U9 & U10 take the honors at Án Tochar tournament

10 August, 2012

Over the last 4 weeks Bray Emmets were kindly invited to part-take in a round robin tournament by An Tochar at both Under 9 and Under 10 in which St Pats Wicklow Town and AGB also participated. Our first series of matches were played in wet conditons in Roundwood. The under 9s dominated their match from the start with excellent goal keeping from Nathan who went in goal after getting injured and strong defense from Leon, Matthew, Michael and Luan. Evan and Art played very well in midfield with John, Finn, Oscar and Gavin very dangerous up front. In the end Bray won by a few points but it was the performance and style of play that caught the eye. In the under 10 competition Bray were well beaten but played with great heart to the end.
In the second round of the competition Bray hosted AGB, in the under 9 game Bray were very lucky to beat a very strong and committed AGB side, again Bray played an attractive attacking brand of football but the AGB defence was well marshalled and Bray were lucky to win by two points in the end.
Knowing that they needed a win to remain in contention in the tournament Bray U10s started very well and dominated a young and inexperienced AGB team, success was built on a very strong mid-field of Peter, Mark and substitute Sam who provided quick ball into what can be only described as possibly the speediest Bray Emmets forward line this writer has seen in Enda, Charlie & Luke Dunne Luke Brandon and Aidan Kane with constant movement and changing positions that caused panic in the AGB defence. Any attacking threat was dealt with by Brays defense of Jack, Tadhg, Philip, Ben and Arran with Zack having a quiet night in goal.
In the final set of matches it looked like the Under 9s would qualify for the final without needing to win their match against St Pats, however in what proved to be this group's best perfromance to date Bray played excellently to beat a well fancied St Pats side in an excellent game of football.

The under 10s had to win their match by a margin of more that 5 points, this was an excellent game to watch as a spectator with both sides playing skillful and direct football. Again dominance in midfield from Sam and Cathal set the platform for quality ball going into the forward line of Enda,Aidan,Luke and Charlie who gave the St Pats defense a torrid time. It wasn't all one way traffic though with St Pats taking their chances much better and it was nip and tuck for much of the first half with Bray slightly ahead at half time despite playing with a fresh breeze. In the second half Bray's defence of Brian, Jack, Philip and Tadhg came to the fore with Zack having a stormer in goal. The second half was littered with some excellent scores from both teams who ran themselves to a standstill with both teams having periods of dominance, in the end it way Bray who won out by 7 points which resulted in both teams qualifying for the finals against Roundwood.
The finals were set for Roundwood on Sunday evening. The Bray Emmets Under 9 football team who had beaten their opposition earlier in the competition won a tight low scoring match, 9 points to 8. .
The match was characterised by some fromidable defending by both teams. A lots of hitswere given and taken and scoring chances were at a premium. In defence Oscar Maloney, Tim Harrington, Adam Prunty and Daniel Murphy consistantly got to the ball ahead of their opponents due to their game reading skills and when a gap appeared they supported each other to extinguishany threat. Their fielding skills were always in evidence and they at all time sought to work the ball out of defence. The four players proved incredibly frustrating to play against as they calmly nullifed An Tochar's attacks and to single one out above the other would do them all a dis-service as above
all they played as a cohesive unit without whom the match would surely have been lost.
In midfield Gavin Rochford, Jack Kearney and the pacy Evan Barry left nothing on the pitch. They continually provided both assistance to the backs and the forwards; linking play, making tackleswinning frees and scoring some vital points. Evan proved once again that he is the consumate team player, he continually ran out of defence with the ball and almost without exception played it intelligently to one of his teamates. Jack found himself trust into battle as a result of some latewithdrawls and similarly to Adam Prunty who was also a few years younger than his comrades did not look out of depth. He never let his opponent go harrying and hassling the more experienced
player and also got himself into some great scoring positions. One point worth mentioning was thewinning point by Gavin who, after the ball had been worked out of defence by the team, shot from far out on the right hand touch line and bisected the posts with ease. This was in response to three points by An Tochar who had trailed by two points at the interval and who had fought back gamely.

The forwards were superb in fielding, winning frees and taking scores when possible. Luan Roddy made some magnificant catches, winning frees, scoring and moving the ball on when he could. Nathan Prunty fought tigerishly for posession. He because of his tenacity was able to hold up theball until support arrived and also win frees and score which proved vital. He, like others took some hard knocks, but his bravery shone out and he was constantly threatening in attack. Sean O'Keeffe desire to win was always in evidence. He on numerous occasions went past players and with hisability to cut in off the side line quickly and subsequently find one of his players with a pass he created lot of scoring opportunities. Michael Healy and Finn Teacy played two roles each as they
alternated between Goalkeeper and forward. Michael played in nets for the first half and Finn thesecond. Both made some wonderful saves and almost as importantly were willing to the take on the responsibility, for their team, that is associated with being a goalkeeper. They both looked to play the ball out intelligently and rarely resorted to just kickning the ball out. In attack Finn took somehard bangs but after some water rejoined battle to make a telling contribution. Michael, like most of his teammates has pace to burn. He also has a footballing brain and always kept his head up and made many accurate and clever passes. Finally, although he didn't play in the final, special mention must be made to Art Wittle who played in the other league matches. Art broke his wrist during the Football Cul Camp on Friday but still turned up to cheer on his team. He was made non-playingCaptain for the match and afterwards led his team up to receive their winning plaques.Team: Finn Teacy, Michael Healy, Daniel Murphy, Oscar Maloney, Adam Prunty, Jack Kearney,Gavin Rochford, Evan Barry, Luan Roddy, Sean O' Keefe and Nathan Prunty.
Whilst the Under 9s were the bookies favourites to win their final the Under 10s faced a huge uphill battle against a team who beat them severely in the first match. By playing together regularly and the fact that the Cul Camps were played in Bray the week leading up to the match, it was hoped that bray would give a good account of themselves. Sometimes in a match a team plays to its maximium and everything goes right on the night. From the off Bray took a foothold in midfield with Cathal and Sam contolling matters ensuring the forward line of the Dunne twins, Enda and Aidan Kane got plenty of ball, with the win at their backs Bray did not make full use of their posession and eventually An Tochar started to get into the game with a few well taken scores. The back line of Philip, Brian, Tadhg and Jack began to get on top and with the introduction of Peter to mark An Tochar's  danger man Bray finished the half stronger and were leading by 3 points. Playing into the wind in the second half it was expected that Bray would be under severe pressure to come out winners. In a half where Bray played some of their best football of the tournament Bray got completely on top with Peter scoring the point of the match out by the sideline on the wrong side for a right footd kicker. This score seemed to settle the team who went on to dominate the half allied by stout defending of Ben Gorman and the tireless running of Cathal, Brian and Jack to set up scores for the Dunne twins and Aidan Kane some of which would not feel out of place in Croke Park. Special mention must go to Kuke and Charlie Dunne and Aidan Kane all of which are relatively new to the team and have brought an extra dimension to the way the team now play.In the end Bray won well and no doubt there will be great tussles between the two teams into the future.
On the night both teams were victorious but it would not have happened without the dedcation of the entire 2002/2003 group over the year training in all sorts of conditions in the summer and in comparative conditions in the Winter. We would like to thank all the supporters who turned up on the night and throughout the tournament who provided great support and enthusism for the teams.
Finally we would like to thank An Tochar for providing the facilities for the tournament and the refreshments on the final night. We would like to thank Nick Nolan in particular who did all the hard work in arranging the tournament.