11 August, 2008

Bray 1-11 Baltinglass 1-7 

Nothing, they say concentrates the mind like a hanging. And Baltinglass knew that if they lost to Bray in Stratford last Wednesday, they would be drawn and quartered as well, as far as this year's minor championship was concerned.
So  the westerners, a team  which had shipped heavy beatings over the first four games of the league system, came out with all guns blazing determined to give it their best shot. With the wind in their backs, they went route one  and when the Bray defence gave them a few presents early on, they decided to keep playing  in the area where it suited them best - the opposing goal area.

Bray were immensely obliging by allowing themselves to be blocked, failing to hold onto the ball and kicking balls out over the sideline. It charged up the home fans and for all the world it looked as if Baltinglass had found some new players such was the transformation in their display from previous outings. Despite losing by 1-4 to 0-2, Bray  still showed a lot of courage to face down this adversity and by halftime, inspired by Jordan Egan at midfield, they had reduced the deficit to a goal. Indeed with a bit of luck Egan would have added a penalty but his shot just shaved the post in going wide. Forced to lineout without three of their normal forwards, Paul Cunningham and Ronan Cunningham, both injured and Gearoid O Murchu due to holidays, Bray stuttered to find a fluency in this sector, but two points from Robin O'Sullivan and three from Egan kept them in touch.

The arrival of Paul Cunningham put some pep into the Bray attack on the turnover and within two minutes they had tacked on two points through an Egan free and a John Breslin point. Breslin then reacted quickest around the goalmouth to lash the ball home and put Bray into a lead they would subsequently hold til the end of the game. Cunningham put over points with either foot to put daylight between the sides and Egan weighed in with two more placed ball, one from a 45 to see Bray home on a 1-11 to 1-7 scoreline.
Mark Nolan was outstanding in the Bray defence, not just blotting out his man, but clearing ball after ball. After a shaky start Sean Byrne settled in to have a strong second half and Conor Power returned to something like his old swashbuckling self with a number of high catches and long clearances.  Egan ruled the roost in midfield for the entire hour  with the forwards showing up  inconsistently except for the efforts of Dylan Kavanagh and John Breslin, who made a great block at the other end of the field near the end, when Baltinglass were looking for a goal to get them back into the game.

BRAY EMMETS: S Carton; S Byrne, M Nolan, C Murphy; E Wogan, A Benson, C Power; J Egan (0-5), A Keating; R O'Sullivan (0-2), D haughton, F Devlin; S Prendergast, J Breslin (1-1), D Kavanagh. Subs, P Cunningham (0-2), C Thomas, A Murphy, R Murphy, N McCague.