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Apr 15

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Eoin O’Connor at his inspirational best in Balbriggan

2nd XV Champ v O'Dwyers 14042019 (6)Sun 14th Apr 2019 – Two weeks ago the St Brendan’s 2nd XV suffered a third straight AFL 10 defeat to Clanna Gael Fontenoy on a 3-12 to 0-09 scoreline. But don’t let that score line think that St Brendan’s 2nd XV played poorly throughout because the team played some excellent football for three quarters of the match and were still in the mix with the score being 0-08 to 0-07 before the Clanna Gael Fontenoy young substitutes pulled away in the final 12 minutes.

So onto this Sunday and the St Brendan’s 2nd team travelled up the M1 to Balbriggan for the opening Junior 5 All County Championship encounter with O’Dwyers.

It was the home side who started the brightly to lead 4 points to no score after 12 minutes. Eoin O’Connor got The Darkest Force on the board with a free in from 20 meters after a long ball from John ‘The Tourlestrane Terrier’ Quinn found Morgan Young who was fouled when shooting over the bar but the free in was taken anyway.  After another O’Dwyer’s point, Quinn got the 2nd St Brendan’s point, 30 meters out against the wind, after a Young goal shot was saved.

Maurice Kelter won a turnover and played the ball to Graham ‘ The Meath Adonis’ Henry, then onto his unrelated Castlebar namesake Kevin, who promptly kicked over the bar. After another brace of points from the home side, a bid for a third point ended when a shot fell short to Darragh Donnelly who played the ball to ‘The Son of Maurice’ Padraig Pratt, and onto Niall ‘Takedown’ Rynne. Ciaran O’Shea’s played a great ball to Eoin O’Connor who was in a good position but with two O’Dwyers backs closing him down, but O’Connor saw a gap in the corner and created an uber cool finish into the net.

Both sides traded points before half time with the St Brendan’s score coming from a free in by O’Connor after Oisin Carley had his path blocked when going for goal. The referee moved the free in to the front of the posts after some dissent from the home side, and O’Connor duly converted.

 

Half time score: St Brendans 1-04 (07) to 0-08 O’Dwyers.

 

O’Connor started the second half the same way he ended the first, with a close range free in after a foul on Kevin Henry, but O’Dwyers retook the lead with a point after a goal bound shot hit the black spot of the crossbar. Billy Kelly and John Tuffy put on Derek Brady as a second half substitute and it was a great decision. Ciaran O’Shea won a mark off Darragh Donnelly’s kick-out and played the ball to Graham Henry who found Brady for a low shot to hit the back of the O’Dwyer’s net. Eoin O’Connor followed up with a great point from play with Brady the final pass supplier to give a 3-point lead.

The club that gave us John O’Leary pegged back a point. Graham Henry put his body, except his left leg, on the line to win possession but got clattered in the process. He was fine afterwards but O’Connor sailed his free in wide. Another O’Dwyers free in followed and it was down to a one point game again.

As the game progressed to the final quarter, John ‘The Tourlestrane Terrier’ Quinn had a shot that was deflected for a 45, which O’Shea converted after the ball bounced on top of the crossbar and between the sticks. Oisin Carley had acres of space for a solo run and ran to the far 30 meter-line where he passed to Graham Henry, got the return and had a great goal chance deflected for a 45. O’Shea could not repeat the trick from 2 minutes before and it remained a two-point game.

Oisin Carley had goal on his mind and a shot by the Wexican hit the crossbar. The ball fell to Kevin Henry whose shot also thundered off the crossbar and the ball came to Graham Henry who tried the volley, but only found side-netting.

Eventually the lead became three thanks to John Quinn after a free in from Bradley ‘The Speedster’ Skerritt was played to Oisin Carley and onto The Tourlestrane Terrier for the point. The O’Dwyer’s kick-out went over the sideline. Eoin O’Connor tried to ‘do a Maurice Fitzgerald in 2001’ and score from the sideline, he almost executed the move but it went wide as Cathal McCormack tried to keep the ball in play.

Kevin Henry broke the O’Dwyer’s kick-out to Derek Brady and pass to Ciaran O’Shea was converted to give a four point buffer. That buffer did not last long as O’Dwyer’s pulled a point back.

The three point lead did not last long as Padraig Pratt won a turnover, played it onto Derek Brady, then Paddy McGuinn, then Cathal McCormack and finally Eoin O’Connor who moved this way and that and curled  a shot inside the right side of the upright.

O’Dwyers tried to get the 1-01 needed to draw the game but one players frustrations got the better, after he deflected a Darragh Donnelly kick out over the side line. An O’Connor free in that went wide was the final action of the afternoon and for the second consecutive year, St Brendan’s 2nd XV win their opening Junior 5 All County Championship game of the season. But can they make it a second win and ensure a place in the Round of 16 next September? All will be revealed in two week’s time with a home time against the new amalgamated Liffey Gaels/Good Counsel team.

 

Final score from Balbriggan: St Brendan’s 2-11 (17) to 0-12 O’Dwyer’s.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stbrendansgaa.org/eoin-oconnor-at-his-inspirational-best-in-balbriggan/

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