Joe Mallon SFC round one
An absolutely enthralling encounter played out between two west Kildare rivals saw Johnstownbridge leave St Conleth's Park with a five-point win after finally shaking off a stubborn Carbury outfit who gave as good as they got for most of the tie.
The winners were able to start with their full array of Kildare stars despite Daniel Flynn, Keith Cribbin and his brother Paul carrying knocks in recent weeks, and they all played their part in a fine attacking display. Keith Cribbin had a masterclass in defence as he man-marked Eoghan O'Flaherty out of the game completely, with the Carbury star failing to strike a score from play in a very rare off day at the office.
Daniel Flynn began the game in excellent fashion by hurtling over a hanging effort from just to the left of the uprights, and a close range Sean Hurley free had them two to the good after three minutes. Paul Cribbin, who recovered from injury in time to take part in this game, added a third by the fifth minute as Johnstownbridge looked a polished outfit early on.
Carbury got a major break when they netted the game's first major with eight minutes on the clock, as a counter-attack ended with Terry Rossiter flicking the ball in to the onrushing Alan Kearney and he thundered an unstoppable shot past goalkeeper Ken Dixon.
That proved to be just a bit of respite for Carbury as Brian Flanagan's side took over for the next 10 minutes as they turned out on the style. They could have had a couple of goals to respond to Kearney's effort, but Cathal McNally shot wide and Dan Flynn saw a powerful close range shot saved by Carbury netminder Declan Conroy. They had to settle for points over the next few minutes as McNally slotted over two from close range either side of a brilliant Flynn point after he flicked the ball over the head of full-back Willie Groome to make space for the shot.
He eventually found the net midway through the half when he finished off a brilliant team move. His younger brother Luke registered a breathtaking mark from a Carbury kickout and the ball was worked across to Jimmy Farrell. The corner-forward went route one with a high ball to Flynn at the edge of the square, he caught, turned and buried a shot past Conroy.
Six points down, it looked bleak for Carbury, but they are nothing if not committed. A fine ball from Andy Dermody set up Terry Rossiter to kick Carbury's first point in the 18th minute, before Eoghan O'Flaherty stroked over his first free of the tie. Two further scores followed through Sean Costello and O'Flaherty from a free once again, cutting the margin down to two points as Carbury finally got a foothold in the game.
Johnstownbridge settled down once again though, and the game was relatively even for the remainder of the half. The best score of the first half came when custodian Dixon claimed a high ball, worked it to full-back Joey Higgins, and after he and Hurley brought it up field it was Sam Doran who slotted over from the left wing. The second goal arrived shortly afterwards, and this time Flynn was the creator rather than finisher. He carried powerfully before fisting it across to Farrell who palmed into the net.
Carbury finished strongly with points from Morgan O'Flaherty and Rossiter, ensuring the gap was only four points at the break as Johnstownbridge led 2-7 to 1-6.
The second half was one of those exhilarating affairs in which no side looked like they would take any real control of the game, and considering Johnstownbridge held a four-point lead, that probably suited them. It was like a game of cat and mouse as each time one side scored the other would respond almost immediately, and with Carbury opening the scoring in the half through Andy Dermody, it meant that the gap between the teams always remained at either three or four points until McNally edged them five clear with two minutes of normal time to go.
Paul Cribbin landed a couple of excellent points at the beginning of that period, while Dermody was the standout forward for the men wearing yellow as he landed three brilliant points in the third quarter that showcased all of the guile and class he possesses. McNally also stood out for the eventual winners, landing a couple of fine points on the break midway through the half, and with 10 minutes of play left the Kildare star's team led by 2-12 to 1-11.
The final exchanges didn't present much scoring action on Carbury's part, with just Eoghan O'Flaherty kicking a couple of points, but Johnstownbridge finished the game out strongly with scores from Hurley, Doran and McNally.
Scorers for Johnstownbridge: D Flynn 1-2, C McNally 0-5, S Hurley(3f) and P Cribbin 0-3 each, J Farrell 1-0, S Doran 0-2.
Scorers for Carbury: E O'Flaherty 0-5f, A Dermody 0-3, A Kearney 1-0, T Rossiter and S Costello 0-2 each, M O'Flaherty 0-1.
K Dixon; J O'Connor(E O'Donoghue 60mins), J Higgins, I McKeon(K McNally 42mins); G Doran(M Donnelly ht), L Flynn, K Cribbin; S McNally, B McNally; P Cribbin, C McNally, S Hurley; J Farrell, D Flynn, S Doran.
D Conroy; S Moore, W Groome, D Boyle; S McKeown, M O'Flaherty, A Crinnigan; S Costello, A Kearney; D Redmond(M Kelly 46mins), S McGlynn(C Kearney 58mins), B O'Flaherty; T Rossiter(J Kelly 55mins), E O'Flaherty, A Dermody.
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