Knockananna get better of Rathnew
THIS was a match which had all that you would expect from a championship match: high intensity, heavy hits, drama and fine scoring.
From the get-go it was clear to see that both sides were up for the game and neither side was willing to flinch. The game got off to a rip-roaring start with the opening score coming inside the opening minute when Damien Byrne was fouled by his marker and Kevin Tyrrell sent over the resulting free. This was to be quickly cancelled out with a free from the extremely accurate Edward Doyle.
The first half goal chance of the game gave in the ninth minute of the first period when a quick free from Darren Flynn was played over the Rathnew defence into the unmarked Damien Byrne. As the Knockananna man gathered possession he slipped at the wrong time with open country in-front of him.
To be fair, the Rathnew defence were quick to get around him but from a lying position Byrne somehow managed to see Noel Byrne in space and Noel popped the ball over the bar.
Knockananna at this stage were really starting to move well and they quickly followed this point with another from Stephen Hinchy.
Rathnew started to get a spell of dominance mid-way through the opening half and they registered two quick scores, both from the boot of Edward Doyle from placed balls.
Then came the score of the game and from the most unlikely of sources, when Padraig Lancaster drove a boomer of a shot of the outside of his left boot from close to the sideline. Padraig fielded the ball in the middle of the field and then laid a ball in front Damien Byrne who was out in front of his marker and Byrne pops the ball back Lancaster who sails it between the post. The crowd let up a cheer before the question echoes around: ‘Who was Podge trying to pass the ball to, because there is no way he meant that’.
Then came two great goal chances for both sides. The first came the way of the Knockananna men when Richard Kavanagh pulled off a super save to deny Reid Byrne and the ball spills straight across the goalmouth and with a goal at his mercy Stephen Hinchy managed to clear the cross bar.
The next goal chance came the way of Rathnew after a sweeping team move forced a great save from Seán Canna. The resulting shot was pushed out over the end line and Joshua Graham slotted the 45 to keep the Rathnew men into contention. Rathnew finished out the half the better with three placed balls from Edward Doyle.
The second half started as the first had with two points in the opening minute. The first coming from a free for Knockananna as Tristan Maher gained possession from the throw in and set off straight for goal. He laid the ball off to Kevin Tyrrell who was fouled. Kevin stood up and slotted the ball between the uprights.
From the kick out Rathnew gain possession and Joshua Graham plays the ball in front of John Sayer who registers Rathnew’s first point from play.
Knockananna got the next two scores, both frees from Kevin Tyrell. Rathnew, not to be outdone, gained a foothold in the Knockananna end of the field and they registered two more frees of their own to reduce the deficit to the minimum midway through the second half.
Then came the time for Knockananna veteran Derek ‘Shammy’ Kavanagh to reel back the years with a delightful piece of individual skill. ‘Shammy’ got onto a breaking ball and set off towards goal, and with the Rathnew defence closing in the sold the most beautiful dummy and off the outside of the right spilt the posts.
Joshua Graham was not to be outdone and he pulled off two superb points to keep Rathnew within touching distance as we entered the closing stages of normal time. Then came the first major of the game.
With time almost up a bit of game management was being played when a free from all of 55 yards was being lined up and the Knockananna sideline kicked in a new ball to Derek Kavanagh. Kavanagh kicked the ball high into the air and as the cheers from the Knockananna crowd willing it over the bar the ball trajectory gets lower and lower and the hands start to rise, a fist comes in from Damien Byrne and the ball ends up in the back of the net (it must have been the new ball).
Both teams were reduced to 14 in the closing stages of the match with both players receiving second yellows. As the game moved deep into injury time Rathnew broke the Knockananna rear guard to register a goal of their own from Joshua Graham, was there going to be time for Rathnew to get another.
From the resulting kickout the men from Knockananna gathered possession and with the whistles coming from the line looking for the game to be finished Padraig Lancaster found Derek Kavanagh in space who was fouled. Kavanagh kept his cool to slot the free to put the margin out to four.
The final whistle sounded to the relief of all the Knockananna supporters. They now go on to face Enniskerry in what is sure to be another close affair in the semi-finals of the Junior ‘B’ Football Championship.
Scorers – Knockananna: Derek Kavanagh 0-5 (3f), Kevin Tyrrell 0-5 (5f), Damien Byrne 1-1, Stephen Hinchy 0-2, Tristan Maher 0-2, Padraig Lancaster 0-1, Noel Byrne 0-1, Anthony Treacy 0-1.
Rathnew: Edward Doyle 0-9 (9f), Josh Graham 1-4, John Sayer 0-1
KNOCKANANNA: Sean Canna; Keith Corrigan, Aaron O’Neill, Paddy O’Keeffe; Ronan Byrne, Garry Bradley, Darren Flynn; Tristan Maher, Padraig Lancaster; Noel Byrne, Reid Byrne, Derek Kavanagh; Kevin Tyrrell, Damien Byrne, Stephen Hinchy. Subs: Eddie Bracken, Anthony Treacy, Brian Lawrence.
RATHNEW: R Kavanagh; Wayne Devlin, Alan Clarke, Eric Doyle; Rory Dowling, Lee Kavanagh, John Healy; Stewart Murphy, Mick Nolan; Joshua Graham, Gavin Byrne, Jordan Graham; Edward Doyle, John Sayer, Dale Frayney. Subs: Cian Hunter, Jason Devlin.
REFEREE: Robert Roche (Carnew)
The Knockananna footballers who defeated Rathnew in the JBFC quarter-final in Avondale.
Knockananna’s Kevin Tyrrell wins this race for possession.