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Doyle delivers as Rathnew shake off Knockananna in Wicklow Junior A football championship


Knockananna's Cathal Sheehan goes past Rathnew's John Manley and Ronan Doyle.

Knockananna's Cathal Sheehan goes past Rathnew's John Manley and Ronan Doyle.

Knockananna's Cathal Sheehan goes past Rathnew's John Manley and Ronan Doyle.


Rathnew 3-19 Knockananna 4-8

After extra-time

For the second week in a row, it was Pearse’s Park in Arklow that witnessed another Junior game that went to extra time as Rathnew prevailed against Knockananna in the early game Sunday morning.

It was Rathnew who started this game stronger as they tried to play quick direct ball into their full forward line. This game plan proved beneficial as they fired over the opening two points of the game from the boots of Jonah Graham and Mark Doyle.

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Rathnew looked like they could pull away but then against the run of play their opponents drove a long ball down the field. Joe Byrne gathered the ball before firing into the net to give his side a lead. Doyle levelled from play minutes later, as both teams were benefiting from long balls into the forward line.

Knockananna full-forward Tristan Maher was starting to get his hands on the ball and this resulted in him tapping over to give his side a lead again. The villagers’ response was quick as Jensen O’Connor drove up from wing back to level the tie before Jordan Graham gave his side the lead.

Knockananna were goal hungry, getting two in the space of as many minutes as midfielder Jonathan Wybrant fired into the net. Minutes later they won a penalty. Stephen Hinchy stepped up, but his penalty was well saved by Peter Dignam. Hinchy made no mistake with the rebound to give his side a five-point lead.

With the game starting to heat up as a contest, Knockananna midfielder Wybrant was given his marching orders for an off the ball incident. As the game entered the final few minutes before the break both sides fired over two points each. Doyle and Jordan Graham fired over frees with Hinchy slotting a dead ball and an effort from play just on the stroke of half-time. This left five points between the sides at the break.

With the aid of the extra man Rathnew started to push forward and made serious inroads into the scoreline. Within ten minutes they had narrowed the gap to the minimum as they scored four points in a row with the two Grahams getting one each and Doyle getting the other two.

Knockananna were finding it difficult to trouble the scoreboard this was until centre-back Cathal Sheehan drove forward to extend his side’s lead with a well-taken score. Both sides were finding scores harder to come by as the half went on, this was until Aaron Neill put a goal between the sides again.

Rathnew were now starting to empty their bench and it was substitute Graham Merrigan who narrowed the gap almost immediately. The opposition’s final score of normal time came from a dead ball from Kevin Kennedy.

This goal lead looked like it would be enough as Rathnew didn’t look like troubling the net. With two minutes to go another scuffle broke out ending up in Jonah Graham receiving a red card for striking an opponent. With the final play of the game Doyle managed to get his fist to a high dropping ball to level the tie with a goal sending the tie to extra-time.

This wasn’t the end of the drama as cards were being dished out all game it was missed in the Graham melee that the Village’s centre-forward Stuart Murphy had received his second yellow card but had stayed on the pitch.

This was eventually realised before extra-time, even though both sides still got to restart with fifteen men Murphy wasn’t allowed back on. Having more numbers on the bench was a benefit to the Village as they started to gain control of the game with three points in a row.

Graham opened the scoring in the half before Merrigan and Doyle added to the tally. Kennedy replied with a solitary deal ball. The final score of the half was from the ever-dangerous Doyle, who fired into the net as his side were starting to push ahead.

The second half was much more the same from the villagers as Merrigan pointed before Doyle finished his hat-trick with another goal.

Sheehan finished his goal frenzy, drilling the ball into the corner from a twenty-yard free. The aforementioned Doyle and Merrigan finished their scoring with a free and an effort from play. Anthony Tracey came off the bench to narrow the gap again for Knockananna.

The final score of the game came from the boot of Rathnew midfielder Darragh Hosey.

Rathnew: Peter Dignam; Paddy Keogh, Chris Healy, Fionn O’ Sullivan; Jensen O’Connor (0-1), John Manley, Killian Clarke; John Healy, Darragh Hosey (0-1); Toby Curran, Stuart Murphy, Ronan Doyle; Jonah Graham (0-2), Jordan Graham (0-4, 2 frees), Mark Doyle (3-7, 2 frees, 1 mark). Subs: Dean Breen for Killian Clarke, Graham Merrigan (0-4) for Chris Healy, Euan Culbert for Jonson O’ Connor.

Knockananna: Thomas Whelan; Patrick O’ Keefe, Garry Bradley, Ciaran Mooney; Sean Mooney, Cathal Sheehan, (1-1, 1 free) Padraig Lancaster; Jonathan Wybrant (1-0), Aaron Neill (0-1); Kevin Kennedy (0-2, 2 frees), Brian Leonard, Stephen Hinchy (1-2, 1 pen, 1 free); Joe Byrne (1-0), Tristan Maher, (0-1) Joseph Kelly. Subs: Kevin Tyrell for Joe Byrne,Anthony Tracy (0-1) for Sean Mooney.

Referee: Max Molloy (Annacurra).