Senior Football League Division 1 semi-final
Athy will meet Moorefield in the Division 1 League final after a steely defensive effort in the second half saw them edge past Carbury in what was admittedly a tame enough affair.
The victors held their opponents to just two points in the second half – the first of which arrived a minute from the end – and scored eight of their own to overturn a half-time deficit and eventually ease over the finish line.
A lacklustre first half rarely threatened to spark into life as this game seemed to lack the zip and intensity that should come with a Division 1 semi-final, and the plethora of wides kicked – especially by Athy – left the very sparse crowd of spectators quite frustrated at times.
The first score arrived after two minutes and it went Carbury’s way as Stephen McGlynn swung over the first of his three points in the opening half from the left wing, before James Eaton responded at the other end through a ’45.
The lively Sean Haslem then landed a beauty for the men from west Kildare, and a follow-up point from a free courtesy of Jack Cully helped to push Carbury into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish before the break.
The midway point of the half was scrappy enough as Athy began to waste chances, though they did hit the target with a couple of straightforward frees from Liam McGovern either side of a converted ’45 from Carbury ‘keeper Declan Conroy at the other end.
Sean McLoughlin’s men then hit a purple patch that helped them pull away from the men in red, with their good spell started by a lovely move that was finished off by former county man Morgan O’Flaherty. Another couple of quickfire scores from McGlynn and Haslem pushed Carbury four points clear, before Athy finally mustered a response through an Eaton free.
The half concluded with McGlynn and Barry Kelly swapping points at either end as Carbury went into the interval with an 0-8 to 0-3 lead.
Having managed only one point from play in the first half and looking rather lethargic in attack, Athy emerged as a transformed team at the start of the second period. Their defence was the platform for their improvement as a red wall met Carbury attackers every time they made it to the ’45, and with Barry Kelly, Pascal Connell and Cian Reynolds leading the counter-attack, they looked menacing on the break.
A lovely score by Tadgh Foley got Emmanuel Kennedy’s side motoring, before Conor Ronan cut the deficit to one with a tidy effort. McGovern levelled matters in the 39th minute as he swung over a sensational effort on the turn from 40 metres out, and a converted free from the same player soon after pushed Athy into the lead for the first time.
Further scores from Eaton and a brilliant point on the break from Sean Ronan put the south Kildare club well in command as the game entered the final 10 minutes, and even when Carbury had their best sight on goal through Derek McCormack, his close range effort was smothered by Conor Ronan.
Carbury finally landed their first score of the second half in the 59th minute when corner-back Danny Boyle bombed over a long range point, but Athy closed the game out comfortably with scores from Connell and Tony Gibbons towards the end.
Scorers for Athy: L McGovern 0-4(3f), J Eaton 0-3(2f, 1’45), T Foley, T Gibbons, P Connell, C Ronan, S Ronan and B Kelly 0-1 each.
Scorers for Carbury: S McGlynn 0-3, S Haslem 0-2, M O’Flaherty, D Boyle, J Cully(1f) and D Conroy(1’45) 0-1 each.
Stephen Davis(Matthew Anderson 40mins); Tomas Foley, Killian Mulhall, Conor Ronan; Ross Bell, Tony Gibbons, Sean Ronan; Pascal Connell, David McGovern(Mick Foley 40mins); Liam McGovern, Cian Reynolds(Brian Kinahan 60mins), James Eaton; Barry Kelly, Tadgh Foley, Danny O’Keefe(Darroch Mulhall 52mins).
Declan Conroy; Kevin O’Neill(Dean Cummins 57mins), Josh Browne, Danny Boyle; Andy Dermody, Brian O’Flaherty(James Carey 48mins), Ger Hunston; Willie Groome, Morgan O’Flaherty; Jimmy Dunne(James Kelly 43mins), Derek McCormack, Stephen McGlynn; Jack Cully, Mark Cully(Colm Reilly 56mins), Sean Haslem.
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