Work to be done but Avoca through
Rooster Park men see off Bray side
AVOCA marched on to the Philip Doyle Junior ‘B’ Football Championship semi-finals with this pillar to post victory over a gallant Bray Emmets in Ballinakill on Thursday evening last.
The Rooster Park men led throughout this encounter and at times looked mightily impressive with only a lackluster second half and a dozen wides tainting what should have been a much more emphatic win against a Bray side who battled hard throughout but who lacked a real finisher or two in the forwards.
A 0-10 to 0-2 half-time lead suggested that Eddie Leonard’s men would cruise through to the last four as they look to make up for the disappointment of losing last year’s decider to Hollywood but Bray Emmets had other ideas and through a combination of improved play from the north Wicklow men and worrying wastefulness on Avoca’s part the second half this game wasn’t really fully decided until it became clear that Bray were not going to find a way past Aidan Murray or the tough Avoca defence for a major or two to help their failing cause.
There is plenty to be impressed about in this Avoca side. A strong full-back line marshalled by Robert Wilson will give very little away. Wilson had to deal with the class of Oisin O hAinnaidh in this game and he did so superbly.
Mikey Fahy at centre back has oodles of class and he sat deep in the first half in Ballinakill and mopped up plenty of ball as well as driving forward at every opportunity. Dean Carter and Colin Doran are very useful in the half-back line.
Their midfield is very strong. Stephen McCauley impressed throughout with his steadiness while Martin Kenny is a raging bull capable of scoring sublime scores or switching to bulldozer mode to clear a path up the middle.
It’s their half-forward line that really impressed on Thursday night. Dean Power finished with five points and looks really capable. Aaron Tuke worked hard, and Andrew Doyle Jnr was virtually unstoppable in his runs in the first half, faded somewhat in the second but if this footballer doesn’t at least get an invite into county training next season then a real opportunity is being missed. His pace is electric.
Darren Keogh, PJ Fluskey and Dale Fluskey were good target men and worked hard throughout.
Two Dean Power points got Avoca up and running in the opening six minutes as both sets of players tested the waters. Bray had moments in the early stages but they dropped one shot short to Aidan Murray, had another chance robbed by fine play from Liam Dickenson and went wide from a Connor Flannery free after five.
The Bray side suffered badly with injuries in this game and they lost John O’Keeffe to a rib injury after a collision with Martin Kenny after nine minutes, or as Eddie Leonard described him from the sideline, ‘Conary Steel’.
Bray opened their account through a beautiful score from Oisin O hAinnaidh thanks to fine play from Flannery and Marc Lyon.
A quality ball from Mikey Fahy provided Dale Fluskey with a fine opportunity to score and the corner-forward took it with aplomb to open up a 0-3 to 0-1 lead and from here Avoca took the game by the scruff of the neck and added points from PJ Fluskey, Dean Power, Stephen McCauley and Dean Power again before Bray could register their second, a pointed free from Liam Morgan after 25 to leave the Rooster Park men 0-7 to 0-2 to the good.
Avoca, benefitting hugely from the defensive work of Mikey Fahey and Martin Kenny, finished the first half strong with points from Aaron Tuke and a pointed free from PJ Fluskey before Andrew Doyle Jnr screwed over a beautiful point off the outside of his right boot at full tilt up the field.
Sometimes it’s hard to maintain that momentum in a game and the opposotion will invariably lift their game and Bray enjoyed a positive start with a Peter Quinlan point lifting their cause thanks to super work from the impressive Ishmael Mnensa from full-back.
Avoca were still enjoying the lion’s share of possession and chances but could only reel off a shot dropped short and three wides before Dean Carter finally got them up and running in the second half with a quality score.
Two Bray points from David Martin and Brendan Snow pulled the north Wicklow men right back into this game but they would lose two more men to injury in the next five minutes during which Avoca would add three wides, see a move thrwarted by the excellent Ishmael Mnensa and watch as Stephen McCauley added a point on the run to make it 0-12 to 0-5.
Bray needed goals but it was really hard to see where they were going to from and when Martin Kenny fired over two points (one 45) either side of a missed penalty from the Avoca midfielder it was obvious that Bray’s goose was cooked.
Conor Flannery pointed a nice score after 29 but Dean Power finished a quality performance with an excellent score to make the final score 0-16 to 0-6 with Avoca marching into the last four with the potential for causing nightmares for anyone.
Scorers – Avoca: Dean Power 0-5, PJ Fluskey 0-2 (1f), Stephen McCauley 0-2, Martin Kenny 0-2 (1 45), Dale Fluskey 0-1, Aaron Tuke 0-1, Andrew Doyle Jnr 0-1, Dean Carter 0-1.
Bray Emmets: Oisin O hAinnaidh 0-1, Liam Morgan 0-1 (f), Peter Quinlan 0-1, David Martin 0-1, Brendan Snow 0-1, Conor Flannery 0-1.
AVOCA: Aidan Murray; Liam Dickenson, Robert Wilson, Colin O’Connor; Dean Carter, Mickey Fahy, Colin Doran; Stephen McCauley, Martin Kenny; Aaron Tuke, Dean Power, Andrew Doyle Jnr; Darren Keogh, PJ Fluskey, Dale Fluskey. Subs: Anto Doran for C Doran (38), Eoin Murtagh for D Keogh (52), Michael O’Neill for A Tuke, Andy Doyle Snr for PJ Fluskey, Robbie Warde for D Fluskey.
BRAY EMMETS: Jamie Queeney; Fin Green, Ishmael Mnensa, Cian Lafferty; Dylan Kavanagh, Brendan Snow, Cormac Martin; Declan Snow, John O’Keeffe; David Martin, Liam Morgan, Conor Flannery; Marc Lyon, Oisin O hAinnaidh, Peter Quinlan. Subs: Ross Masterson for J O’Keeffe (9, inj), Con Greene for D Kavanagh (19), Ciaran O’Connor for C Greene (46, inj), Tom Molloy for D Martin (52, inj).
REFEREE: Eugene O’Brien (Aughrim)
The Avoca Junior football team who defeated Bray Emmets in Ballinakill last Thursday evening.
The unstoppable Rachel Rice runs to celebrate with her team.
Bray Emmets captain Orlagh O’Kane and team manager Tomas O Mideach after they won the Intermediate camogie title in Dunbur Park.
Can’t beat the Wine Gums!
Match officials Mick Owens and Robert Roche shooting the breeze.