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Carnew Emmets 1-12 Bray Emmets 1-9
Carnew's championship hopes are alive and well it would seem after they put Bray Emmets to the sword in a low-scoring but entertaining Dacia Cars Senior Hurling Championship clash in beautiful sunshine in Joule Park Aughrim last Saturday afternoon.
The standard of hurling might have not have been what it could be, but James Hickey's men won't care a jot as they continue to show improvement since their surprise defeat to Kiltegan in the earlier rounds.
Bray Emmets have much to ponder following this display. Key men were noticeably quiet over the course of the hour with their full-forward line returning only two points, both frees. The absence of John Henderson from the defence is being keenly felt and although Padraig Doyle is certainly a presence in the half-back line, the burly attacker would be of much greater benefit further up the field as they look to take on tight or well-populated defences.
The Bray men will also ruminate over umpiring decisions that went against them on the day. The first arrived early in the second half with the game tied at 1-5 apiece. Conor McNally's puck out was plucked from the skies by Christy Moorehouse who turned and rifled a low shot at the Rednagh Hill goal. From the angle of the press box the ball looked to a snuck between the posts in the corner just over the crossbar. However, the shot was waved wide by the umpire despite the protests of Moorehouse and the Bray Emmets sideline.
Immediately after this incident, Diarmuid Masterson had a free which he launched towards the uprights. The angle from the press box was not ideal from this effort but Masterson was adamant that the shot had been successful, but the umpire waved wide.
This was a key phase of the game. Had both those shots been chalked down as scores, Bray Emmets would have led by 1-7 to 1-5.
Hunger and desire were the main components of this win for Carnew. From that dark day against Kiltegan the hurling has improved immensely. In the case of Seanie Kinsella this is especially evident. The midfielder's performance on Saturday was noteworthy for a number of reasons, the main one being that in previous games this season and, indeed, last season, Carnew have looked devoid of ideas at key moments in games, where moves will have broken down and possession robbed. On Saturday, on a number of occasions when the game was in the balance, Kinsella was able to pull off a sweet pass or engineer something to allow James Hickey's men to launch an attack.
Enda Donohue's importance continues, with 1-9 (eight frees) of the total tally of 1-12 credited to the roaming corner-forward. Full-forward Timmy Collins showed that he remains a threat up the field with a three-point return from a very useful shift.
Things were looking bleak for Carnew after six minutes when Bray Emmets wrenched open a 0-4 to 0-0 lead over the Wexford border wide; Eoin McCormack (2), Masterson (free) and Ben McCormack all raising white flags as last year's beaten finalists raced out of the traps.
Carnew had a wide from Timmy Collins for their efforts with Bray seeming to have acres of space to pick out passes.
A long ball from Jack Doyle to Timmy Collins saw the full-forward pick out Enda Donohue who rifled over for Carnew's opening score after eight minutes. Carnew captain Wayne Kinsella won a free with 12 on the clock and Donohue did the needful. Sixty seconds later the game's complexion had changed completely with Carnew starting to hurl. Seanie Kinsella started a move that ended with Timmy Collins putting Donohue through on the Bray goal with a sublime pass and the corner-forward walloped home past Conor McNally.
Padraig Doyle's infleunce on the game was pronounced in the opening half with the county man putting himself about eagerly and thwarting several Carnew attacks. It was the centre half-back who caught a poor Padraig Doran ball after 17 minutes which he redistributed all the way up to Tom Cash who found Eoin McCormack who finished past Ted Kennedy to make it 1-4 to 1-2 for Bray.
That would be Kennedy's last involvement in the game as he departed with what looked to be a groin injury with Bob Fitzgerald taking his place.
Moorehouse and Cash switched corners to try and ignite something for Bray but they were having major trouble negotiating a pathway past Carnew's Martin O'Brien who was being utilised to protect his full-back line.
All was not settled in the Bray formation with a puck out going out harmlessly over the sideline and six wides in the opening half.
Diarmuid Masterson pointed a free after a foul on Ben McCormack by Robert Lambert. Masterson was given two chances with the free after the Carnew player standing in front of the free didn't retreat back far enough for the first effort which trailed wide.
The last say of the first half went to Timmy Collins who split the posts with a fine effort, but the plaudits must go to Seanie Kinsella who robbed possession out the field before picking out the Carnew full-forward with a wicked ball to leave it 1-5 to 1-4 to Bray at the break.
The game was level early on thanks to Enda Donohue and then Bray watched as those two efforts were declared wide. Donohue sent Carnew ahead after 38 minutes and the game entered a tit for tat phase with points from Eoin McCormack, Donohue (three frees), Masterson (free), and Christy Moorehouse (two frees) making it 1-9 to 1-8 for Carnew with 54 gone and Bray cursing their finishing and their luck after Bob Fitzgerald made himself nice and big to put Tom Cash off what looked to be a golden chance of a goal.
It was from here that the greater hunger and desire really came to the fore for Carnew. Pure hurling intelligence from Seanie Kinsella allowed him pick out Timmy Collins with a beautiful pass and the full-forward slotted over sweetly.
A tangle between Jack Doyle and Luke Maloney offered Donohue the chance from a free and the Carnew sharp-shooter obliged to make it 1-11 to 1-9.
And then Seanie Kinsellas plucked McNally's puck out from the heavens and fired the ball to Timmy Collins only for Padraig Doyle to thwart the full-forward but Collins wasn't done just yet and he won it back, passed to Padraig Doran, took the return and split the posts with a magnificent score.
A big win for Carnew Emmets. The victory sends them on a collision course with Nigel Byrne's Kiltegan who were bested by St Pat's in the second game. Carnew will feel they have something major to prove when these two teams meet in the quarter-finals. James Hickey's men will have the recent defeat to Kiltegan and last year's championship exit at the hands of Éire Óg haunting them and they will want to appease both defeats with a resounding victory to send them on to the last four.
Bray certainly won't panic. Some of their big guns had quiet days. They take their place in the semi-finals and will relish the chance to get another shot at Carnew if that particular pairing comes about.
Scorers - Carnew Emmets: Enda Donohue 1-9 (8f), Timmy Collins 0-3.
Bray Emmets: Eoin McCormack 1-3, Diarmuid Masterson 0-3 (3f), Christy Moorehouse 0-2 (2f), Ben McCormack 0-1.
Carnew Emmets: Ted Kennedy; Willie Collins, John Walshe, Aaron Kinsella; Robert Lambert, Martin O'Brien, John Doyle; Seanie Kinsella, Wayne Kinsella; Jack Doyle, Padraig Doran, Paudi McGing; Enda Donohue, Timmy Collins, Joe Hughes. Subs: Bob Fitzgerald for T Kennedy (inj, 18), Conal McCrea for J Doyle (H/T), Drew Brennan for P McGing (43), Paul Nolan for R Lambert (51), Cormac Doyle for J Hughes (58).
Bray Emmets: Conor McNally; Conor O'Doherty, Liam Benville, Dara Maloney; Joe Phealan, Padraig Doyle, Luke Maloney; Ben McCormack, Eoin McCormack; Ronan McMahon, Diarmuid Masterson, Marc Lennon; Christy Moorehouse, Liam Kenny, Tom Cash. Subs: James Anders for R McMahon (44).
Referee: Damien Byrne (Kiltegan)