Work to be done but Avoca through

Rooster Park men see off Bray side

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

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.

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