Electric Eoin leads Dwyers to victory
Byrne shines as west side deliver stunning second half
MICHAEL DWYERS CARNEW EMMETS 0-17 2-7
A stunning second-half performance from Michael Dwyers seen the west Wicklow club crowned Minor ‘A’ champions of Wicklow as they dismantled the challenge of defending champions Carnew Emmets in Aughrim on Sunday afternoon.
A towering performance from half-forward Eoin Byrne and a hugely impressive work ethic and blatantly obvious hunger were just some of the factors in turning a 2-5 to 0-8 half-time deficit into a resounding 0-17 to 2-7 victory by the final whistle of a pulsating decider.
That a tight-marking and clued in defence kept a Carnew Emmets side littered with attacking talent to just two points from placed balls in that second half should tell you all you need to know about the immense foundation laid so that the likes of Kilmacart’s Byrne, Tom Moran, Rory Martin, Jack Grace and Brian Keogh to do the damage at the other end.
It was all about hunger in that second half, all about leaders and young men standing up to the challenge on the big day, and Dwyers captain Brandon Ryan was a key figure in that regard as he worked tirelessly from halfback along with Jack Reid and Ciarán Harmon while the feverish full-back line of Daniel Van Alpen, Oisin Brogan and the very impressive Darren Bermingham coped effectively with a Carnew inside line that changed on numerous occasions as the defending champions sought to gain a foothold in the second half.
It all looked so differently early on as Carnew bounced into a 2-5 to 0-4 lead after 17 minutes as the defending champions started full of intent.
Full-forward Owen Young got the ball rolling with a pointed free after a foul on John Young by Ciarán Harmon and centre forward Eoin Kavanagh bought himself time and space by booting the ball clear and then swung over their second to lead by two after two minutes.
Young went wide from a free won by Cormac Redmond but Dwyers rallied and were back all square after just a few moments through points from the seemingly unmarkable Eoin Byrne and a free from the accurate Brian Keogh.
Eoin Kavanagh looked like he was about to produce a performance for the ages when he won a breaking ball and walloped over from distance to return Carnew to the front and the lead was doubled when Owen Young collected a sideline from Kavanagh and split the posts to make it 0-4 to 0-2 after 10.
But even at this early stage it was clear that Dwyers were not going to be rolled over easily here. Michael Moran’s men might not have been hurling to their best and there might have been an element of nerves here and there, but they were always able to keep Carnew in their sights and within 120 seconds of Carnew carving a two-point advantage the sides were all square again thanks to a magic score from Eoin Byrne and another well-struck free from Brian Keogh after a pull on Tom Moran.
And then Carnew Emmets landed what looked to be real body blows to the Dwyers. A long puck-out from Carnew full-back Thomas Collins was plucked from the heavens by Eoin Kavanagh who fed Owen Young who showed every ounce of the effortless class he possesses when he threw the ball on his hurl and waltzed through the heart of the Dwyers defence before finishing home past Meitheal Cleary at the Rednagh Hill end.
Tom Moran struck back with a point for the Dwyers after 16 but more bad news was to befall the westerners when a long, hopefull ball in from the sideline from the hurl of Thomas Hayden took a wicked bounce on the Astro turf and whizzed in past the unfortunate Meitheal Cleary for a 2-4 to 0-5 lead after 17.
It was do or die time now for Dwyers. Another score or two for Carnew and the heads were in danger of dropping. They needed to steady the ship, curtail the influence of Eoin Kavanagh at centre forward and the recovery would begin.
Brian Keogh pointed a free. Rory Martin almost had a goal but for the heroics of Caoimhín Rawson in the Carnew goal who got his hurl to the ball and pushed it up and off the crossbar and away. Brian Keogh fires over another free moments later and two Eoin Byrne stunners before the break puts an altogether healthier look to proceedings for Michael Moran’s side with Dwyers struggling all over the field since the scoring of the two goals.
What unfolded in the second half suggests that in Michael Moran, Brian Keogh and Peter Byrne Dwyers have a very shrewd and capable management team as well as a squad of confident and capable hurlers.
To a man the Dwyers team stepped up and were counted and in Arun Daly Danne and Jake O’Kelly there were found two of the leading lights in that regard. O’Kelly collected a poor Carnew clearance in the opening moments of the second and drove over to leave just a single point between the sides and you could sense that the Dwyers were out for blood.
Owen Young pushed it back out to a two-point advantage but Eoin Byrne, living on and thriving off scraps collected a ball from Darren Bermingham and drove over and we were all square after 11 when Brian Keogh fired over from an Arun Daly Danne ball. Carnew were in trouble. Eoin Kavanagh was being allowed make little or no impact on the game. They were struggling in the midfield and half-back line and Owen Young was realistically their only scoring threat up top.
Carnew’s management team switched Owen Young and Eoin Kavanagh with Kavanagh going in on Oisin Brogan on the end of the square but it would have very little effect on the overall momentum of this game which was driving on the Dwyers at this stage. Dwyers countered the move by dropping Brandon Ryan deeper to protect their full-back line.
They took the lead for the first time after 18 minutes through Rory Martin after good work from Arun Daly Danne and Jack Reid.
Eoin Byrne committed daylight robbery when brilliantly dispossessing Cillian McDonald before firing over in between two wayward strikes from Eoin Kavanagh (one from a free). Kavanagh was then switched back to centre back to try and give Carnew some momentum going forward with Ryan Guilfoyle going to full and Owen Young moving out the half forward.
Dwyers were looking like the side with all the aces at this stage. Brian Keogh opened up a healthy looking three-point gap from a free after 23 before making it four after 25 and Tom Moran showing consummate ease and skill to make it 0-17 to 2-6 after 27 with Austin Brennan firing into the sidenetting for a missed goal chance for the west side.
Owen Young pointed the last score of the game after a foul on James McGing and although Carnew came looking for goals late on the Dwyers defence weren’t for moving.
A stunning second-half performance from the Dwyers and a huge boost for hurling in the west of the county. Eoin Byrne deservedly picked up the Man of the Match award but realistically the winning of this county final was in the stellar team performance from Meitheal Cleary to substitute Austin Brennan.
Scorers – Michael Dwyers: Brian Keogh 0-7 (5f), Eoin Byrne 0-5, Tom Moran 0-2, Jake O’Kelly 0-1, Jack Grace 0-1, Rory Martin 0-1.
Carnew Emmets: Owen Young 1-5 (4f), Thomas Hayden 1-0, Eoin Kavanagh 0-2.
MICHAEL DWYERS: Meitheal Cleary; Daniel Van Alpen, Oisin Brogan, Darren Bermingham; Brandon Ryan, Jack Reid, Ciarán Harmon; Arun Daly Danne, Jake O’Kelly; Jack Grace, Tom Moran, Eoin Byrne; Rory Martin, Brian Keogh, Ben Burke. Subs: Austin Brennan for B Burke (28).
CARNEW EMMETS: Caoimhín Rawson; Maurice Shiel, Thomas Collins, Max Keogh; Conor Byrne, James McGing, Conor Wafer; Ryan Guilfoyle, Cillian McDonald; John Young, Eoin Kavanagh, Thomas Hayden; Dan Redmond, Owen Young, Cormac Redmond. Subs: Daniel
The Michael Dwyers Minor hurlers celebrate after defeating Carnew in the ‘A’ decider in Aughrim last Sunday.