October 10th, 2015
St Gabriels: 1-13
Robert Emmetts: 3-15
The semi-final of the Ryan Cup was played in St Gabriels home pitch in East lane on a crisp autumn evening with a strong cross-field breeze blowing throughout. Almost from the throw-in Daryl Roberts got an early point and Eoin Chawke, with a free, had us at 2 a piece after the first 5 minutes. However St Gabriels snuck ahead a minute later with another point. Rory Costello, unlucky with an earlier effort, ran at the Gabriels defence, found a bit of space and unleashed a shot at goal. The goalkeeper made a fantastic save but Danny Buckley sniped in and flashed the ball to the net. It was somewhat against the run of play though, and the Gabriels were winning a lot of possession. We were playing 'catch-up' as they seemed to be bossing the play and soon they reclaimed that goal by rifling one of their own. That was the start of a purple patch for them and they went on to add another 7 points, to just two from us, over the next ten minutes. Crucially though, we stayed battling and teak tough defending from Mark Conroy and Paul Horkan prevented the damage from being any greater. As the half wore on though we began to find our feet - Fergus McMahon started winning a few 50/50 balls and Paddy Breen got in some great blocks. The all-cork midfield of Mícheál Ó Laochdha and Tadhg Healy began to establish themselves and soon our forwards began to pick up the type of possession they needed. Daryl Roberts fired over a neat point from the left corner, and set up Rory for another, while Tadhg struck two great ones himself. When Eoin Chawke knocked over a close range free it left us just two behind (1-10 to 1-8) as the half-time whistle sounded.
As soon as match was restarted the lads picked up where they left off and from 1 to 15 tore into their opponents. The half back-line started to dominate, Fergus McMahon expertly reading the play, was giving an exhibition of high-fielding and using the ball intelligently. Wing-back Paddy Breen and half-time sub Seán Finn were typically dogged, hassling, harrying and clearing every ball that dropped on them. Rory Costello was becoming a menace in the half forward line, winning a lot of possession and delivering into our dangerous full-forward line. We swapped a pointed free each before Eoin Chawke split the posts on the 7-minute mark. A few minutes later the same man popped up again, taking possession out on the 45 and running goalwards. He threw a hand-pass out left to Daryl as he neared the 21. Daryl darted left, drew the full back in and flicked the ball back out to Eoin, who blasted past the Gabriels goalie. We were in front for the first time since the early stages of the match, and the lead would not be relinquished. We were starting to motor now - Rory adding a classy score as we continued to press. Meanwhile the backs continued to keep everything tight. Paul Horkan was marshalling a very stingey full-back line, with Mark Conroy and Steven Griffey sweeping up everything. Seán Ryan's goal was well-protected, but when needed he dealt with a couple of potentially tricky high balls and confidently came off his line to sweep away a couple of loose ones. Cathal Keogh, who had been working hard all match, got in on the scoring act and curled over a massive point off his left. Mícheál burst onto a breaking ball on the right wing, weaved through a couple of tackles and struck over in a tight space. We were completely on top now, and the Gabriels only managed a solitary free to interrupt that sequence. Finally the coup de grace was added as some nice interplay between Daryl and Tadhg resulted in a lovely goal, buried in the bottom-left corner of the net. The Gabriels did manage to rifle over another free, but that was as close as they got, as Eoin Chawke roamed out towards midfield, found a bit of space and belted over a monster score.
In the end it was a fine win. The lads showed great heart and patience as they withstood the early Gabriels storm to find their feet and then find the target. After draws in our league and championship meetings it was good to get a win over our rivals, but there were no wild celebrations - the biggest match so far this year awaits in Ruislip next weekend: the Senior Hurling Championship semi-final against the holders, Kilburn Gaels.
12th September, 2015
Robert Emmetts: 2-9
Brothers Pearse: 0-2
Our final group match, against Brothers Pearse, eventually started just after three o'clock following a long delay. Despite conditions being very pleasant in sunny Greenford we proceeded to play out a low-scoring encounter. Playing against a stiff breeze in first half we were somehow finding it difficult to keep our shape and get a rhythm going. A Tadhg Healy point from play along with Daryl Roberts's frees were all we could muster and took a 4-2 lead in at half-time.
