ABSOLUTELY NO STOPPING BRILLIANT BRAY
BRAY EMMETS GELENEALY 1-19 1-9
YOU get the feeling that this is more than just a championship victory for Bray Emmets following their dismissal of Glenealy in the Lightning Protection Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final in Aughrim last Sunday.
You get the feeling that this is the start of something long-term and powerful that could change the landscape of hurling in the county for some time to come.
This Bray Emmets team look to have arrived back in town like a disgruntled gunslinger who was dispatched not so long ago and he’s taken up lodging in the saloon and he ain’t for moving.
The match programme listed a panel of 30 names for Paul Carley’s side, every single one of them a competent and capable hurler. For the love of God, Eoin McCormack didn’t even start this game! What does that say to the rest of the county?
Glenealy were worthy champions these past two years, bringing Wicklow club hurling to the cusp of a Leinster crown in Nowlan Park and defending their title with class last year but this Bray Emmets team are a different gravy altogether and unless a seismic shift takes place among the chasing pack they are a team who will dominate for the foreseeable future if their unity and confidence remains at the lofty heights upon which they currently reside.
At times in this game Paul Carley’s charges were a joy to watch. Sweeping moves, devastating hunger in defence, creativity, utter belief in their ability and their plan, it was clear from early on that Glenealy were in serious trouble.
From that opening exchange when Michael Boland raced past Danny Staunton before firing over a stunning score from the sideline, the writing was on the wall. Very few players race past Danny Staunton. Very few players split the posts from out on the sideline with their first touch. The scene was set, gauntlet thrown. Let’s dance.
Christy Moorehouse moved out to the half-forward line where he was picked up by Gary Byrne, the duel we all wanted to see was about to play out. Padraig Doyle and Michael Boland were inside. Marc Lennon would drop a little deeper to support the midfield and try choke ‘Bosco’ Snr’s infleunce on the game while Leighton Glynn resumed his new position at centre back.
The aforementioned ‘Bosco’ dropped over a bomb to reply but we were seeing signs that Bray were looking to run at the Glenealy defence at every opportunity and they wanted quick ball into Boland and Doyle to try and test Staunton and Ronan Manley.
Possibly the defining score of the game arrived next. Christy Moorehouse won possession among a group of players and offered a dummy hand pass that bought him a few yards and with the air of a man looking to settle a score he fired over a missile from way out. This was hugely impressive stuff and the match wasn’t even in double figures in terms of the clock.
Christy pointed a free after a foul on Ben McCormack and an extremely important stop being put to Marc Lennon’s run with advantage being played by Ciaran Fleming by Gary Byrne. Had the Glenealy captain not stopped Lennon’s run it was looking very threatening for Cian Staunton up ahead.
Bray’s pace and movement were electric early on. With Marc Lennon dropping out to the middle and with space being created all over the place Bray were soon out to a 0-6 to 0-1 lead thanks to points from Christy Moorehouse, Ben McCormack and Michael Boland who collected a sweet Marc Lennon ball before turning and firing over. This was epic stuff.
Massive defending by Sean Maloney was undone by the whistle of Ciaran Fleming who awarded a free for a foul on Jonathon O’Neill Jnr and ‘Bosco’ Snr notched Glenealy’s second of the day from the free.
Frees were what was keeping Garry Laffan’s men alive at this point in time but a handling error from Gary Byrne provided Moorehouse with another chance and he took it with aplomb, 0-7 to 0-2.
A ‘Bosco’ free after a foul on Joey Drive Jnr who was operating out the field cut the deficit to four and only for a vital save from Conor McNally from a Gary Hughes strike Glenealy might have had the first major of the game and what a boost that would have been for Laffan’s side who were visibly shrinking in the face of the Bray Emmets onslaught.
The problem for Glenealy was that not only did they not get the first major, but it was scored by Bray at the death of the first half when Padraig Doyle lashed home past Cian Staunton at the dressing room end to send Bray in with a healthy 1-11 to 0-5 lead at the break.
Garry Laffan sent in Sam O’Dowd for Tommy Doyle after half-time and the recovery looked well and truly underway when ‘Bosco’ fired over two points either side of a wicked Matthew Traynor goal to leave just four between the sides at 1-11 to 1-7.
Christy Moorehouse stopped the rot with a point from a free won by Diarmuid Masterson and he followed that up with a 65 after his rocket of a shot at goal was saved by Staunton in the lead up.
Paul Carley sent in Eoin McCormack to the fray after 10 minutes of the second half and another ‘Bosco’ point from a free was followed up with two humdingers from Bray, the first from Christy from a free and the second from the graceful and suave Diarmuid Masterson with 15 gone. 1-15 to 1-8.
Glenealy would try numerous switches to try unlock the Bray defence. Gavin Weir and Gary Hughes switched, Leighton Glynn
pushed up as did Danny Staunton but in Cian Lohan, John Henderson and Daire Henderson they found a half-back line of utter brilliance and behind that were Peter Walsh, Karl Lacey and Sean Maloney who all had very effective games.
Danny Staunton pulled a point back for Glenealy in what would be their last score with 12 to go and although Bray lost Christy Moorehouse to a red card after 25 minutes this game was dead and buried by then and further points from Padraig Doyle and Cathal Ó Dualachain put the finishing touches on what was a massive statement by a young and very talented Bray Emmets side.
These lads are here to stay. Get used to it.
Scorers – Christy Moorehouse 0-11 (6f, 2 65), Michael Boland 0-4 (1f), Ben McCormack 0-1, Diarmuid Masterson 0-1, Padraig Doyle 1-1 (f), Cathal Ó Dualachain 0-1.
Glenealy: Jonathon O’Neill Snr 0-7 (6f), Matthew Traynor 1-0, Danny Staunton 0-1, Alan Driver 0-1. BRAY EMMETS: Conor McNally; Peter Walsh, Karl Lacey, Sean Maloney; Cian Lohan, John Henderson, Daire Henderson; Luke Maloney, Diarmuid Masterson; Padraig Doyle, Marc Lennon, Ronan McMahon; Christy Moorehouse, Ben McCormack, Michael Boland. Subs: Eoin McCormack for R McMahon (40), David Maloney for B McCormack (48), Cathal Ó Dualachain for D Henderson (59), Daire Lohan for C Lohan (63), Peter Kiely for L Maloney (63).
GLEENALY: Cian Staunton; Ronan Manley, Danny Staunton, Joey Driver KJnr; Gary Byrne, Warren Kavanagh, Paul O’Brien; Leighton Glynn, Jonathon O’Neill Snr; Gavin Weir, Matthew Traynor, Thomas Doyle; Gary Hughes, Alan Driver, Jonathon O’Neill Jnr. Subs: Sam O’Dowd for T Doyle (H/T), Wayne O’Gorman for M Traynor (52), Robert Byrne for G Weir (54).
REFEREE: Ciaran Fleming (Baltinglass)
Bray Emmets players celebrate after winning the Senior hurling title and stopping Glenealy’s three-in-a-row bid.
Paudi Reidy of Lightning Protection Ireland presents the cup to Bray Emmets captain Marc Lennon with Wicklow County Chairman Martin Fitzgerald and Paudi’s two daughters.
Garrett, Marian, Daire, Brendan, Angela, John, John Snr, Carmel and Gavin Henderson celebrating Bray’s magnificent win.
Pure joy for these Bray Emmets hurlers after they had clinched the Senior hurling crown for 2019.
Brenda Maloney with Dara, Luke, David and Sean.