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Monday 22 July 2019

Avondale are 1A champions

Division 1A County Football League: Avondale 1-8 Carnew Emmets 0-8

The Avondale footballers after they were presented with the SFL Division 1A cup
The Avondale footballers after they were presented with the SFL Division 1A cup

Liam O'Loughlin at Avondale GAA Club

Avondale and Carnew Emmets served up a hard fought and tight Division 1A county football league encounter at Avondale on Friday last, June 7.

The home side came into the game with the League title sewn up but the Carnew men, battling to avoid relegation, needed all the points they could get. They were less than pleased when word came through that the Newtown versus Kilmacanogue encounter, due to be played at the same time, was off due to bereavement.

When referee Darragh Byrne got proceedings under way at 8pm, we were treated to a game of cat and mouse for the first 20 minutes.

Both defences set themselves up in such a way that it was very difficult for either set of forwards to get clear shots on goal.

There was very little foot passing or kicking forward to attackers as both sides persisted in a close-passing running game carrying the ball forward and usually coming up against a wall of defenders.

The Avondale half-back line of Aonghus O Bhriain, Eoin Baker and Eugene Dunne were getting forward in support of their midfield and half forwards but many moves were breaking down because of the tight marking and congestion inside their opponents' '45' metre line.

Likewise the Carnew half line of Niall Osborne, Adrian Myers and Mark Collins, and even their corner backs Mick Rock and Drew Brennan, were getting forward and getting on a lot of ball.

Centre forward Conal McCrea enjoyed a lot of possession but, like their opponents, the going got tougher inside the '45'. Scores were scarce and slow to come. Cillian Gilligan got Carnew on the scoreboard with a pointed free after four minutes but Avondale wing back Eugene Dunne levelled matters one minutes later.

Carnew were wide with a couple of other frees and both sides were guilty of wides from play and shots dropped short into the goalkeepers' hands.

Carnew's Diarmuid Doran was glad of his height when he reacted well to an overhead flick in front of goal to keep out a goal chance. Conor Byrne put the home side ahead with a 13th minute point. It took another eight minutes for Enda Donohoe to level matters again.

With more than 20 minutes gone, the score stood level at 0-2 apiece - which gives some idea of how tight defences were in front of goal. Avondale were awarded a penalty after 23 minutes when Conor Byrne was taken down when he was getting through on goal.

He expertly dispatched the kick himself and added a point before half time. Cillian Gilligan from a free and Jack Doyle had two Emmets points before the break to leave the home side ahead by 1-3 to 0-4 at half time.

Avondale got off to a bright start in the second period and Ross Ward had two points up on the board in the opening two minutes, one from a free.

The Avondale goal had a narrow shave in the fourth minute when the pacey Cillian Gilligan had a goal attempt saved at the expense of a '45', which was pointed by Enda Donohoe. Carnew went through a period of sustained pressure on the Avondale defence but were guilty of some bad wides. Jack Doyle pointed on 12 minutes and when Cillian Gilligan had another point from play after 18 minutes, the lead was now back to the minimum.

Avondale had lost Dean Gahan to a black card at this stage and he was replaced by Shane Beever.

Avondale shook themselves and Mark Baker brought a 17-minute barren period without a score to an end when he pointed in the 19th minute.

Enda Donohoe brought the gap back to the minimum again when he pointed a free. Carnew were again guilty of a few bad wides at this stage as Avondale, with Barry Sheehan pulling the strings, played a bit of 'keep ball' to run down the clock.

David Baker had a fine point off of his left foot and Ross Ward had the final point of the game two minutes into the time added period.

The final score was Avondale 1-8, Carnew Emmets 0-8.

County Chairman, Martin Fitzgerald, was on hand after the game to present Corn na Sagart to Avondale captain Ian McDonald, who received the trophy for his side as winners of Division 1A of the county football Leagues.

For Carnew, the battle to avoid relegation will continue.

Scorers - Avondale: Conor Byrne 1-2, Ross Ward 0-3, Eugene Dunne 0-1, Mark Baker 0-1, David Baker 0-1. Carnew Emmets: Cillian Gilligan 0-3, Enda Donohoe 0-3, Jack Doyle 0-2.

Avondale: Brian Burke; Ian Kinsella, Shane Byrne, Paddy Kinsella; Aonghus O Bhriain, Eoin Baker, Eugene Dunne; Barry Sheehan, Ian McDonald; Dean Gahan, David Baker, Mark Baker; Zach Cullen, Conor Byrne, Ross Ward. Subs: Shane Beever, Callum Pursey, Conor Sheehan, Simon Cullen.

Carnew Emmets: Diarmuid Doran; Michael Rock, Andrew Hughes, Drew Brennan; Niall Osborne, Adrian Myers, Mark Collins; John Doyle, Padraig Doran; Joseph Hughes, Conal McCrea, Jack Doyle; Cillian Gilligan, Enda Donohoe, Nick Skelton. Sub: Timmy Collins.

Referee: Darragh Byrne (Ballymanus).

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