Action from Bracknagh v Walsh Island: Picture Ger Rogers
BRACKNAGH escaped from a devastating defeat against parish neighbours Walsh Island with an extra time win in the Senior “B” Football Championship semi-final in O'Connor Park on Sunday afternoon.
Tullamore Court Hotel Senior “B” Football Championship semi-final
Walsh Island 0-12
(After extra time)
Way below par, their shooting way off radar and struggling to play any decent football for much of normal time, Bracknagh scraped into extra time where they pulled away for an ultimately comfortable win.
Bracknagh's football in the first 60 minutes was so poor at times as to almost defy words. The final scoreline of 3-11 to 0-12 is very misleading – it doesn't show how off the boil Bracknagh were and it doesn't show how well Walsh Island competed and how close they were to a famous win.
Once it got to extra time, however, it was almost inevitable that Bracknagh would win and they did play well then. Walsh Island should have got there in normal time but their legs ran out in the extra twenty minutes – this was always likely as they have a few players up against the 40 mark and Bracknagh were fitter in the wind up.
The teams had finished level, 1-8 to 0-11 at the end of normal time but Bracknagh were easily the better side in extra time. A very good Darren Kelly goal six minutes in gave them the initiative and they led by 2-10 to 0-12 at the end of the first period. A goal from diminuitive sub Josh Maher ended any slim hopes Walsh Island had in the second period and Bracknagh eased home.
There were two stories to be told about normal time. The resilience, work rate and sheer desire of Walsh Island along with the poverty of a very substandard Bracknagh side – Walsh Island have punched against their weight all year and were so close to a final berth.
Walsh Island worked like men possessed to get themselves into a winning position in the second half. They couldn't close it out as Bracknagh survived on their wits and it was telling that Walsh Island were far more disappointed at the extra time – they probably knew deep down that they had shot their bolt once they couldn't do it in regulation.
Bracknagh's diplay was shocking at times. They were way the better side in the first quarter but spurned chance after chance and Walsh Island so nearly punished them.
Bracknagh had nine first half wides while they missed a couple of great goal chances – Mikey Cunningham and Jason Dempsey were wide with clear chances at each end of the half and Bracknagh looked like they were in a different league early on as their pace opened up Walsh Island.
Those misses, however, took the sting out of their momentum as Walsh Island began to fight with typical spirit. It soon danwed on them that Bracknagh were seriously vulnerable as they turned a 0-3 to 0-1 deficit into a deserved 0-5 to 0-3 half time lead.
Walsh Island continued to take the game to the favourites for much of the second half. Super points from Thomas O'Connor and Oisin Murphy and an Alan Mulhall free had them four clear, 0-8 to 0-4 after 41 minutes. They were 0-9 to 0-5 ahead after 47 minutes and within touching distance of a famous win.
Bracknagh continued to have poor wides but they got back into it with a fine goal from full back Stefan Geoghegan with ten minutes left. Walsh Island could have won it in the next few minutes. Thomas O'Connor got another morale boosting point and they almost got a clinching goal with three minutes left – John Doyle hit the side netting with a very decent chance after Alan Mulhall did well to break the ball.
A goal at that stage would have killed Bracknagh off and they got out of jail. Joe Costello and Ciaran Donnelly levelled it up with two points in a minuite. Willie Mulhall put Walsh Island back in front with a 59th minute free but sub Robin Galbrith forced extra time with a 60th minute point.
While the win is the bottom line for Bracknagh, they will know that this display won't be anyway near good enough against Clonbullogue.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ian Duffy (Walsh Island): There was nothing Ian Duffy could have done about Bracknagh's three goals and he was a big factor in Walsh Island being so close. He managed his area well and his accuracy and ability to place long distance kickouts was a big reason Bracknagh went so close. On a day when Bracknagh's county star Peter Cunningham was short of his best – despite scoring three points from play plus a mark -, Thomas O'Connor and impressive Bracknagh forward Darren Kelly were also contenders.
Bracknagh: Peter Cunningham 0-4 (1m), Darren Kelly 1-1, Stefan Geoghegan 1-0, Robin Galbrith 0-2, Ciaran Donnelly, Joe Costello, Sean Dempsey, Emmet Geoghegan 0-1 each.
Walsh Island: Willie Mulhall 0-5 (4f), Alan Mulhall 0-4 (3f), Thomas O'Connor 0-2, Oisin Murphy 0-1
BRACKNAGH: Lee Farrell; David Costello, Stefan Geoghegan, Fionn Dempsey; Anthony Cunningham, Ciaran Donnelly, Colin Broderick; Jason Dempsey, Mark Dunne; Darren Kelly, Joe Costello, Sean Dempsey; Eoghan Geoghegan, Peter Cunningham, Mikey Cunningham. Subs – Robin Galbrith for Broderick (HT), Jim Hendy for Dunne (39m), Emmet Geoghegan for Mikey Cunningham (70m).
WALSH ISLAND: Ian Duffy; Rory Connolly, Evin Galvin, Emmet McKenna; Dylan Mahon, James Gallagher, Rory Galvin; Tommy Brereton, Thomas O'Connor; Jack Haverty, Willie Mulhall, Oisin Murphy; Jpohn Doyle, Alan Mulhall, Sean McCloskey. Subs – Colm Gavin for Haverty (HT), Jack Haverty for Connolly (46m), Adam Duffy for Haverty (70m), Jack Duffy for Mahon (74m).
Referee – Eamon O'Connor (Ballycommon).
Eamon O'Connor had a very good game and was fair in the way he refereed - though Walsh Island could have had a free at the end of normal time when Oisin Murphy looked to be pushed but a decision at that stage will always be under more scrutiny than a similar one earlier on.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
John Doyle hit the sidenetting with a goal chance with three minutes left. A goal would have put Walsh Island through and it kept the door open for Bracknagh.
The O'Connor Park pitch held up well despite a lot of rain before the game.
The achievement of three teams from Clonbullogue parish reaching semi-finals and two of them making the final.
Bracknagh play Clonbullogue in the final.
Wides: Bracknagh - 19 (9 in first half, 5 in 2nd half, 3 in 1st period extra time, 2 in 2nd period); Walsh Island – 9 (3 in first half, 6 in 2nd half, 0 in 1st period extra time, 0 in 2nd period.).
Yellow cards: Bracknagh – 2 (Stefan Geoghegan and Robin Galbrith); Walsh Island – 1 (Colm Gavin).
Black cards: 0.
Red cards: 0.
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