Carnew Emmets

9 August, 2003

Bray Emmets 1 - 9      Carnew Emmets 0 - 10

Bray Emmets are through to the quarter finals of the Wicklow Senior Football Championship after overcoming the challenge of Carnew Emmets for the second time. The match was played on Saturday evening last (the 9th August) and it was a game that was played in the right spirit with not a single dirty stroke exchanged between the Wexford border team and their Dublin border counterparts. The author wonders if the Irish Independent will provide some column inches to this fact? Or, as this author suspects, are they more interested in crass sensationalism? That may well be a subject for future debate.

Conor Flannery was injured for this game so a few changes to the team which faced St. Patricks was required. Gavin Cahill and John O'Keeffe were joined by Ronan Lyng in the half-forward line while Patrick Moynihan lined out at corner forward in the usual company of Breandan O'hAnnaidh and Liam McGraynor Junior.

The Emmets made a lethargic start to this game and found the pace of the game beyond them. Carnew raced into a three point lead and it was a good ten minutes into the game before the seasiders registered their first point. John O'Keeffe deputised for Conor Flannery in respect of free-kick duties and as always Johno was up to the task. His scores from dead ball situations and from play were vital in getting Bray back into the game. Further scores from Breandan O'hAnnaidh, Ronan Lyng and Gavin Cahill gave the Bray men a slight advantage at half-time.

The author does not know what went on at half-time in the Bray dressing room but whatever was said it had the right effect on the team who had their best patch of the game in the opening minutes of the second half. Excellent defensive play by Ronan O'Brien, Dara O'hAnnaidh and Dara Gaskin coupled with Trojan work around the middle of the park by the O'Keeffe brothers created the platform for an excellent goal by Patrick Moynihan. Moynihan finished with a personal tally of 1 - 1 which belies his overall contribution to the Bray cause. He always showed for the ball and was picked out on many occasions by Brian O'Keeffe and Liam McGraynor Junior.

A gap of six points had opened up between the teams and Bray seemed well on their way to victory. However, Carnew fought back. Much to the chagrin of the Bray full back line of Alan Corr, Oisin O'hAnnaidh and Tony Denver some questionable referee decisions went against them and in the closing minutes there was only a kick of a ball between the teams.

And so we arrive at the moment of the game which justifies the above headline. The finger tips on Paul O'Keeffe's right hand are what has kept the seasiders in the championship. The last kick of the game seemed destined to rattle the Bray net. The author heard many people in the crowd comment afterwards that they had not seen such a save since Gordon Bank's diverted a powerful Pele header over the bar in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. The magnanimous O'Keeffe, with an arm span that would rival any South American Condor, proved as graceful with his dancing feet as a virgin Russian ballerina performing Swan Lake and as powerful with his upper body as Andre the Giant when he won Wrestlemania III in 1985 threw out an outstretched arm and managed to turn the ball round the post. The referee, almost as a mark of respect to the heroic act he had just witnessed, blew the full-time whistle.