COUNTY champions Celbridge were held to a draw by their 2011 final opponents in the first of a SHC double header in Clane last Saturday afternoon, writes Ruth Chambers.
Celbridge, without the services of Tony Murphy, Fergal Conway and Neil O Muineacháin, led by two points in the final minute but a brace from Paul Divilly ensured a draw and indeed a replay for Confey.
At the interval Confey led by two (0-7 to 0-5) after a very decent half against a fancied Celbridge side. After the turnaround the Hazelhatch Road side up the ante but they could never shake off the attention of the opposition and in the end a draw was probably the fairest result.
With just 37 seconds on the clock the three in a row champions opened their account thanks to a point from the mercurial Gerry Keegan but they had to wait a further ten minutes for a second score.
Early parity was restored by the third minute when Paul Divilly scored his first of seven frees, while soon after he knocked over his second to give Confey a slender one point advantage.
By the tenth minute Confey stretched that lead to three (0-4 to 0-1) but points from Conor Kenny and Sam White (free) closed the gap to just the minimum. The sides then swapped points with frees from Paul Divilly and Sam White and Confey led 0-5 to 0-4.
Confey almost had the ball in the back of the Celbridge net in the 16th minute when Daragh Nolan got away from Liam McDonagh before passing to Niall Glennon but Celbridge goalkeeper Niall Lanigan was out of his goal lot a shot to block down Glennon’s effort.
Before the interval Celbridge restored parity thanks to a point from Keegan after he robbed possession from Sean Leamy but Confey finished out the half strongly. A Paul Divilly free put them back in front and seconds later Divilly tagged on one from play to leave his side leading 0-7 to 0-5 at the break.
Celbridge came out with all guns blazing for the second period and indeed scored four points without reply to lead 0-9 to 0-7 after 40 minutes. Sam White converted a free from 64 metres out before Gerry Keegan, Conor Kenny and substitute Conor Ryan all split the posts.
Their lead, however, were short-lived as Confey pounced for a goal 13 minutes in to the half. It came from Niall Glennon, who held off the attentions of Pa Curtin before getting the touch to send it to the net and give Confey a slender 1-7 to 0-9 lead.
The holders responded well through Conor Kenny, whose point levelled proceedings but it was cancelled out by a Daragh Nolan point. Confey, by the 49th minute, had a three point lead on the board when Divilly and Adrian Kinsella raised white flags.
However, points from Conor Kenny and Sam White (free) and Leo Quinn left the sides tied once more with eight minutes left on the clock.
Momentum seemed to be with the champions going in to the closing stages and when Sam White sent over a free they opened up a one point advantage and it was soon two when Keegan struck over but Confey just wouldn’t go away.
The deficit was down to one in the 60th minute thanks to a free from Paul Divilly and indeed it was Divilly who knocked over the equaliser two minutes in to stoppage time to earn his side a deserved replay which takes place this evening (Tuesday) in Leixlip at 7.30 pm.
Celbridge, Sam White 0-5 (5f), Conor Kenny 0-4, Gerry Keegan 0-4, Conor Ryan 0-1, Leo Quinn 0-1.
Confey, aul Divilly 0-8 (7f), Niall Glennon 1-0, David O’Neill 0-1, Darragh Nolan 0-1, Philip Quigley 0-1, Kieran Divilly 0-1.
Niall Lanigan; Liam McDonagh, Fiachra O’Muineachain, Pa Curtin; Aidan McDonagh, Donal Moloney, Cathal Earley; Sam White, Billy White; Danny Butler, Conor Kenny, Mark Moloney; Leo Quinn, Sean O’Carroll, Gerry Keegan. Subs: Conor Ryan replaced D Moloney HT, Marcus Kinsella replaced S O’Carroll 49 mins.
Ian Baker; Sean Leamy, Paul Keegan, Brian Dowd; Kevin Chan, Michael Divilly, Colm Chan; Paul Divilly, Paraic Keegan; Kieran Divilly, Philip Quigley, Anto Hoare; Mark Fennelly, Niall Glennon, Daragh Nolan. Subs: John O’Neill replaced A Hoare 48 mins, Cillian McSuibhne replaced P Quigley 52 mins.