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Match Reports 2016
London Senior Hurling Champions!

All Ireland Intermediate Club Quarter Final

posted 22 May 2017, 07:44 by Robert Emmetts PRO

14th January 2017
Robert Emmetts 0-16
St Brigids, Cloughmills (Antrim) 0-14

With Ruislip's redevelopment still underway, Greenford was the venue for our All-Ireland clash with St Brigids. The lads were keen to make amends for last year's quarter final loss to Abbeyknockmoy but were up against a team who had been through a tough Antrim and Ulster campaign to reach this stage. By contrast our last championship game was the county final back in October. However Kevin McMullan and Mark Traynor made sure the lads were kept on their toes in Greenford, and some timely challenge games against London and Meath at Christmas had helped to refocus us. 

By the time the match got underway the morning's rain had mostly blown off, but the harsh weather of the previous few days had left conditions cold and heavy underfoot. First blood went to the Antrim men after we conceded a 65, and a point from play was added a couple of minutes later. We had to wait until the tenth minute for our opening score from a Richie Murphy free. It was a nervy opening from us and we seemed to be making some rushed decisions in our attacking moves. Despite this, it was clear that our attitude was still right, as our work rate and defensive play from 1-15 was good. After a couple of frees were exchanged we got our first point from play when Cathal Kehoe fired over an excellent score to level the match at 3 each. The slow surface meant that the match was developing into a stop-start affair, with free-takers from both sides having a big part to play. We were finding our feet though and soon began to exert some pressure of our own. Sean Ryan was serving up a mix of huge puck outs, landing on our full forward line, and low trajectory arrows, aimed into the path of our wing forwards. It was very much tit-for-tat, with scores from Richie Murphy (free) and Tomás Lawrence (play) cancelling out efforts from St Brigids. When the half time whistle sounded we were deadlocked at 5 points a-piece.

The second half picked up where the first left off and Richie was called on to rifle over a couple of early frees as he went toe-to-toe with Cloughmills's excellent marksman. About ten minutes in however, we suffered a downturn in fortunes. St Brigids managed to get a run on us and strung two points together in almost as many minutes to give them a decisive advantage. Soon after, Paddy Breen, who was having a typically excellent performance, went down with a knee injury and had to be carried from the field of play. However, Fergus McMahon entered the fray and won a free with the first ball that landed on him. Our defence was more than coping well and our two corner backs, Mark Conroy and Conor Walsh, were delivering man-of-the-match performances in an exhibition of aggressive tackling, close control and intelligent clearances. Paul Horkan was the rock that several Cloughmills attacks perished on, and his ability to win ball in a ruck and distribute it efficiently was giving our midfielders and forwards the platform that they needed. Daryl Roberts's pace was causing all sorts of havoc for the opposition defence and he launched a huge score over from just outside the 45 near the left wing to narrow the gap. However the lead was back to 10-8 moments later after another free. As the 20 minute mark came and went scores became increasingly hard to come by and the tension in the ground rose steadily. There was no panic on the line though, and Mick O'Dwyer, Eoin Chawke and Martin Fitzpatrick were sprung from the bench. All three had an impact, with Mick and Eoin both winning 50-50 balls and delivering into our full forward line. Soon after, Martin Fitz picked up possession in the corner and forced his man into a foul, allowing Richie to bring the gap back to one. With time almost up we went on the attack again but lost possession close to the Brigids goal. It seemed that the chance had gone but inside forwards Eamon Kenny and Daryl Roberts showed great determination and discipline by hounding the corner back into a cul-de-sac and forcing him to over-carry. Richie easily slotted over the equaliser as we entered injury time. There was still time for a last piece of drama though. Tomás gathered possession in midfield and tore off down the left wing. Surrounded by three Cloughmills players he somehow got a shot away which sailed over the bar. Sadly the ref's whistle had already sounded for the free. Richie stood over the most difficult one of the day but it drifted agonisingly to the right. Extra time it was. 