Kevin McMullan was clearly unhappy with what he was seeing and, during the break, let our lads know that a much greater effort would be needed if we were to have any ambitions in the this competition. A shaky start to second half saw us having to repel a couple of determined Pearses runs through the centre. However we found our feet with points from Daryl and Rory Costello, and could finally settle when Daryl broke through, having been released by Sean Finn. His initial effort was blocked but he managed to work the ball across to Eoin Chawke who buried it from close range. We had tightened up around the pitch: Tadhg and Mícheál well on top in centre-field and Paul Horkan was reading the play excellently from full-back. Meanwhile, up front, Seán Finn's energetic running was causing the Pearses plenty of problems. We were not making the most out of our possession though, despite Pearses making very little headway in attack. We finished the half strongly though - Jason Pyne came in for the injured Daryl Roberts and struck over a neat point after a quick lift and turn. Further points from Tadhg Healy, Eoin Chawke and Danny Buckley were sent over, before Danny showed his marker a clean pair of heels and buried the sliotar in the net from a tight angle to round off the scoring.
In the end it was a victory that ensured we finished third in the group but, leaving the field, we knew that plenty more hard work would be needed in training if we are to make an impact in the knock-out stages.
23rd August, 2015
Robert Emmetts: 5-12
Seán Treacys: 0-5
With a stiff breeze at our backs we opened our account with a goal. Rory Costello whipping a rebound to he net after Daryl Roberts's shot was blocked. The Treacys fired over a response in the fifth minute but amazingly that would be one of only two points we conceded in the first half. Our backs and midfield were completely on top. Tadhg and Mícheál picked up where they left off last week, dominating the centre-field area. Dogged but patient and disciplined defending from Kieran Fitz and his two corner-backs, Steven and Mark, snuffed out a couple of early danger moments from the Treacys pacy inside forward line. Paddy Breen cleared a long ball along the right sideline which was caught by Conor McMullan at his ankles. Still running at full pelt he spotted Tadhg Healy tearing past the 45 through the centre and supplied him with a slick shoulder-height pass. Tadhg did the needful and split the posts. We were unlucky not to be further ahead as a few long-range efforts went astray. However, we soon found out feet again with several good points through Eoin Chawke, Martin Fitz and a huge one from wing-back Andrew Nolan. The full-forward line was starting to get the type of service they needed and Daryl Roberts seemed to be in for a certain goal only to see the Treacys goalkeeper pull off a fantastic reaction save and deny him. As the half-time whistle blew we were ahead by 1-6 to 0-2.
Facing into the breeze in the second half we knew we would have to be more efficient and make our hard work evident on the scoreboard. The lads duly responded and set about hitting hard and early. Eoin Chawke drove a long range free on a low trajectory from the right hand wing. When the ball broke just outside the small square Daryl didn't have to be asked twice and whipped the sliotar into the bottom corner. That began a purple patch for our forwards, who were now adding composure and patience to their pace and aggression. Conor and Daryl held the ball up in the corners when required and struck crisp passes back toward the 21, picking out Rory Costello who flashed over a couple of points. Daryl himself soon raced through to stick his second goal. When Eoin Chawke pulled on a loose ball to rattle the net on the 40 minute mark the scoreboard read 4-7 to 0-2. Dinny O'Regan was playing selflessly, tenaciously battling for possession out on the left wing and setting up another couple of scores for Daryl and Rory. He then got in on the action himself, striking over a huge point off his left. Our backs continued to win their individual battles and completely shut down the Treacys goal threat. Meanwhile Eoin Chawke put the icing on an excellent individual display by batting a floated pass from Daryl Roberts into the net from the edge of the square. Kevin McMullan made a few changes for the last 15 minutes, with Danny Buckley, Mick O'Dwyer, Neil Clancy, Paddy Murphy and Seán Finn entering the fray. Battling performances from Mícheál, Andrew and Paddy meant there would be no late concessions, while Fergus expertly held the centre. Instead we continued to maintain concentration as we added points through Fergus McMahon, Seán Finn and a rasper from Rory Costello. The full time whistle sounded to signal our return to the SHC semi-finals after a few lean years.
