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Saturday 23 September 2017

Eoin delivers epic winner!

Brendan Lawrence

"Oh Jaysus," was the audible reaction when Enda Bowes' late free kick for Dunlavin left the centre-half forward's boot in the general direction of outer space.

Bray Emmets 1-08 Dunlavin 1-09

In fairness to Bowes, when the ball eventually returns to Earth it is not a terrible distance from the Bray goals but the chance for a late winner for the travelling Dunlavin side seems to have been lost with the errant free kick.

But wait. Dunlavin substitute Fionn Deegan gets a fist to the ball and breaks it down where it's gathered by Bray's Andrew Reynolds. He gives it to Conor O'Doherty who puts his left boot to ball and sends what looks to be a risky pass over the head of Cathal McGee who also has Alan O'Sullivan for company.

Both men race for possession down towards the sideline but O'Sullivan makes an absolute nuisance of himself and he forces McGee over the line and Dunlavin have a sideline kick with only seconds remaining, surely.

Eoin Murtagh looks for the ball. He's hungry for action, has been all through the game. As solid and reliable an operator as you're ever likely to meet.

He looks up the field. Nothing stirring. He turns and fires off a nice little pass to the brother, Paul.

Paul has had a good game despite taking a knock or two and he feeds Daniel Dawson who is in a bit of space but still way out from the Bray goal. The clock is ticking.

On comes Dawson, back towards the sideline on the dressing room side in Old Conna. There's Alan O'Sullivan.

Dawson handpasses to the half-back. Murtagh is looking at the two of them and posibly saying to himself, "Give me the ball, lads, and stop acting the maggot".

O'Sullivan reads his mind and slips him a neat little pass and away goes Murtagh like a young hare with not a care in the world except for the five hefty Bray defenders charging down on him from every direction.

He slips in between Cathal McGee and Conor O'Doherty like a hot Dunlavin knife through north Wicklow butter and he's gone, four (maybe five) steps later and he's swinging that pure lump of west Wicklow muscle of a leg and that ball is going over that black spot whether it damn well wants to or not.

Thomas Harney turns to the gathering of Dunlavin supporters behind the fence and with clenched fists the fiery ball of footballing energy shows them exactly what that point means to this team even at this early stage of the Arklow Bay Hotel Football League Division 1 campaign.

Paul O'Keeffe takes the kickout and Dunlavin win possession and a few passes later the final whistle sounds and victory is theirs and deservedly so when all things are considered.

Bray, obviously, will look to the fact that they are shorn of a number of starters for various reasons such as county hurling and travelling as to the cause of this defeat but they were also guilty of wayward shooting of their own.

Dunlavin started the brighter and led by 0-02 to no score thanks to points from Enda Bowes and Thomas Davis, two frees, before Bray got off the mark through a Cathal McGee point after god work from Marc Lennon.

A foul on Enda Bowes resulted in a Dunlavin penalty and Gary Allen dispatched the kick with aplomb to give the visitors a superb boost in their opening game in the top flight.

Bray upped their game and were soon level through a Niall Gaffney point off his left and a Marc Lennon goal from close range as the Bray men started to boss the encounter with 14 minutes on the clock.

A fantastic run from Niall McGraynor and nice interplay with Cathal McGee allowed the corner-forward to lash over a lovely score and they hit a purple patch but couldn't convert some decent chances with McGraynor and Lennon both going wide.

Dunlavin had chances themselves at this stage but they missed through Thomas Davis and Gary Allen after excellent work from Paul Murtagh.

Allen and Carty combined shortly afterwards and Carty fired over a screamer with 22 minutes gone and the sides were level again and then Carty turned provider for Allen and Dunlavin were back in front at 1-04 to 1-03 with 24 gone.

Two minutes later Dunlavin pushed their lead out to two but a free from Des Kelly left the score at 1-05 to 1-04 at the break with Bray suffering a black card aftera Johnny Kinch foul on Harry Coleborn.

The second half was 11 minutes old when Enda Bowes lobbed over a free for the opening score of the second period. Des Kelly went side at the other end but he recovered well to fire over after McGraynor had been fouled by James Sinnott and then he was on hand to split the posts when Sinnott transgressed against Marc Lennon and the sides were tied a 1-06 apiece.

Dunlavin looked to be in all sorts of trouble when a Shane Carty hospital pass to Enda Bowes resulted in Bray turning over possession and taking the lead through a nice point.

Bray could taste blood at this stage and Des Kelly pointed a free to push them out to two points ahead after 27 minutes of action.

Could Dunlavin find a way back? Could they what. Gary Allen began the recovery with lovely effort. Carty made up for that hospital pass with his sublime effort off the right from distance and then Murtagh rampaged his way into the Bray defence and walloped over a beauty for the winner.

Dunlavin fully deserved this win. They're a team who have huge potential. To see them deliver on that would be a wonderful thing.

Bray will recover. They'll get stronger. They had good performers in Ishmael Mensa at full-back, Niall Gaffney and Marc Lennon.

Scorers - Bray Emmets: Des Kelly 0-04 (4f); Marc Lennon 1-00; Cathal McGee 0-01; Niall Gaffney 0-01, Niall McGraynor 0-01; Ronan Cunningham 0-01.

Dunlavin: Gary Allen 1-02 (p); Shane Carty 0-03; Eoin Murtagh 0-01; Thomas Davis 0-01; Enda Bowes 0-01.

Bray Emmets: Paul O'Keeffe; Shane Lohan, Ishmael Mensa, Mark Linehan; Dylan Terry, Ben McCormack, Conor O'Doherty; Niall Gaffney; Liam Benville; Des Kelly, Johnny Kinch, Cathal McGee; Oisin O hAnnaidh, Marc Lennon, Niall McGraynor. Subs: Andrew Reynolds for L Benville.

Dunlavin: Scott Phelan; Padraig Carmody, Louis Caplis, Harry Coleborn; Alan O'Sullivan, Daniel Dawson, James Sinnott; Paul Murtagh, Eoin Murtagh; Shane Carty, Enda Bowes, Gary Allen; Brian Nolan, Thomas Davis, Marty Caplis. Subs: Mark Quigley, Niall Faherty, Fionn Deegan.

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