Ciaran Barnes Previews Carnew Emmets v Bray Emmets In The 2020 Wicklow Senior Hurling Championship County Final

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Firstly, within this unprecedented year that nobody could have foreseen, credit needs to go to the County Board and the committees for getting the championships played across all age groups. Having the matches to go to has been a great outlet for communities across the county through these difficult times. I hope come 5.45pm tomorrow evening the town of Bray will get an even bigger boost. Having games every fortnight to look forward to was excellent.

With the year that is in it, you could have well expected to see a final pairing out of the ordinary. As we saw in the football with Baltinglass and Tinahely. A Bray and Carnew final has occurred before in the not so distant past during our “ 3 in a row “ run. 2015 and then 2016 with the first drawn final and then winning the replay. Our lads started on the wrong foot against Glenealy. Many thought after the final last year we would have breezed by them. The team with the better work rate and who were more clinical with their chances won that day. The next game out was against Eire Og which we won by nine points. This was a tight game that the score line didn’t really do justice on the effort shown by Eire Og. The score line was made a bit better looking in the last few minutes when our lads began to open the legs and worked the scores.

Our last group game was against Avondale in Arklow. This was played at the same time as Eire Og and Glenealy so there was one eye on Aughrim at the same time. A score line of 2-28 to 1-9 showed that our lads were getting back on track to the level that they’re all capable of. Unfortunately, this game also coincided to losing Ronan McMahon with a broken finger due to a wild swing of a hurl when he was just starting to get into form. Our semifinal brought us to face St Pats. For starters at least it was a better day than the wind and rain of last years semifinal where we hung on to win by a point. I do believe that last years semifinal was a turning point for the lads. In this years semi final, the strong wind blowing into the town goal had pats who were playing with the wind in the first half up by a point at half time. The second half began with seven unanswered Bray points which set the lads on the way. Game management came in to play then.

Jim Doyle has been standout in the goals. Two goals conceded in four games is not bad going at all. Our back line have done extremely well this year too marshalled by John Henderson. The midfield combination of Padraig Doyle and Luke Maloney have worked tirelessly. Our forward six have come to the level where they can interchange positions with ease and they can still fire as normal. Having the strength in depth with our bench this year has lead to lads coming on hungry to get their spot for the next game. Some of the inhouse fifteen on fifteen games have shown this.

How do I see tomorrow going? Whoever wins tomorrow will have the better work rate and they will be clinical with any chances they take. If our lads play like they did against Pats with the clinical nature, controlled aggression and work rate, we will be ok. If Carnew come like we all know they can with their physical game, it will turn in to a dogfight then. Whatever way it goes I don’t see there being much in it come the final whistle. James Hickey will have the Carnew men well up for it that’s for certain.

A special mention needs to go to Paul Carley. A man who the players have massive respect for which is richly deserved. Paul having the connections he has to get challenge games against Senior clubs throughout Leinster has our lads testing themselves against the highest standard which helped massively. Three goals and eighty points scored in this years championship says a lot. Having two experienced men in Brian Duggan and Ronan O ‘ Brien as selectors is a massive plus.

One things for certain, once Colm “ Skippy “ McDonagh is a happy man tomorrow evening with the cup back in front of him things won’t be too bad.

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