BRIL­LIANT BRAN­DON

Ryans shines as Dwyers hold off late Rocks fight­back

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - ERIC MELIA at Pearse’s Park, Ark­low REF­EREE: Ciaran Manley (Gle­nealy)

MICHAEL DWYERS ad­vanced the fi­nal of the county Mi­nor hurl­ing cham­pi­onship af­ter a hard-fought vic­tory over Ark­low Rocks/Avon­dale in Pearse’s Park last Satur­day morn­ing.

An open­ing 25 min­utes that saw Dwyers lead by 14 points laid the ground­work for vic­tory de­spite a brave Rocks fight back in the se­cond half.

Michael Dwyers were quickly into their stride and points from Eoin Byrne, Arun Danne Daly, Tom Moran, Ben Burke (2) and Brian Keogh had them six points up at the end of the first quar­ter.

On 16 min­utes they rat­tled the Rocks net for the first time. Rory Martin and Burke com­bined to cre­ate an open­ing for Jack Grace whose rasp­ing shot was su­perbly saved by keeper Daniel O’Reilly, how­ever, Keogh re­acted fastest to strike home.

Rocks fi­nally got go­ing with three of the next four points to stem the tide some­what.

Then they were hit with the dou­ble whammy of two quick Dwyers goals.

The first saw keeper Meitheal Cleary launch a puck out into the Rocks half which Eoin Byrne raced onto be­fore driv­ing past O’Reilly from 25 yards out.

A minute later Dwyers goaled again; Burke found Rory Martin who gave O’Reilly no chance from close in with a bul­let of a strike. On 25 min­utes Brian Keogh rolled his marker be­fore clip­ping a point and the score­board read 3-8 to 0-3 for the western­ers.

Rocks showed great heart to start their fight back late in the first half. PJ O’Con­nor struck two points and Liam Somers plun­dered a goal that keeper Meitheal Cleary was un­lucky to keep out af­ter good work by mid­fielder Jor­dan Kelly laid on the as­sist.

The se­cond half saw Rocks try­ing to reel in the Dwyers lead. Shane Brown show­ing lead­er­ship from cen­tre back struck two fine scores the se­cond of which from 70 yards was a real morale boost­ing ef­fort. O’Con­nor also added two to re­duce the gap to six as you could sense Ark­low/Avon­dale felt an epic come back was on.

Dwyers were look­ing for some­one to stand up and that man was wing back Bran­don Ryan. He col­lected the ball out on the left wing 60 yards out but dis­sected the posts with poise at a cru­cial time. Once more Rocks re­fused to give up with O’Con­nor get­ting four in a row from frees and play to leave a goal in it with still five min­utes to play.

How­ever Keogh gave Dwyers a lit­tle lee­way with a long-range free to put the lead back out to four.

Ark­low Rocks/Avon­dale will re­gret the open­ing half leav­ing them­selves too much to do. Best for them was John Toumey and Shane Brown.

Michael Dwyers had ex­cel­lent per­form­ers in Jake O’Kelly, Eoin Byrne, goal­keeper Meitheal Cleary and Brian Keogh were all in­flu­en­tial at dif­fer­ent times in the con­test, how­ever, in the se­cond half when un­der the cosh, Bran­don Ryan re­ally stood out.

Man of the match had to be Ark­low’s PJ O’Con­nor with ten points in­clud­ing four from play who nearly mas­ter­mind­ing the mother of all come­backs.

Scor­ers - Dwyers: Brian Keogh 1-5, Eoin Byrne 1-1, Rory Martin 1-0, Ben Burke 0-2, Bran­don Ryan 0-1, Arun Daly Danne 0-1, Tom Moran 0-1.

ARP/Avon­dale: PJ O’Con­nor 0-10, Liam Somers 1-0, Shane Brown 0-2, Torna Mul­con­roy 0-2.

MICHAEL DWYERS: Meitheal Cleary; Daniel Van Alpen, Oisin Bro­gan, Dar­ren Ber­ming­ham; Bran­don Ryan, Jack Reid, Ciaran Har­mon; Arun Daly Danne, Jake O’Kelly; Jack Grace, Tom Moran, Eoin Byrne; Brian Keogh, Rory Martin, Ben Burke. Subs: Austin Brennan, Conor Gil­li­gan, Mikey Byrne.

ARK­LOW ROCKS/AVON­DALE: Daniel O’Reilly; Dara Fur­long, Dar­ren Reilly, Oisin Dunne; Conor Ga­han, Shane Brown, Ross Kenny; Jor­dan Kelly, Dil­lon Byrne; Dar­ragh O’Shea, John Toumey, Ja­son Breen; Torna Mul­con­roy, Liam Somers, PJ O’Con­nor. Sub: Shane Arthur

The Michael Dwyers team who de­feated Ark­low Rocks/Avon­dale in the Mi­nor ‘A’ hurl­ing semi-fi­nal last week­end.

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