Rathnew 0-10 vs AGB 1-7
In a championship double header, Championship challengers Rathnew and AGB drew as St Pats disposed of Bray Emmets in convincing fashion on a wet Sunday evening in Augrim
Starting with one of the biggest games of this blockbuster championship weekend, Rathnew and AGB played out a rather dull draw. Both teams will fancy their chances in becoming the next county champions, as Rathnew narrowly beat their opponents by a single point in last year’s semi-final. It wouldn’t be surprising if these teams ended up meeting again later in the competition.
In the early stages it was clear both team were getting a feel for their opponents in difficult wet and slippery conditions, neither team giving an inch. Rathnew had a high press early on as they pressured their opponents. They raced into an early 0-04 to 0-01 lead and were forcing AGB to make mistakes as that high press and some good defensive structure made it very difficult for AGB to create anything with Ross O’Brien a standout performer throughout. It’s clear Rathnew are focused on building for the future with Harry Murphy giving some of their young stars such as Jack Healy and Sam O Dowd ample game time. Warren Kavanagh was very impressive in the early stages showing a real zippiness when attacking and he kicked over a couple of scores.
Credit to the Arklow men though as they edged themselves back into the contest through a good Andy Maher point who was a part of the Wicklow u20’s panel this year and a few Philip Healy frees. Healy ultimately kept his side ticking on the scoreboard all day as he was kicking frees at ease racking up 0-05 points on the day as the Rathnew men were conceding soft frees. Although, Eddie and Mark Doyle kept the Village men scoring as they led 0-7 to 0-5 at the break. The Village talisman James Stafford was sent off just before the break as an umpire made the referee aware to an off the ball incident that ultimately spelled the end of the game for Stafford and I’d argue it was a rash decision.
Despite trailing by two points it would have been thought that the advantage was in AGB’s favour as they were now playing against a 14 man team who were there for the taking. Its not easy losing somebody of the calibre of Stafford who wins most of the midfield battles but the red and green suffocated everything AGB were trying to do for large parts of that second half with Jamie Snell and O’Brien working hard to keep the defence solid. Sam O Dowd who had a tough first half grew into the game looking more comfortable in midfield and Mark Doyle was hitting some great points from play and they really seemed to have the game under control.
The Geraldine’s gave it one last push and they managed to score a goal from nothing as Chris O’Brien made a telling run into the Rathnew box before JP Hurley stuck the ball to the back of the net. In the closing stages, they really went after the game and showed a lot more conviction in possession, which they lacked all game. Ciarán O Shea looked to make space anytime he ran with the ball, O’Brien started to get the run of the midfield and Maher and Hurley looked like attacking options. The game finished in a draw and the teams shared the points, AGB will have rued the fact they couldn’t beat a 14 man side and Rathnew will have thought they were good enough to win that game.
In terms of the Man of the Match, I considered a few players, Warren Kavanagh was very good especially in the first half, Mark Doyle got some serious scores on the day as well, for AGB Philip Healy did his job very well, but I went for Ross O’Brien as he was a pillar in his teams defence, very organised throughout and he also got possibly the point of the game. Up next for the village men is a tough test against Tinahealy.
Rathnew Scorers: Mark Doyle 0-05, Eddie Doyle 0-02, Warren Kavanagh 0-02 and Ross O’Brien 0-01
AGB Scorers: Philip Healy 0-05, Andrew Maher 0-01, Philip Glesson 0-01, JP Hurley 1-00
St Pats 1-14 vs Bray Emmets 0-07
In the second game of the evening St Pats put on a champions display against Bray Emmets as the result was a foregone conclusion from the early stages.
The champions dominated possession from the get go and it was very difficult for Bray to get momentum for any sort of attack as Pats were constantly able to retain their dominance with possession. County Captain Dean Healy and John Crowe caused them great bother when they ran at them at pace and if they really wanted to, I think they could have ripped the Emmets defence apart on a number of occasions.
It was clear Tommy Kelly and Stephen Duffy were going to rack up a good few scores in this game. Pats had the game under control and never really expressed any sort of urgency in their play. They only led 0-6 to 0-3 at the break, but we all felt the big scores were on the horizon. Straight from the throw in Healy sent a long ball into Kelly as he slapped it into the net.
Pats just kept the scoreboard ticking in this half as Kelly and Duffy accumulated 1-11 of the final 1-14 score. They were the hitmen on the pitch as usual, although Padge MacWalter and Donal Fitzgerald put in a massive work throughout the match. Substitute Conor O’Brien came onto the pitch like a Duracell bunny bursting with energy ready to show what he can do in championship football.
Pats demonstrated some great game management and I don’t think they really left second gear. They would have to be the favourites to claim Miley again. In terms of man of the match, I thought Padge MacWalter was very good, but it has to go to Tommy Kelly who once again put on a show in Augrim. The big tests are still to come against Avondale, Blessington and Baltinglass but their definitely leading the pack at this early stage.
St Pats Scorers: Tommy Kelly 1-06, Stephen Duffy 0-05, PadgeMacWalter 0-02 and John Crowe 0-01
Match Report by Ciaron Noble
Ciaron is currently studying journalism and hopes to become a sports journalist. He has got a big passion for the football and is hoping to try and get into the local football this summer and for the future. We wish Ciaran every success and he has obviously got the skills to have a very successful career ahead of him. We have great admiration for the brilliant Sports Journalists around like Brendan Lawrence and hopefully one of the local professional publications can offer Ciaron a role.
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