Friday 24 November 2017

Emmets let off the hook by Hollywood

Bray Emmets were let off the hook on Saturday as Hollywood wasted a chance to seal a direct path to the second round of the championship.

Instead, it was the spluttering Bray side that advanced but they did so very unconvincingly as they relied on two points in the final two minutes to give them victory.

There were pristine footballing conditions in Ashford but neither side could find a smooth rhythm in a scrappy game that saw them rack up a combined 15 wides over 60 minutes.

Wicklow manager Harry Murphy and his right-hand man Mick Murray will not have been too impressed by what they saw in the sunshine.

Hollywood made the more efficient start and lead until the 50th minute but Emmets eventually rose to the challenge and knocked over some decisive scores to see off the gutsy Hollywood side.

It was a frantic start in Ashford and Hollywood's key man Tony Hannon was unsurprisingly the first name on the scoreboard.

Having been fouled by Luke Benson, Hannon raised the white flag from the resulting free kick.

Emmets still hadn't settled when midfielder Johnny Kinch kicked away a stupid ball in the middle of the park. Hollywood punished the mistake as they raced up the field and Joe Glennon sent a shot between the uprights.

It wasn't until the 12th minute that the Old Connaught side registered their first score when Kinch dispatched a free kick but even at that early stage, it was clear that Bray were guilty of too much fannying about with the ball in the final third.

With Hannon in their ranks, Hollywood knew that any dead-balls could be fruitful. He floated a central 45' over the bar in the 17th minute before Emmets hit back when Niall Gaffney opted for a point when bearing down on goal three minutes later.

Hannon, who actually had a below-par performance, used quick thinking to find Thomas Burke from a free kick wide on the left and the corner forward turned and bended it over to make it a two point game – moments before Hannon would land his second 45' to hand Hollywood a three point advantage at the interval.

It should have been so much more though. Hannon raced clear of the Emmets defence on 31 minutes but with the crowd rising to their feet in expectation, the centre-half forward drilled wide of Paul O'Keeffe's goal.

An off-the-ball challenge on Bray's Mark Linehan on the half time whistle caused tensions to rise but something else that clearly needed to rise was Bray's performance level.

The management agreed and they threw on three new faces – Conor Flannery, John Henderson and Sean O'Neill – for the second half.

Henderson would have a big impact as the Wicklow hurling star repeatedly dropped into space in the half forward line. Right-half forward Des Kelly pointed Bray to within two points in the second minute of the second period.

A Kinch free kick made the arrears a single point and then Wicklow's brilliantly bearded corner back Arran Murphy picked up a stray Hollywood pass before angling over a point from wide on the right to tie things up.

Hollywood almost bounced back in emphatic fashion when Eoin Burke found Hannon in behind but once again, Hannon's radar was off as he scandalously drilled wide.

Emmets' main positive was there dominance from kick-outs. Time and again they'd claim them and with 10 minutes left on the clock, they won another one and worked it to Kinch, whose one and only point from play nudged Bray ahead for the first time.

Hollywood must have been cursing their luck as two goal chances eluded them in the 54th and 55th minutes.

Hannon assisted Thomas Kelly but his shot was parried by O'Keeffe into Hannon's path, who scooped it over to level.

Then, Conor Burke, Kelly and Stephen Kearney linked to send Thomas Burke through. He beat O'Keeffe only to see his effort crash back off the post and then the rebound was fired wide.

And with that, it seemed inevitable that Bray Emmets would muster something in the final few minutes and they did.

While Hollywood were incensed at a late hit on Niall Clarke, Emmets continued and took the lead through Marc Lennon.

And then Niall Gaffney confirmed his side's place in the second round as his 61st minute finally killed off Hollywood.

Bray Emmets scorers: Johnny Kinch 0-3 (2F's); Niall Gaffney 0-2, Des Kelly 0-1, Arran Murphy 0-1, Marc Lennon 0-1.

Hollywood scorers: Tony Hannon 0-4 (1F, 2 45's), Joe Glennon 0-1, Thomas Burke 0-1.

Bray People

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