15th August, 2015
Robert Emmetts: 4-12
Cú Chulainns: 1-9
A bright start saw us put two points up with our first two attacks through Mick O'Dwyer and Eoin Chawke, and after 10 minutes we were 3-1 ahead. We were well on top but some early wides meant that our dominance wasn't translating to the scoreboard. Our forwards were working well as a unit though, and were creating lots of chances. These finally paid off when Conor McMullan got on the end of a long Eoin Chawke delivery to flick the ball to the net overhead from close range. Minutes later Daryl Roberts cut through the Cú Chulainns defence. Appearing to be bottled up at first he laid the ball off to Mick O'Dwyer who created a bit of space for himself and returned the ball to Daryl who rattled the net. That left the score at 2-3 to 0-2 after 20 minutes. The midfield duo of Tadhg Healy and Mícheál Ó Laochdha were complementing each other well - Tadhg giving an exhibition of high-fielding and Mícheál expertly reading the breaking ball and delivering good quality ball to our forward lines. Our backs had also settled well and were winning their individual battles. Kieran Fitz led by example from full-back and was solid as a rock. Tigerish defending in the corners from Steven Griffey and Mark Conroy ensured that our goal-line was well-protected, where Mark Traynor confidently dealt with any high ball. Cú Chulainns were being restricted to long-range frees, while we managed a further couple of scores from play from Daryl Roberts and Eoin Chawke. At half-time we held a seven-point advantage: 2-5 to 0-4.
Despite our lead we knew that we were capable of improving, and Kevin McMullan reminded the lads that concentration would have to be maintained and work-rate upped if we were to be sure of the victory. The team responded immediately on the resumption and had four points flashed over in the space of five minutes. Denis O'Regan, having another excellent game at wing-forward was winning truckloads of primary possession from close-quarters and was rewarded with a score of his own. Our full-forward line was causing havoc for the Cú Chulainns - Eoin Chawke roamed freely, picking up loose ball and taking on the defence at every opportunity while Conor McMullan and Daryl Roberts in the corners were first to the ball every time. This was emphasised after less than ten minutes into the second half when Daryl burned his marker out near the left sideline, sped past the 21 and buried the sliotar in the bottom-corner of the goal. When Fergus McMahon put over a long-range free in the 40th minute the scoreboard read 3-10 to 0-5 in our favour.
As the clock ticked towards the 50 minute mark Cú Chulainns pressed hard for a goal to bring themselves back into the contest. A 21-yard free was drilled low, taking a deflection along the way, but Kieran Fitz's quick reflexes stopped the ball inches in front of the line. With 10 minutes to go we remained well in front, 3-11 to 0-9. The game was finally put to rest just over five minutes from the end as Mick O'Dwyer showed great composure and vision to pick out his captain, and fellow Kilkenny man, Martin Fitzpatrick running hard from centre-forward. Fitzy made no mistake, jinking past two Cú Chulainns defenders before rifling the ball to the roof of the net. A momentary lapse in concentration allowed Cú Chulainns in for a consolation goal just before full-time, but we held on to enjoy an excellent first win in our 2015 championship campaign.
9th August, 2015
St Gabriels: 2-13
Robert Emmetts: 2-13
On a sunny evening in Ruislip we started with a light breeze at our backs. We started brightly and were first to score. In a nip-and-tuck first half we enjoyed some early chances and were unlucky not to get a goal after Conor Campion robbed the full-back as he attempted to clear. Minutes later Daryl Roberts raced through on goal and fired just inside the 21, only for his shot to be deflected for a 65 in an excellent save. Eoin Chawke pointed though to get us to 3 points apiece. Some nice link-up play between Kieran Fitzpatrick and Daryl Roberts, after hard work by Rory Costello, put us in front again. Our defence was working hard - the full back line of Mark Conroy, Paul Horkan and Neil Magill snuffed out the Gabriel's goal threat, while Paddy Breen and Sean Finn on the wings were quick to read every breaking ball and support Fergus McMahon who was expertly holding the centre. Scores continued to be hard to come by but Denis O'Regan, who was proving to be a handful at left half-forward, struck a neat point off his left. Mick O'Dwyer was very unlucky from a tight angle minutes later after jinking inside the Gabriel's defence with some impressive stick work. After exchanging a couple of scores from placed balls we went in leading by two at the break.
