue the sit­u­a­tion; Laura Ho­gan went to mid­field, Shan­nagh Goete­len went to cen­tre half back while Aine Byrne re­treated from full-for­ward to full-back with Claire Byrne go­ing to 11 and Sarah Byrne to full-for­ward.

A point from Alice Mul­hall and an­other goal from Clair Whe­lan left lit­tle room for hope for Knock­ananna but they did even­tu­ally start to hurl a lit­tle bet­ter and they started cre­at­ing some chances but could only reg­is­ter four wides, two goal chances.

Donard-The Glen were not re­lent­ing in the slight­est. They bagged an­other 2-2 by the 21st minute of the sec­ond half, the goals from Daisie Sum­mer Cullen Dunne and Clair Whe­lan who took a ball from Sheila Whe­lan on the vol­ley and nearly ripped the nets such was the power be­hind the shot.

Knock­ananna can take some com­fort with their fin­ish to this game. They did set­tle and start to ex­ert some con­trol and they scored a late 1-2, two Laura Ho­gan points and the goal from Loretta Mut­ton, but the re­sult was never in any doubt from far out.

This wasn’t the fi­nal. Knock­ananna will re­group and fo­cus ahead of the big one. Donard-The Glen, on this per­for­mance, have to be favourites, but like all county fi­nals, noth­ing can be taken for granted un­til that fi­nal whis­tle soun ds.

Scor­ers – Donard-The Glen: Clair Whe­lan 3-4 (2f, 1 45), Kelly O’Neill 1-1 (f), Daisie Sum­mer Cullen Dunne 1-1, Emma Hay­den 1-0, Aoife Grace 0-3.

Knock­ananna: Loretta Mut­ton 1-0, Laura Ho­gan 0-2, Aine O’Ke­effe 0-1.

Knock­ananna, who lost out to Donard-The Glen in the cham­pi­onship meet­ing in Knock­ananna. Both sides will face each in the county fi­nal this Satur­day.

The Donard-The Glen se­nior camo­gie team ahead of their cham­pi­onship clash with Knock­ananna.

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