St Mary's see off battling Bray side
THE principle of promoting group teams to take part in the Senior football championship got another boost on Tuesday evening when St Mary's turned in another fine display of football to send Bray Emmets to the doubtful comforts of the losers group and book their own place in the quarter-finals
This replay of the first round match at Aughrim left a number of question marks, particularly about the Bray side but also about sportsmanship, or the lack of it. Play was held up for many minutes in the first half by a fracas which started as a sort of hand bagging out near the sideline but finally involved a large number of players from both sides.
Some would say that referee Pat Keogh should have used red cards but he settled for yellows and got everything going again and the game finished without any further trouble
Adam Conway had Bray on the score sheet inside a minute but that brought a quick reply and a point by overlapping wing back Colm Murphy for the Coolkenno-Shillelagh combination.
Two points by Niall McGraynor saw the Emmets hit the front again but then we saw the first signs that danger man, one Paddy Byrne, had arrived.
He sent over points in the seventh and ninth minutes and despite the fact that Jack Sheedy had brought back full forward Fergal Devlin to do a double marking job the ace goal poacher Paddy (Smokes) got through for the first goal of the match.
In fact it was the Shillelagh wizard that did most of the damage and every time he got anywhere near the ball panic appeared to spread.
That first goal came when he availed of a mix-up in the Bray defence in the 14th minute. The Bray men did hit back with a point from a Des Kelly free but with Don Jackman landing two points from long range frees the Mary's were ahead by 1-6 to 0-5 at half time. The last point of that first half was scored by corner back Liam McGraynor.
The Emmets pulled back a point on the restart when Des Kelly sent over from another free. That brought a quick when wing back Robert Keogh sent centre half Brian Rossiter through to kick a great point in the seventh minute and Raymond Murphy, who was having a great game at midfield landed two on the trot.
At that point the Bray men hit their best patch and appeared about to take over. Kelly had a fine point from play, Niall McGraynor added another and then John O'Keeffe finally shook off the attentions of Brian Rossiter to score another.
At that point there was only a goal between the sides and we were bracing ourselves for a hectic finish. However if there was any danger of Mary's slipping up a they allayed the fears of their supporters by bringing on the injured Paddy Dalton and even with a bone broke in his hand he had the steadying effect that was needed,
In the end it was Paddy Byrne that finally put the game out of reach of the seasiders. He sent over another point and then grabbed the second goal of the match in the 22nd minute and it was all over.
Conor Walker, who was quite enough by his own standards for a long time landed the last two points for Mary's and while Niall McGraynor had the last point of the match for Bray it was another case of too little too late.
St Marys now join Baltinglass, Blessington and Carnew in the quarter-finals where they await the four winners of the qualifiers section.
Bray Emmets must now take on Rathnew in the losers section and that is a tall enough order for a team that definitely looked down and out as they left the pitch.