Donohue leads transformed Carnew to county decider
Dacia Cars SHC semi-final: Carnew Emmets 0-16 Bray Emmets 0-14
Discipline, discipline, discipline. You get the feeling that the Carnew Emmets players heard that word on more than one occasion in the lead in to the Dacia Cars Senior Hurling Championship semi-final against Bray Emmets in Joule Park Aughrim last Sunday.
Why do we get that feeling? Carnew won 19 frees over the course of 60 minutes on Sunday. Bray won nine. Nine frees in a Senior club hurling match. If there was such a thing as a defensive coach within the Carnew ranks, then the man would deserve a serious raise. Chances are the credit must go to James Hickey for not only the discipline element but what can only be described as a stunning transformation of this Carnew side.
A quarter-final exit to Éire Óg last year and a championship defeat to Kiltegan this year suggested that a return to a county final was most certainly not on the cards, but Hickey has shown that he can bring the best out of lads and confidence and belief are coursing through the veins of every single hurler in that camp and nowhere was that more obvious than in the last 20 minutes of this game against Bray.
This is not the Bray team of John Henderson's reign. Let's be fair. That zest and flair and flamboyance are missing across all lines of the pitch as are some key men from that time such as , Mikey Lee, Arran Murphy and Paul Cunningham to name but a few.
But Carnew can only beat what's in front of them and they did that in exciting fashion to book their place in the 2018 county decider against the old foe Glenealy for what promises to be a pure belter of a game.
How did Carnew win this game? There's a number of reasons. The main one is Enda Donohue. A return of 13 points from a total of 16, 11 placed balls. He is vital to Hickey's cause. Carnew will not rack up big scores from open play but they will fight tooth and nail for every ball and they will work themselves to the bone for the cause and that makes them a very difficult team to beat as this season progresses.
The transformation within Carnew can be seen individually in every single player and none more so than Donohue. Confidence is high with the Carnew sharp-shooter at the moment. Deep in the second half of this championship semi-final he sent a free wide of the posts and he was visibly outraged with himself. But rather than let that beat him up inside or diminish his game in any way he grew about a foot and robbed possession back and drove a ball over the black spot to make up for his earlier miss. Impressive stuff.
Throw in the superb John Walshe at full-back, Joe Hughes at corner-forward, Seanie Kinsella at midfield, Aaron Kinsella at corner-back, the captain Wayne Kinsella who is loving his hurling at the moment, and veteran Timmy Collins, all of whom are thriving with ther small ball and you have the ingredients for a formidable outfit.
Another reason for the victory is hunger. Carnew have won a hurling league, gained promotion in football, face Tinahely in the IFC final this Sunday and now take on Garry Laffan's men in the SHC decider.
If you had predicted that at the start of this year when the Mount Leinster Rangers man took over at the helm you would have been laughed at.
But the hunger is there. James Hickey will tell you that the materials were there, the talent, and all that was lacking was belief and a process and a bond. If ever a manager matched a club then James Hickey matches Carnew.
Sunday afternoon was a windy one in Joule Park Aughrim and both semi-finals seemed to be following a similar pattern whereby the team with the wind would build a reasonable lead, 0-10 to 0-6 in the case of Carnew against Bray, before the other team would go on a rampage and romp to victory on the turnaround.
Bray had pulled level by the end of the third quarter but unlike the Glenealy destruction of Pat's in their second half, James Hickey's men were having none of it and they produced a fine last 15 minutes where Enda Donohue did the damage at one end and the Carnew defence held firm at the other.
That 0-10 to 0-6 lead at the break was a fair reflection of that opening half. Enda Donohue would bag eight of those 10 scores, all frees, while Joe Hughes and Seanie Kinsella would add the others in a first half where they bossed their Bray counterparts.
Christy Moorehouse opened Bray's account, but they wouldn't score again until the 17th minute when the sublimely skillful Diarmuid Masterson fired over.
Between the 15th and 20th minutes would be a positive spell for Bray with points from Moorehouse (free) and Tom Cash but Bray were finding it hard to cope with the Carnew men and with Donohue proving relentless from the frees it wasn't long before the 0-10 to 0-6 lead was opened up.
Martin O'Brien had been handed the job of marking Christy Moorehouse who wore 13 but played in the half-forwards. However, with O'Brien's absence from the centre back position being keenly felt, Hickey detailed Andy Hughes to the Bray attacker and returned O'Brien to where he is most comfortable.
Drew Brennan entered the fray for Seanie Kinsella at the start of the second half after the midfielder had picked up a knock early in the first half.
The Bray recovery started in earnest when Damien Byrne threw in the ball and points from the busy Marc Lennon (2), Moorehouse (2, one free), and Tom Cash drew them level with Carnew who could only register a score through the hard-working Jack Doyle.
It was end to end at this stage and two Donohue frees were answered by a Moorehouse free and a Dara Maloney score from play and we were tied at 0-13 apiece with nine to go.
Donohue from play was followed by a Padraig Doyle point but that would be Bray's last score of this game.
Carnew would stand tall for the remainder of the game with Donohue pushing them out to a 0-16 to 0-14 lead and the loss of Marc Lennon to a second yellow and dogged Carnew defending put paid to any hopes of a late Bray revival.
Carnew march on to face Glenealy. It has the makings of a tactical war.
Scorers - Carnew Emmets: Enda Donohue 0-13 (10f, 1 65), Joe Hughes 0-1, Seanie Kinsella 0-1, Jack Doyle 0-1. Bray Emmets: Christy Moorehouse 0-7 (6f), Tom Cash 0-2, Marc Lennon 0-2, Diarmuid Masterson 0-1, Dara Maloney 0-1, Padraig Doyle 0-1.
Carnew Emmets: Ted Kennedy; Aaron Kinsella, John Walshe, Conal McCrea; Willie Collins, Martin O'Brien, Robert Lambert; Wayne Kinsella, Seanie Kinsella; Jack Doyle, Timmy Collins, Enda Donohue; Andy Hughes, Padraig Doran, Joe Hughes. Subs: Bob Fitzgerald, John Doyle, Cormac Doyle, Drew Brennan.
Bray Emmets: Peter O'Reilly; Daire Lohan, Peter Kiely, Ben Kearney; Ben McCormack, John Henderson, Luke Maloney; Dara Maloney, Eoin McCormack; Padraig Doyle, Diarmuid Masterson, Marc Lennon; Christy Moorehouse, Jim Doyle, Tom Cash. Subs: Macdara O Midheach, Cian O'Byrne.
Referee: Damien Byrne (Kiltegan)