The Wicklow SHC final ended in a draw at Aughrim.
The Wicklow SHC final ended in a draw at Aughrim.

Wicklow SHC Final: Kavanagh's late point forces a replay

Wicklow SHC final

Bray Emmets 0-16 Glenealy 0-16

By Brendan Lawrence at Aughrim

A stunning late point from substitute Jack Kavanagh saved the day for Glenealy in a pulsating Lightning Protection Ireland Senior hurling championship final in the County Grounds in Aughrim on Sunday afternoon.

Bray Emmets, going for their fourth O’Donoghue Cup on the trot, were never allowed to open up the shoulders as they had done in previous finals by superb Glenealy defending, epitomised by the sweeping Gary Byrne who was outstanding.

Glenealy’s renowned goal threat was never more real than in those last tense few moments as long ball after long ball rained down on top of Gavin Weir and Jonathan O’Neill Jnr but the Bray defence, aided by the sweeping Padraig Doyle, held the Reds at bay and they will get another chance at the four-in-a-row next weekend.

A stop-start, opening half was exactly what the challengers Glenealy would have wanted given that they were playing against the breeze and were wary of the goal threat of a free-flowing Bray Emmets.

Michael Anthony O’Neill’s men handled that threat extremely well, limiting the defending champions to just two points from play, both from the hurl of team captain Marc Lennon, while Matthew Traynor won almost all his one-on-one battles with Bray sharpshooter Christy Moorehouse who accounted for Bray’s other five points.

Traynor was not just utilised as a man marker, however. He was on the free-taking duties for any infringement within his own half and his massive bombs caused the Bray half-back line all sorts of problems with the likes of Danny Staunton, Ronan Manley and Jamie Byrne prowling for breaking ball.

The superb Danny Staunton opened the scoring from one of Traynor’s frees from deep, but Moorehouse struck back and would add two more to open up a 0-3 to 0-1 lead with five gone.

Glenealy steadied, helped by a stoppage, and Traynor (free) and Gavin Weir (free) leveled matters with nine on the clock.

Leading 0-7 to 0-4 with 20 gone was probably the position Michael Anthony O’Neill would have taken before the game and that’s where they found themselves thanks to points from Staunton, Jonathan O’Neill Jnr and another Weir free.

Moorehouse steadied the ship with a free, but Weir struck back while Lennon and Moorehouse took us to the break with Glenealy leading by one at 0-8 to 0-7.

Moorehouse drew the sides level after the restart and it was nip and tuck from then until the 52nd minute when Bray began their surge for the line with three points in a row from Marc Lennon, who did almost everything in his power to get his side over the line, Moorehouse (free) and Mikey Boland.

But Glenealy showed their class when pulling it back to a single point at 0-16 to 0-15 with points from Danny Staunton and Weir (two frees) while the last chance fell to Jack Kavanagh who hoisted over a beautiful score to the sheer delight of the Glenealy faithful and the final whistle sounded soon after sending both on a collision course for next weekend.

Scorers for Bray Emmets: Christy Moorehouse 0-10 (10fs), Marc Lennon 0-4, Mikey Boland and Davy Maloney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Glenaly: Gavin Weir 0-8 (7fs), Danny Staunton 0-5 (1f), Jonathan O'Neill Jnr, Jack Kavanagh, and Matthew Traynor (f) 0-1 each.

Bray Emmets: Peter O’Reilly; Ben Kearney, Karl Lacey, Seanie Maloney; Cian Lohan, Padraig Doyle, John Henderson; Diarmuid Masterson, Luke Maloney; Marc Lennon, Ronan McMahon, Eoin McCormack; Davy Maloney, Christy Moorehouse, Mikey Boland.

Subs: Ben Kearney for R McMahon (41), Arran Murphy for L Maloney (56).

Glenealy: Cian Staunton; Joey Driver, Warren Kavanagh, Paul O’Brien; Matthew Traynor, Gary Byrne, Sam O’Dowd; Robert Byrne, Ronan Manley; Gavin Weir, Danny Staunton, Tommy Doyle; Jonathan O’Neill Jnr, Alan Driver, Jamie Byrne.

Subs: Jack Kavanagh for J Byrne (49), James Byrne for R Byrne (56), Declan Conyard for A Driver (60)

Referee: Max Molloy (Annacurra).