Gabriel's showed their intent early on in the second half, pointing seconds after the throw-in and following it up with the equaliser a minute later. Kieran Fitz, who was having a stormer at centre-field, stemmed the tide with a reply of his own before a big swing in momentum. Gabriel's broke through our half back line and struck a low dipping shot. Sean Ryan, despite being unsighted by the low evening sun, managed to react quickly and deflect the ball out to the side. However the Gabriel's corner forward was quickest to react and pulled first time to drive the ball into the net, giving them a two point lead. We pulled a score back through a Mick O'Dwyer free, but minutes later were hit by a hammer blow. A long looping shot from midfield took a funny bounce on the 21, deceiving our full back line and leaving a Gabriel's corner forward one-on-one. He gave Sean no chance and stretched the gap to four. Our hopes seemed to be fading when they put a pointed free with that, while at the other end their defence seemed to grow in confidence. On the three-quarter mark we finally got a lucky break when a long-range Eoin Chawke free found its way to the net. The game caught fire as Gabriel's responded, but with only two between us entering the final five minutes our lads saw that a victory was within our grasp. We turned up the pressure as we searched for a winner. Sean Ryan dropped in a monstrous free and Danny Buckley floated in a huge sideline cut from near the 45 that bounced agonisingly off the post. Both attacks were cleared and as the clock ticked past the hour Paddy Murphy bravely fielded a high ball amid a thicket of hurleys and won a free. Sean Ryan obliged and launched another high ball down onto the Gabriel's square. The initial shot was batted out but Paddy Breen collected and ran hard at Gabriel's defence, laying off a hand-pass to Eoin Chawke. He drilled a rasping low shot into the impossibly crowded goalmouth. Fergus McMahon got a hurl in to block an attempted clearance and a first time pull drove the ball into the bottom-left corner of the net to give us the lead with time almost up. As we celebrated though the Gabriel's had the last say and quickly countered in a sweeping move to level with the last puck of the game.
The lads can be very proud of the spirit shown to fight back from the brink of defeat but will nevertheless be disappointed that outright victory escaped us. There's little time to dwell on the result though - next up is Cú Chulainns in a must-win game.
25th April 2015
Kilburn Gaels: 2-19
Robert Emmetts: 3-7
Despite facing into the stiff breeze in the second half we opened strongly and a lucky goal after five minutes brought us back into the match. Danny Best was working hard at centre-forward and won a couple of vital frees as he ran at the Kilburn defence, which Mick Dwyer tapped over. Kilburn soon started to fight back however, and just a few minutes later got a lucky goal of their own after a high ball in managed to sneak over the line. We were thrown a lifeline shortly afterwards though, as substitute Rory Costello gathered a ball just outside the '21 and rifled it to the back of the net off his left-hand side to put us two ahead with 15 minutes to go. Unfortunately that was as good as it got for us as the Kilburn attack began to find their range and hit several long-range scores. That run was only briefly interrupted by a Mick Dwyer free as they continued to press us. With about five minutes to go our defence was breached by one of the Kilburn forwards, who got a very good individual score by running strongly through to blast the ball to the roof of our net. The final score read Kilburn 2-19, Robert Emmetts 3-7.
Despite being disappointed with the margin of defeat at the end our lads can take some solace from the work-rate and commitment shown throughout. We were delighted to see several new members line out in the Emmetts colours for the first time and can be sure that, with a few more training sessions and matches together, we will be a force this summer in the championship. Emmetts abú!
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