ATHY and Clane must do it all over again this Wednesday evening (September 12) after playing out a disappointing draw in Newbridge last Sunday evening, writes John Ryan.
MDY Construction Senior Football Championship Round 3
Clane substitute Conor Murphy kicked an equalising free four minutes into time added on to deny Athy, who had led from the 20th minute after James Eaton crashed home to the net from the penalty spot.
Athy, defending county champions, were far from impressive during this however, even though it always appeared that they had enough in their arsenal to see off a Clane side who failed to hit the same heights of their unlucky defeat to Moorefield last day out. Still, the all-whites never let up, always keeping within touching distance of their opponents, before their perseverance was duly rewarded right at the death by claiming the closing two scores.
It would be hard to back against Athy getting the job done at the second attempt, particularly considering that they kicked 13 wides during this laboured effort, nine in the second half alone.
It did though look as if Athy had hit the ground running when Liam McGovern and James Eaton both pointed frees inside the first four minutes, but those were cancelled out by the tenth minute after both Robbie Dunne (free) and Cathal Geoghegan found their range.
Tit for tat during a cagey opening, Paddy Dunne and Danny Egan (free) exchanged points after ten and 14 minutes respectively, but as the rain began sheeting down, Egan pointed a 17th minute free to give his side the lead for the first and only time.
Indeed, scores from placed balls was the trend of the game, with 1-11 of the 1-19 scored by both teams coming from such instances. The most significant of those appeared to be that plundered by Eaton, whose finely placed spot kick moved his side 1-3 to 0-4 in front.
A further point from Shane O’Brien after 23 minutes made it a three-point game but Clane, without a score in 15 minutes, ended that barren spell when Egan landed a 40 metre free two minutes into first half stoppage time that left matters 1-4 to 0-5 in favour of Athy at the break.
It was more of the same following the restart, although Athy lost some of their composure in the final third as Clane adjusted their tactics that saw Eoin Naughton drop back into his own half-back line in a sweeping capacity.
Egan (free) and McGovern (free) swapped early points, as did the hard-grafting Robbie Dunne and Darroch Mulhall by the 42nd minute, but as Clane continued to enjoy good spells of possession while their opponents’ woes in front of the posts continued, a brace of points from Geoghegan by the 46th minute had the sides level at 1-6 to 0-9.
With the outcome in the melting pot, Eaton did his best to drag his side into the last eight when landing points (one free) after 54 and 55 minutes to move his side two clear, but after Egan then pointed a ’45 in response, Murphy kept his cool to shoot the equaliser for a deserving result for Clane.
Athy, James Eaton 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), Liam McGovern 0-2 (2f), Paddy Dunne Shane O’Brien , Darroch Mulhall 0-1 each.
Clane, Danny Egan 0-5 (4f, 1 ‘45), Cathal Geoghegan 0-3, Robbie Dunne 0-2 (1f), Conor Murphy 0-1 (1f).
James Roycroft; Conor Ronan, David Hyland, David Holligan; Ross Bell, Mick Foley, Shane O’Brien; Paddy Dunne, Declan Kinahan; Liam McGovern, Niall Kelly, Tony Gibbons; James Eaton, Ken Brophy, Darroch Mulhall. Subs: Kevin Feely for Brophy (43 mins); Danny O’Keefe for Declan Kinahan (46 mins); Eddie Delahunt for Bell (inj, 60+1 mins).
Robbie Eyres; Craig Hartland, David Harney, Barry Egan; Cian Donohoe, David Lyons, Eoin Kelly; Eoin Naughton, Karl Martin; Paul Hunt, Robbie Dunne, Danny Egan; Cathal Geoghegan, Tomas O’Connor, Marc Behan. Subs: Bernard Deay for Naughton (blood-sub, 28-29 mins); Bernard Deay for Martin (40 mins); Cian Kilkenny for Behan (44 mins); Conor Murphy for Hunt (49 mins); Stephen Lyons for Geoghegan (57 mins).