Bray hold out for vital draw
Bray Emmets 1-08 Tinahely 1-08
Bray Emmets survived a final quarter comeback from Tinahely to get the most valuable of draws to ensure Senior status for 2018.
With the result came the bonus of a place in the Keating Trophy versus Annacurra next weekend.
The Northern side settled the quickest here with a score in the opening minute from Cathal McGee and doubled their lead on five minutes through Gavin Dowling.
Tinahely's opening score came from the boot of a Tony Darcy free and his side were trying to find a gap in the Bray defence with John Henderson employed in an extremely effective sweeper role.
A point from McGee on eight minutes came from a turnover in the Bray full-back line and a quick counter-attack brought a fine score.
A quick side-line towards Stephen Dillon almost created a goal chance for Tinahely but his effort was blocked and out for a 45 which resulted in a score at the second attempt for Alan Nolan who was creating a bit of space with clever movement in a tight area.
Bray almost had a goal for themselves only for Niall Byrne's reactions in the Tinahely goal with Byrne thwarting McGee after sterling work from Ben McCormack but moments later, he was powerless to prevent Niall Gaffney firing home after a neat lay off from Rory Breslin.
They almost were in for a third goal chance in as many minutes, moments later but the threat was dealt with by Gavin Kenny.
McCormack opened a five point gap on the 20th minute with a deserved score for his efforts before Tinahely responded with points from Alan Dillon and Jason Cush.
Niall McGraynor was introduced at this period and his first involvement was to point a free and be fouled for a second free converted by Des Kelly.
A pin-point ball into Alan Nolan at the end of the half almost created a goal chance but the Bray defence survived and were adjudged not to have been fouling and the danger passed.
Trailing by five at the interval, Tinahely needed a quick start and got exactly that with a free from Tony Darcy to open the second half.
Shane Lohan responded for Bray to ensure the complete half back line scored before Niall McGraynor concluded his sides scoring in the 11th minute.
Tinahely were needing a miracle with the gap out to six and got a bit of luck they deserved when a shot deflected off the upright into the path of Jason Cush who fired home the rebound.
Willie Quaile scored from a quick Tinahely free and Tony Darcy brought the gap to a minimum with ten to go.
Bray had defended well up to this point but it was all Tinahely now. At the other end, Tinahely were fighting for every ball and turned over a large amount of possession to start their attacks.
Tony Darcy levelled matters with five minutes to go but Tinahely would need a goal or three further points to survive the drop.
In a frantic last five minutes, they did look like the team that would win the game with Bray's attacks dropping short into the goalkeeper's hands or being turned over but the Bray defence could not be penetrated and they survive to tell the tale.
Bray EMMETS: Stephen Carton, Mark Linehan, Conn Bennville, Luke Maloney, Shane Lohan (0-1), Des Kelly (0-1, free), Ben McCormack (0-1), Gavin Dowling (0-1), Rory Breslin, Niall Gaffney (1-0), Marc Lennon, Diarmuid Masterson, John Henderson, Cathal McGee (0-2), Conor Flannery. Subs: Niall McGraynor (0-2, 1 free) for Flannery, Peter Walsh for Lohan, Adam Dixon for McGee, Flannery for McGee.
Tinahely: Niall Byrne, Laurence Keating, Gavin Kenny, James Tyrrell, Curtis Keating, Conor Hatton, John Blake, Brian Walsh, Rory Stokes, Alan Dillon (0-1), Stephen Dillon, Jamie Cullen, Tony Darcy (0-4, frees), Alan Nolan (0-1), Jason Cush (1-1) Subs: Niall Gorman for S Dillon, Willie Quaile (0-1) for Cullen, Ray McGlynn for Nolan.
Referee: John O'Brien.