Ryans shines as Dwyers hold off late Rocks fightback
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.