Monday 23 April 2018

Bray Emmets blitz St Pat's to end 61 years of heartbreak

Bray's Brian Duggan is closed down by St Pat's Mark conway during the SHC semi final in Aughrim. Picture: Garry O'Neill
Bray's Brian Duggan is closed down by St Pat's Mark conway during the SHC semi final in Aughrim. Picture: Garry O'Neill

HISTORY as the footballers of Mayo will testify, can sometimes become a heavy burden. Like Mayo, Bray Emmets had to endure many years of heartbreak and near misses.

Sixty-one years of heartbreak to be exact since November 8, 1952 when they last graced and won the final of the Wicklow Senior Hurling Championship. On that occasion back in 1952 the men from Bray saw off the challenge of the mighty Avondale who in a ten year period between 1946 to 1956 appeared in no fewer than seven finals winning three.

The history books will show that Bray ran out winners on the day on a score line of 4-05 to Avondale's 2-03. Key to Bray's success on the day was the contributions of Brian Glynn, Capt Paddy Delaney, Jimmy Jordan and Joe Butler the Tipperary man who lined out for Dublin in the 1948 All Ireland final defeat by Waterford.

Joe had then come to live in Bray where he took over the local chemist shop and became an integral part of the Wicklow hurling scene. Bray won the day and went home the champions.

At that time there was no cup to be awarded to the winners, so although they were champions they went home empty handed. The present day management team will be keen to point this out to today's players, They might have won the semi final but that is all and there is still no cup in the Bray cabinet.

Bray got off to the perfect start with Mikey Lee pointing an early free. At the other end Andy O'Brien had one point from play and one free but had driven two others wide from placed ball's.

John Henderson was having a great start to the game and he was on hand to deny a goal in the 6th minute when a Mick O'Brien shot had the keeper beaten.

Bray began to dominate all over the field Lee and Geroid O'Murchu added further points before Christy Moorhouse tore through the Pat's defence, Drawing defenders Moorhouse passed to Lee who rattled the back of the net with an unstoppable shot.

The Wicklow town men had no answer for the rampaging Lee and he added another three points in quick succession. Pat's were clearly struggling, Andy O'Brien seemed isolated as the Bray midfield of O'Murchu and Luke Maloney cut off the supply to him while Karl Lacy and Henderson were well up to the task of handling any possession he did get.

Andy did manage a pointed free in the twenty first minute but the relentless Bray machine was not to be stopped.

Paul Cunningham, Eoin Mason and Lee again all managed points to stretch the lead before Maloney dug out the ball from a ruck of players and sent Mason free with a beautiful pass, Mason passed to Brian Duggan and his shot rocketed into the back of the net to give Bray a thirteen point lead.

George O'Brien did manage to get a point from play but once again Lee was on hand to cancel this out with a long range free to send the sides into the half time break on a scoreline of Bray Emmets 2-10, St Patrick's 0-04

St Pat's needed to do something dramatic if they were to get anything out of this game and they rung the changes at half time bringing in Darragh O'Sullivan for Jim Connors and Mark Sexton for Ronan Connolly.

Now they needed to get a few early scores to settle the side but it was the Bray lads that got the better start. Points from Lee and the imperious Maloney had them cruising.

Pat's had a big chance for a goal in the eleventh minute but Peter O'Reilly managed to parry George O'Brien's shot to the safety of the end line. Andy pointed the sixty five but was almost immediately cancelled out by another pointed free from the hurl of Lee.

Again Pat's came forward and this time they would not be denied, Andrew Conway drew the defender and slipped the ball to Andy who unleashed one of his trademark net busters.

The goal only served to add an illusion of respectability to the scoreline. Pat's lost Mick O'Brien and Chris Kavanagh to second yellows and Bray who were by now in cruise control got further points from O'Murchu and Mason.

All intensity had gone out of the game Brien Coen registered St Pat's last point in the fifty fourth minute and this was cancelled out in the fifty fifth minute by bray sub Tom Cash.

So Bray are into their first final in sixty-one years. They won in 1952 and went home without a cup. This time they will be hoping that they can win and bring the first ever Senior hurling cup home.

Wicklow People