Kevin, Mark and Denis had a few minutes to regroup and issue a fresh set of instructions to the boys. Once the ball was thrown in we didn't seem to show any effects of the previous hours battle. Instead we found an extra gear and we soon started to find space. We hit three without reply to suddenly accelerate away for the first time in the game. Just as the first period drew to a close St Brigids did manage to pull one back from a free, which was, amazingly, their first score since midway through the second half of normal time. Early in the second period it was the Cloughmills lads turn to counterpunch and they drew level within five minutes. Our fitness levels were showing however, and a couple of inspirational cameos signalled that this would be our day. First Richie Murphy eyed up a free in the centre of the field outside the 65. As the wind suddenly kicked up it looked like a bridge too far, but he connected sweetly and sent the sliotar soaring high over the centre of the crossbar. Minutes later Paul Horkan intercepted an attack deep in our own half and, with the elements against him, set off on a solo run, leaving several attackers in his wake before releasing Tomás in midfield. Richie pointed yet another free to put us a goal ahead with time almost up. A nerve wracking period of injury time gave Cloughmills one last throw of the dice. A free in the centre of the field just outside the 21 was their last hope. However with huge relief we watched it whizz just over Sean Ryan's crossbar. The long whistle sounded amid huge cheers from our loyal band of followers!

Senior Hurling Championship Final 2016: Robert Emmetts vs. St Gabriels

posted 22 May 2017, 07:21 by Robert Emmetts PRO

16th October 2016
Robert Emmetts: 2-13
St Gabriels: 1-12

It was a tense opening, as is to be expected for a championship final, with sticks flying in the early exchanges. The result being a pointed free each. However our forwards were showing some potential - Bill Walsh was released by Tomás Lawrence inside the 14 but his shot, from a very tight angle, fizzed wide. Then Eoin Chawke, shielding the ball cleverly, allowed it to run into space, before gathering and delivering across the face of goal towards the onrushing Richie Murphy. The pass was inches beyond his fingertips. Then, Padge Buckley landed a big free deep into the Gabriel's half. The ball broke, with Daryl Roberts quickly snapping it up. A couple of deft sidesteps later he found a yard of space and let fly from just outside the 21, rifling the ball to the roof of the net. We seemed a bit jittery then though, and let a few decent chances slip through our fingers. We also started to give away frees, and the Gabs weren't making any mistake, and started chipping away at our lead. With about ten minutes gone we suffered a blow, losing Bill Walsh to a red card. Tomás Lawrence managed a nice score from play but at this stage the Gabriel's had managed to sneak a point ahead. They didn't manage to capitalise though, and, after a decent attack by us looked like it had broken down, the Gabriel's clearance was somehow blocked. Daryl picked up the break, and in a flash had the ball over at Eoin Chawke's feet just outside the 21. He whipped on it, driving it into the bottom corner of the goal and we were 2 points up again. That gave us the lift we needed, allowing us to weather the storm until half time. We went in a point up: 2-3 to 0-8.

We were still competing well but the scores, apart from the opportunism of the goals, just weren't really coming together for us, so the question of how we'd cope with a man down for another half an hour wasn't entirely settled. Still, we now had the hill and the breeze behind us.

A good start saw Eoin put another free on the board before there was another game changer. This time a St Gabriels player saw red. Now, with 25 mins to go, it was 14 on 14 and suddenly the pendulum started swinging back our way. Another free was landed by Eoin, then Daryl from play, while Denis O'Regan stole one from centre field giving us a 5 point cushion. Padge Buckley was landing puck outs on their 21 and we had several ball-winners in there - in particular Edmond Kenny and Richie Murphy, who either won or broke most of the balls that went in and we looked dangerous. However we still weren't putting every chance away and Gabriels were still just three behind with 15 mins to go. Our backs had looked very solid throughout, with Steven Griffey at full back and Paul Horkan centre forming a strong spine. There was, however, a hairy moment when one of the Gabriels forwards got onto a loose ball and went on the charge, unimpeded. He let fly just outside the 21 but somehow the ball whizzed past our goal and wide. We kept plugging away though - Cathal Kehoe came on and struck over a nice score to put us 5 up again. Then, with minutes to go, a misunderstanding in our full back line led to a breaking ball which was whipped to the net, suddenly making it a two point game. No panic though - Fergus McMahon, who had just come on wing back, picked up possession and showed some quick wrists to drive a pass at Kieran Morrissey in midfield. Another point. Then, after a big puck out, Kieran won a free, allowing Eoin to put us 4 ahead entering injury time. It was relief all around when the full-time whistle sounded shortly thereafter, and delight when Tadhg Healy, inspirational at wing-back, lifted the Harrell Cup on behalf of the club.

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