Wonderful win for Bray!
GAA: Bray Emmets 4-17 Michael Dwyers 3-08
A stunning last 15 minutes from Bray Emmets secured the under-17 A hurling crown for the north Wicklow lads and quashed an excellent challenge from a gallant Michael Dwyers outfit at Joule Park, Aughrim, on Sunday last.
With 12 minutes gone in the second half, Michael Dwyers led by 3-08 to 3-07 after some amazingly open and energetic hurling that had provided six goals, five in the opening half as both teams went at it with abandon.
But then the game turned. Bray Emmets, with the strong wind at their backs, began to really dominate proceedings, with centre-half David Maloney in particular coming to the fore. Within 18 minutes the game was over as a contest as the Bray lads drove mercilessly at the Dwyers goal, recording points from Macdara Ó Midheach (four frees and a 65), Ciarán McKay, Andrew Conway, David Maloney, Joe Phelan and their fourth goal, scored by Rory Lambe. It was a serious display that was made possible by tiring Michael Dwyers legs and some fine hurling.
The opening half was a blitz. You couldn't take your eyes off the game for fear of missing a goal or a fine point. Talk before the game was of Bray Emmets walking to a county title. Well, whoever came up with that theory certainly didn't tell the Michael Dwyers lads. Or maybe they did and the insult helped stir the passion in the west men because they started this game like a train and but for some defensive errors could have had a healthy lead at the break.
The outstanding Conall Byrne opened the scoring with the first of his seven-point haul after a foul on Tom Moran. David Williamson fired wide immediately afterwards as Bray struggled to cope with the energy of the Dwyers men in the opening flurries.
But Bray were obviously going to settle and some poor defending at the back allowed Cian Lohan power towards goal and blast home past Meithéal Cleary in the Dwyers goal for a massive boost for the Bray men.
But Dwyers took it in their stride and a loose backwards pass from Bray around the middle coughed up possession and allowed Kevin Quinn the chance to fire a ball in on top of Tom Moran and Daniel Troy.
The high ball was batted down by Bray's full-back Sid Hunt but only front of Daniel Troy and the Kiltegan man lashed out with a lovely groundstroke and drove the ball home past goalkeeper Ben Gorman.
Conall Byrne added a free to make it 1-02 to 1-00 for Dwyers but back came Bray again and some lovely hurling in tight confines by Andrew Conway allowed him the chance to fire home to the back of the net from a tight angle.
But Dwyers hit a mini purple patch with points from Conall Byrne and Tom Moran before Daniel Troy grabbed his second major of the game with 14 minutes gone to make it 2-04 to 2-00.
Bray were looking as though they might only trouble the goal side of the score board at this stage as they cut through the Dwyers with worrying ease and they should have added a third goal but Andrew O'Brien lashed over the bar for a fine score.
A monster point from half-way by Conall Byrne kept the momentum with Dwyers with 19 minutes gone but by the 23rd minute Bray had taken a one-point lead thanks to points from David Maloney and Mara Midheach and a fine goal from Cian Lohan after a sweet ball from David Maloney, 3-03 to 2-05.
Dwyers can thank Meithéal Cleary for them not falling further behind when he produced a fine save from a point-blank shot.
Cian Lohan curled over a wicked point but Dwyers finished the half strongly with two converted frees from Conall Byrne to leave it 2-07 to 3-04 at the break.
When Daniel Troy bagged his hat-trick shortly after the restart, things were looking sweet for the west lads at 307 to 3-04 but then Bray started to take control around the middle and they reduced the Dwyers lead to 3-08 to 3-07 before Bray put the foot down and powered home to victory.
Scorers - Bray Emmets: Macdara Ó Midheach0-08 (6f, 2 65), Cian Lohan 2-01, Darragh Rochford 1-01, David Maloney 0-03, Andrew Conway 1-01, Andrew O'Brien 0-1, Ciarán McKay 0-01, Joe Phelan 0-01.
Michael Dwyers: Conall Byrne 0-07 (7f), Daniel Troy 3-00, Tom Moran 0-01.
Bray Emmets: Ben Gorman; Donnchadh Griffin, Sid Hunt, Sean McDonnagh; James Anders, Ben Kearney, Andrew O'Brien; Ronan McMahon, Joe Phelan; Ciarán McKay, David Maloney, Darragh Rochford; Macdara Ó Midheach, Cian Lohan, Andrew Conway. Subs: Rory Lambe for A O'Brien (H/T), Sam Kearney for J Anders (H/T), Tony Jackson for D Griffin (56min), 28 for 12 (57min), David Kennedy for C Lohan (61min).
Michael Dwyers: Meithéal Cleary; Zach Deering, Niall Gartland, Óisin Brogan; Brandan Ryan, Mark Reid, Colm Keogh; Eoin Higgins, Conall Byrne; Kevin Quinn, Rory Phelan, David Williamson; Jack Grace, Tom Moran, Daniel Troy. Subs: Darren Bermingham for O Brogan, Brian Keogh for J Grace (40min), Bradden Waters for K Quinn (58min), Jack Grace for Z Deering.
Referee: Ciaran Manley (Glenealy)