All Ireland Feile

23 June, 2008

Bray Emmets were hosted by Tullamore this weekend. As Wicklow winners we were in Div 2 which is very competitive. Celbridge and Ferbane-Belmont were the other teams in our group.

We played our hosts on Friday afternoon and won well on a scoreline of 2-9 to 1-2.  Luke Maloney and Enda Molloy were outstanding at the back and Jim Doyle mopped up everything while Lee Brandon and Cian O'Byrne scored the points and Marc Lennon landed 2 goals.The weather was lovely and stayed fine for the parade that evening in Portlaoise. In the other opening game Ferbane and Cellbridge played a draw at 2-9 each and both were seen as very strong teams.

However Saturday the rain started at 6am and continued all day with a cold driving wind. We played all our games in the revamped  O'Connor Park which was a great treat for the players and is a beautiful county grounds. We started the day playing Ferbane who are one of Offaly's strongest underage Hurling clubs.

We played against the wind and defended really well and approaching half time we were behind by 0-5 to 0-1 when we were awarded a 30 metre free. Normally we would take the point however Bray had other ideas and a short free from Cian O'Byrne to Pierse Sweeney caught Ferbane cold and Sweeney blasted the ball low and hard into the net so we were only 1 point behind going in to play with the strong wind and driving rain in the second half.  Sweeney scored a 65 and 4 further points from play and we won by 1-7 to 5 points. In the other games Ferbane easily beat Tullamore and Celbridge also beat Tullamore,

This set up the final game between Bray and Celbridge and again we played against the wind in the first half and were doing well up to half time with Cellbridge taking the lead with a lucky goal early on and we looked good at 1-4 to 0-2 but just before half time a high ball into our square went off a defenders hurley into the net and we went in at half time losing by 8 points. Again we took the initiative and moved Jim Doyle to full forward and he caught the first ball and drove through the defence but his rising shot went over the bar. We pressed and pressed and there were many goal line saves and last ditch interceptions and eventually we were awarded a 21 metre free and again Doyle's rising shot cleared the bar. We held Celbridge scoreless for the entire second half and the spectators breathless as we attacked and attacked but the wind and the rain meant slips and cold hands and we could not get a goal. Again Luke Maloney was outstanding and Lee Brandon did well up front, Sweeney played well at midfield along with Diarmuid Masterson helped by Jim Doyle at full forward while Cian O'Byrne struck the frees really well. However we lost by 2-4 to 0-4.

We had a great tournament once again and great credit is due to all the panel, the parents and supporters, particularly Tony Connolly and Ger Fagan who raised the finance and also proudly carried the Bray Emmets banner in the parade in Portlaoise. We thank our host club Tullamore , the host families and everyone who travelled to support us. We thank Chris Masterson the Feile Manager, his wife Kate who looked after all the logistics, food travelling etc and a special word to Kate and Brenda Maloney for organising the Feile gear which had all the team and the mentors looking so well. We did Wicklow proud and left Offaly with a very positive impression of Wicklow hurling. Enda Molloy was our player of the tournament closely folowed by Luke Maloney.

Panel: Josh Connolly, Dara Lohan, Cathal O'Dulachain, Jim Doyle, Ben Mc Cormack, Dara Henderson, Enda Molloy, Luke Maloney, Diarmuid Masterson, Pierse Sweeney, Marc Lennon, Lee Brandon, Muiris O'Floinn, Cian O'Byrne, Ryan Fagan, Andy Bartley, Alan Dougan, Kelvin Keane, Eoin Mc Cormack, Matthew Thompson, Stephen Kirwan., Craig Dowling, Ryan Tynan, Graham Sutton.