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Lennon’s last-minute kick does the trick for Bray Emmets

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Bray Emmets defeated Coolkenno last weekend.

Bray Emmets defeated Coolkenno last weekend.

Bray Emmets defeated Coolkenno last weekend.

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Bray Emmets 1-11

Coolkenno 1-10

MARC LENNON’S last-minute kick did the trick as Bray Emmets came from six points down to snatch a win over Coolkenno in Division 1A.

The home side were 1-9 to 1-3 down at half-time, as a rather tepid performance saw them unable to break down a stubborn Coolkenno defensive rearguard, while the lively Pauric Murray, Eamonn Rossiter, and Liam O’Neill were causing all sorts of problems on the counter-attack.

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A brilliant start from the visitors saw them race into an 0-4 to 0-0 lead early on through the feet of Pauric Murray (20), Conor Doyle, and Liam O’Neill. Three of those first four came from turnovers, as Bray struggled to breakdown their opposition’s low block.

Indeed, in that same timeframe, Bray only mustered two shots, such was Coolkenno’s resolve.

Naturally, with 11 minutes on the board, they finally broke the visitors down to fire the first major across the bow. After Coolkenno were turned over in Bray’s half, the home side countered.

Marc Lennon got the ball and stepped in off the left, leaving space for Dara Ó hAinnaidh on the outside. The wing-forward duly played a give and go with the wing-back, before popping it off to Cian Lohan in the inside left channel.

Lohan did the rest, with an assured finish into the bottom corner.

Bray took the lead for the first time through scores from Rory Breslin and Cathal McGee, but Coolkenno came roaring back. Another Murray free, a sumptuous O’Neill score from the 45 line, and a similarly clinical Murray goal on the spin had them three points in front.

That was extended to six points by the time the game had reached its half-time interval. Murray – who fired over a goalscoring chance after Coolkenno had claimed a Bray kick-out – and Eamonn Rossiter (2) put them into a great position at the break, completing a terrific turnaround after the earlier goal.

Bray, on the other hand, failed to kick on from that major. While they were soundly set up when off the ball to allow for swift counter attacks off of turnovers, when they reached the opposition 45, it tended to slow down, and they lacked that incision and movement in the inside forward line to take advantage of the breaks.

The difference in the second half was stark. Bray were significantly more direct and urgent with ball in hand, and the benefits followed. They were more aggressive in midfield, had more desire off the breaking ball, and their shot selection was much better than it was in the first half.

The two-goal deficit was reduced to a one-goal gap thanks to scores from Cian Lohan, Paul Cunningham, and the increasingly influential Marc Lennon, coming from a deceptively tantalising cross-field pass from Jack Treacy.

Subsequent scores from Lennon and Cunningham had them to within one point of Coolkenno by the time the visitors got their first and only score of the second half; a fine score from Liam O’Neill despite the incessant attention from Lennon.

It was a score they needed to settle themselves down but, much like Bray Emmets after they scored their first-half goal, they were unable to kick on. Liam O’Neill sent a free wide and another shot into the arms of Paul O’Keeffe, while they put another effort wide.

Deep into the final ten minutes, Bray should have made Coolkenno pay for these misses in a major way. A kick down the right-hand side found Cunningham, who was brought down for a free. Tadhg Dorman – brought on for the injured Mark Cullen in the first half – showed the awareness to take the free quickly to Cian Lohan in front of goal. His shot, however, blazed over the bar.

The tension was increasing, and very nearly boiled over when Marc Lennon and Liam O’Neill – two of the principal contributors in the game – came together off the ball. Pauric Murray then got involved by shoving Lennon.

Referee John Keenan booked all three men involved in the schmozzle, but naturally, emotions were still running high. Perhaps this is why O’Neill carried the ball out of defence with vigour and explosiveness. However, when he slipped and attempted to regather the ball, he was adjudged as having handled it on the ground.

Up stepped Paul Cunningham, who put it between the posts to bring the sides level once again with hardly any time left to go.

The momentum was in Bray’s favour, but they set the stage for a tense finale with a string of misses. Twice they turned over Coolkenno kickouts late on, but twice they put the resulting shot wide of the upright.

It was third time lucky, however, when the game ticked into additional time, as Arran Murphy broke a Coolkenno’s kickout and instigated a move, ending with Marc Lennon putting the ball between the posts.

Bray Emmets: Paul O’Keeffe, Finian Greene, Jack Treacy, Cathal Ó Duilleachain; Eoin McCormack, Shane Lohan, Dara Ó hAnnaidh; Rory Breslin (0-1), Mark Cullen; Marc Lennon (0-3), Arran Murphy, Cathal McGee (0-1); Cian Lohan (1-3), Paul Cunningham (0-3f), Robert Walsh. Subs: Tadhg Dornan for M. Cullen (30+3),

Coolkenno: Damien Gerathy; Patrick Dalton, Robert Keogh, Phillip Timmons; Donal Doyle, Jim Cushe, Liam O’Neill (0-3, 1f); James Gregan, Niall Bailey; John Gregan, Conor Walker, Dan O’Neill; Pauric Murray (1-4, 3f), Conor Doyle (0-1), Eamonn Rossiter (0-2). Subs: Paul Murphy for D. Doyle (37), Cathal Rossiter for P. Murphy (42), Cormac Byrne for D. O’Neill (56).

Referee: John Keenan (Aughrim)


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