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Monday 16 September 2019

Emmets battle like demons to hold off Greystones fightback

Bray Emmets 1-12 Éiré Óg 0-14

Liam O'Loughlin at Aughrim

This local derby in the Lightning Protection Senior Football Championship between Bray Emmets and Éire Óg played at Aughrim on Saturday evening last, August, was played at a tepid temperature for 50 minutes or more.

However, in the final ten minutes the game built up to championship atmosphere as Éire Óg fought back strongly in an attempt to rescue a badly needed match point from a game in which they had struggled to stay alive for much of the second half.

The last few minutes finished in a welter of excitement as Bray Emmets, with their backs to the wall, fought to hold on to a one-point lead.

However, the game began in a much more low-key fashion. The Greystones men got much the better start and had four points on the board by ten minutes through scores from Dave Rooney (free), two good scores from Craig Smullen and another from Gavin O'Shea.

Éire Óg were playing with the aid of a strong breeze blowing into the town goal and looked like they intended to take total advantage.

Bray Emmets were very sluggish at this stage and didn't help their cause with a couple of bad wides. However, a well put together passing movement involving Cathal McGee and Marc Lennon put John Henderson clear in front of goal and the centre forward finished clinically scoring the game's only goal.

However, this was only a temporary reprieve as Daniel Keane and Dave Rooney responded with two more Éire Óg points to leave them comfortably ahead by 0-6 to 1-0 as the quarter hour mark was clocked up.

Bray Emmets began to get more into the game from here to half time with Des Kelly, John Henderson, Niall McGraynor and Marc Lennon getting on more ball. McGraynor pointed a free and then, at the 20-minute stage, the Bray men had a glorious chance to go ahead when they were awarded a penalty. However, Des Kelly's ciotóg shot struck the post and the chance was gone.

In the ensuing play Niall McGraynor pointed a free. Bray Emmets had the better of the final ten minutes of the half but continued to be guilty of some bad wides. Daniel Keane stretched the Éire Óg lead back to two points again but Bray Emmets found their shooting boots to score points from Des Kelly (free), Shane Lohan and Kelly again to leave the Bray men leading by 1-5 to 0-7 at the break with Éire Óg likely to face a batlle against the breeze..

The first ten minutes of the second half seemed to confirm this view as Des Kelly pointed three frees and Ben Kearney had a point from play to push the Emmets five points out in front.

The excellent Dave Rooney, who had a fine game all through, responded with the Greystones men's first point of the half after 12 minutes but a long clearance from goalkeeper Paul O'Keeffe, put Niall McGraynor in the clear and he promptly restored the five-point advantage. Anto Byrne had entered the fray as an Éire Óg substitute at this stage and he was unfortunate that a punched effort from the edge of the square came back off the crossbar into play. However, this seemed to spur his colleagues into action, and they began to come much more strongly at Bray. Darren Hayden, quiet enough up to now, pointed a free at the three-quarter stage. Dave Rooney added another point and the lead was now down to a goal at 1-10 to 0-10.

The tempo of the game was now up to championship level and Bray knew they had a battle on their hands. There was no score for eight minutes as both sides battled for supremacy. A Des Kelly pointed free eased Bray worries as they went four ahead again.

But Éire Óg were now fighting to save the game. Darren Hayden pointed a free and Daniel Keane added another to reduce the gap to two. Paul Cunningham, long missing from Bray Emmets' line ups, was on the field at this stage.

With three minutes left of normal time left, Cunningham restored the goal advantage with a majestic point scored off the outside of his right boot. Éire Óg refused to die. Dave Rooney pointed a free with the referee indicating four minutes in total left at that stage.

Darren Hayden pointed another free as the game was about to enter the two-minute period of time added. No further score ensued until Des Kelly lined up to take what seemed a comfortable free for him with the two-minute period almost elapsed.

However, the free dropped into Conor Browne's hands in goal and Éire Óg came motoring back up field. Bray substitute Cian Lohan stopped the attack with a tackle around 50 metres from the Bray goal.

Immediately hostilities broke out with the referee taking a minute or so to restore order. Dave Rooney and Paul O'Keeffe received red cards, Cian Lohan got a black card and an Éire Óg sideline invader had his details noted by the referee who restarted with a throw in and then blew for full-time.

Éire Óg had lost their free and gone was their possible chance of a draw. Full-time score was Bray Emmets 1-12, Éire Óg, Greystones 0-14.

Scorers - Bray Emmets: John Henderson 1-0, Niall McGraynor 0-3, Des Kelly 0-6, Shane Lohan 0-1, Ben Kearney 0-1, Paul Cunningham 0-1. Éire Óg: David Rooney 0-5, Darren Hayden 0-3, Daniel Keane 0-3, Craig Smullen 0-2, Gavin O'Shea 0-1.

Bray Emmets: Paul O'Keeffe; Phil Haughton, Dara Lohan, Ciaran McKay; Shane Lohan, Ben Kearney, Conor O'Doherty; Diarmuid Masterson, Des Kelly; Ben McCormack, John Henderson, Dara Rochford; Cathal McGee, Marc Lennon, Niall McGraynor. Subs: Dylan Terry, Cian Lohan for 25, Paul Cunningham, Liam Banville.

Éire Óg: Conor Browne; Liam Maguire, Dara Devine, Conal Deeney; Dara Sheil, Mick Cannon, Fintan O'Shea; Matt Maguire, David Rooney; James Cranley, Darren Hayden, Peter Keane; Daniel Keane, Craig Smullen, Gavin O'Shea. Subs: Anto Byrne, Sean Lawless, James Wood, Shaun Cranley.

Referee: John Keenan

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