‘Vil­lage’ too strong

Rath­new show their po­ten­tial with win over An Tochar

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - PADDY HICKEY at Round­wood REF­EREE: John Keenan (Aughrim).

JUST a week af­ter the orig­i­nal game was aban­doned due to a flare-up on the side­line, the re-fixed mi­nor foot­ball cham­pi­onship tie be­tween An Tochar and Rath­new passed off with­out any re­peat un­savoury be­hav­iour at Round­wood on Thurs­day evening.

In the ear­lier con­test, a mere 21 min­utes had elapsed when ref­eree Liam Keenan de­cided to pull the play­ers off the pitch, with Rath­new lead­ing the home side by 1-3 to 0-4.

But, with the lat­ter game be­ing played in a sport­ing spirit and de­void of any out­bursts of ran­cour or an­i­mos­ity, there was never any doubt but that match of­fi­cial John Keenan, who han­dled this year’s Le­in­ster se­nior hurl­ing fi­nal be­tween Kilkenny and Wex­ford, would per­mit the full 60 min­utes to be played.

In con­trast to the un­fin­ished match, which was closely con­tested in the course of its brief du­ra­tion, Rath­new seized an early grip on the pro­ceed­ings, and never looked in any dan­ger of fail­ing to build on their open­ing round win over Ti­na­hely.

Ad­mit­tedly, the large con­tin­gent of An Tochar sup­port­ers who packed the stand had good rea­son to be sig­nif­i­cantly en­cour­aged when mid­fielder Andy Nolan opened the scor­ing with a point af­ter just three min­utes.

But six min­utes later the home out­fit were rocked on their heels when Rath­new full-for­ward Eoin Doyle fin­ished to the net af­ter a goal at­tempt from right cor­ner-for­ward Ross Quinn had can­noned back into play off the left up­right.

That score pro­vided ‘The Vil­lage’ with an ad­van­tage which they sub­se­quently never sur­ren­dered, and two min­utes be­fore half-time they ad­di­tion­ally con­sol­i­dated their po­si­tion when Eoin Doyle raised his se­cond green flag, this time ex­pertly fin­ish­ing off a move also in­volv­ing Ross Quinn and mid­fielder Sean Cof­fey, who shot two first half points.

An Tochar closed the first half scor­ing with a fine left-footed ef­fort from Andy Nolan, but they still found them­selves fac­ing a 2-4 to 0-4 deficit at the short break.

On the restart, Rath­new ex­tended their ad­van­tage with a point apiece from Ross Quinn and out­stand­ing play-maker Toby Martin, who is still el­i­gi­ble for the un­der-15 grade.

But fol­low­ing this, the home side en­joyed their best pe­riod in the match, hit­ting an an­swered three points in the space of seven min­utes, through JP Nolan, Conor Fee and Ciaran Mur­ray, to re­duce their op­po­nents’ lead to five points, 2-6 to 0-7.

How­ever, Rath­new did not take long to re-es­tab­lish their author­ity on the con­test, shoot­ing five points with­out re­ply in­side five min­utes, Cur­ran con­tribut­ing a brace, to put them­selves firmly in the driv­ing seat.

To their credit, the Round­wood side never gave up and they were re­warded for their ef­forts by reg­is­ter­ing four of the last five points scored prior to the fi­nal whis­tle.

Asked for a com­ment on the game, Rath­new man­ager Alan Clarke said: ‘We were very happy with the per­for­mance. The lads put in a good shift and bat­tled away right to the end.

‘It was en­cour­ag­ing the way we re­sponded with five points on the trot when An Tochar re­duced our lead to five points early in the se­cond half.

‘It was very tough for us com­ing back up to Round­wood tonight, but the lads showed their true colours by the way they worked so hard through­out and con­trolled the game for long stretches.

‘At times, we maybe over-elab­o­rated a bit and went for goals when points were there for the tak­ing, but re­ally you can’t have any com­plaints when you win a match by seven points.

‘As well, there were some ex­cel­lent in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances, with (cen­tre-back) Fionn O’Sul­li­van catch­ing a lot of ball well over his head and mak­ing some great blocks, and Sean Cof­fey win­ning a lot of ball at mid­field.

‘(Full-for­ward) Eoin Doyle is as good a for­ward as you’d get, and I think that you can give a lot of credit to the soc­cer for the ball skills of (cen­tre-for­ward) Toby Cur­ran, and he’d be up and down the pitch all night for you.’

An Tochar boss Liam Cullen said: ‘The lads have been work­ing very hard all year and we were very proud of the ef­fort they put in there tonight.

‘But we prob­a­bly we didn’t hit the heights we were hop­ing to hit, though it was a dif­fi­cult week for us given what hap­pened last week.

‘How­ever, in fair­ness to Rath­new, they were wor­thy win­ners tonight.’

On Mon­day night Rath­new took on Éire Óg in Bal­li­nakill with the game end­ing in a draw at Rath­new 2-10, Éire Óg 3-7.

This sees Rath­new and Éire Óg fac­ing a play-off against each other while Bray Em­mets and Balt­in­glass will con­test the other play-off to see who reaches the Mi­nor ‘A’ foot­ball fi­nal for 2019.

Scor­ers – Rath­new: Eoin Doyle 2-2, Toby Cur­ran 0-4, Sean Cof­fey, Reese Doyle 0-2 each, Wil­liam Moore­house, Ross Quinn 0-1 each.

An Tochar: Andy Nolan, JP Nolan (2f), Ciaran Mur­ray (1f), 0-3 each, Conor Fee 0-2 (1f).

RATH­NEW: Christo­pher Doyle; Ta­hang Tran-Quim, Aaron Quinn, Ryan O’Toole; Kil­lian Clarke, Fionn O’Sul­li­van, Dy­lan Doyle; Sean Cof­fey, Ben Free; Wil­liam Moore­house, Toby Cur­ran, Char­lie Cruise; Ross Quinn, Eoin Doyle, Reese Doyle. AN TOCHAR: Cian Tim­mons; Luke Kenny, Jor­dan Brady, Dy­lan Cum­mins; James Cardiff, Matt Nolan, Ryan O’Han­lon; Andy Nolan, Niall Shee­han; Bobby Brady, JP Nolan, Cian Brady; Conor Fee, Dar­ragh Fee, Ciaran Mur­ray.

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