Kildare Veteran Johnny Doyle Keeps Allenwood in the Game to Force Replay in Injury-Time
Senior Football Championship Second Round Sun 24th Aug 2014 at St. Conleth’s Park Newbridge
JTB 3-12 Allenwood 0-21
As the crowds filed into Newbridge under the threatening cloud above nobody really knew what to expect from two teams which hadn’t seen Championship football since May. With the County campaign now over the Club Championship was now back at the top of the Kildare GAA agenda.
The novelty for all spectators to see the now retired (from County Football) Johnny Doyle in action again after calling a halt to his inter-county career before the Championship started. Doyle of course proved that he has plenty of miles left on the clock at club level, even though his left knee donned a strap above and below. Johnstownbridge were missing some key players for the game such as Seán Hurley, Paul Cribben, Derek Donegan and Luke Flynn not to mention his brother Daniel Flynn now plying his trade in Port Adelaide Australia. One or two of these players missing would be hard hitting to any club in the County and the gauntlet was laid down to some of the younger players to step into the breach and take up the slack, this challenge they accepted and to be fair put their everything into their performance in true Johnstownbridge tradition and spirit. The reward for the winners a coveted place in the quarter final, for the losers, entry to Round 3 with hopes still alive.
From the throw-in Johnstownbridge picked out a fine score from the boot of Niall Vaughan after only 30 seconds. This effort was followed by a wide from the men from the Bog of Allen. Just 3 minutes had elapsed on the clock before Johnny Doyle had his first effort from a free given away by Paul Mooney, which he converted with ease, his first of ten placed kicks he would rack up before the final whistle. Mickey Donnelly’s job was to keep a reign on Doyle and to his credit kept the Legend scoreless from play – something not many in the same position have been able to do….if anyone!
Ian Farrell’s kick outs uncharacteristically putting the ‘Bridge under pressure early on lead to a point from the boot of Johnny Byrne after a dummy-solo, a player who also has worn the white of Kildare in both codes. Jason Judge followed shortly after with a wide for Allenwood to leave the teams still with the narrowest of margins two points to one. After the sixth minute was over, Doyle again pointed from a free inside the ‘D’ to open the gap to two. Jimmy Farrell’s effort immediately afterward dropped short, into the goalkeeper Shane McCormack’s hands. Doyle then converted a 45 from a move created by him leading to the dead ball effort from the ground. Allenwood lead 0-04 to 0-01 after eight minutes.
Niall Vaughan replied to this equalising with a pin-point goal effort into the town end less than a minute later, created by Keith Cribben winning primary possession in midfield, finding Kelvin McNally who superbly set up Niall’s chance. JTB 1-01 Allenwood 0-04. JTB almost got a second goal on the scoreboard after a move from several players leading to Keith’s goal effort blocked twice to stop the goal.
Allenwood’s Mark Delaney tried to keep Cathal McNally under wraps but after 12 minutes Cotzy got his first score on the board with a point off his left boot to give his side the lead again. However Doyle levelled from a free and Eanna O’Neill put Allenwood ahead from play in the 15th minute followed by a Byrne point to put three between the sides 1-02 to 0-08. Niall Vaughan cleverly fisted the ball over the bar minutes later to ensure the men in blue weren’t going to get out of sight clawing back to a two point margin in the 19th minute. Mickey Donnelly picked up a yellow for a challenge off the ball on Johnny Doyle who converted the free to open back his side’s lead again to 3 points after 23 minutes. Doyle playing in the half forward line now drifting into midfield at times, to get away from Mickey, or to get a handle on midfield again or perhaps to give his now tired looking legs a break and try to become a playmaker to get his team’s momentum back again…or a mixture of these reasons perhaps.
Eoin O’Donoghue converts a free 20 metres out after Ian McKeon was taken to the turf unfairly followed by a goal from Cotzy. Cotzy struck the net after a pass from Des Holton wearing number 3 but playing the full forward line all day, linking up with Jimmy Farrell, Seamus McNally to create the chance and get a point ahead. JTB 2-04 Allenwood 0-09. Keith pointed from play shortly after, from a well worked build up started by team Captain and engine room that is Jamesie O’Connor who lead by example in the backs all day forcing the Allenwood attacker to foul the ball after having all his options swallowed up.
Doyle again pointed from the middle of the ‘D’ after an innocuous challenge and subsequent free kick much to the disappointment of the ‘Bridge supporters who felt the decision was unfair. Jason Judge levelled the game just before the break from a chance created by Doyle
The teams went into the break level JTB 2-05 Allenwood 0-11. This was a good place to be as things weren’t going as well as we would have liked and frees conceded were too many. The rain came down during the break as supporters chatted under the comfort of the covered stand in the County grounds.
The second half started brightly for the ‘Bridge with a great opening point from Des Holton still confusing the backs wearing the number 3 jersey, followed by scores from Paul Mooney, Eoin, Jimmy and Kelvin to leave 4 points now between the teams. Cotzy made it 7 after finding the net for the second time in the 43rd minute after Jimmy kicked a clever ball into the right corner, the Kildare striker took no prisoners peeling off two defenders to find the left corner with a textbook finish. Whatever was said at the break resonated within the hearts and minds of the lads who took the shackles off in all positions pressing high up the field giving Allenwood little or no time on the ball.
However a purple patch was always going to appear for the Bogmen who dug deep to ensure they kept a grasp on a game beginning to get out of their sights.
After 52 minutes had elapsed Allenwood had the clawed their way back the scoreboard read JTB 3-10 Allenwood 0-17 a two point game now. Much of this resurgence credited to Doyle who even though looked as though he was carrying a knock found where to be at the right time to link well with his clubmates.
Ernie Price got Allenwood back to within a point with a great score from play followed by a Keith Cribben point shortly after to cancel it out. Doyle added another free to lead, yet again cancelled out by Keith with a free into the breeze from 47 metres into the Kilcullen end JTB 3-12 Allenwood 0-19.
Scott Dunne, a replacement for Ernie Price began to cause problems for Johnstownbridge running at pace and opening space and then followed a point which many deemed to be left of the upright, however the point counted as St. Conleth’s has yet to be afforded the luxury of Hawkeye! A point only separated the sides into injury time. Allenwood won a free immediately after the ‘Bridge hit the upright from the boot of Keith which surely would have sealed the deal for the men from the top end of the county. 46 metres out and Doyle true to his character inched the ball over the bar with the help of the breeze. Draw game JTB 3-12 Allenwood 0-21 points.
To be impartial it was the fairest result for both teams, either could and perhaps should have sealed the deal at times but both showed tremendous determination to come from behind at different stages. The replay will be held in Kilcock GAA Wednesday 27th at 8pm and promises to be a thriller.
I urge everyone to get to the game and get behind OUR lads. As already mentioned there were some serious performances throughout the field and in every position, every last bit of effort was given by all, in fact mentioning names of individuals seems unfair as every last player was excellent. If we can repeat this performance and give away less frees to the machine that still is Johnny Doyle, this game is there for the taking!
Well done lads it’s great to see Johnstownbridge giving a big performance on the big stage once again even when the odds are stacked against us.
Allenwood 1 S McCormack, 2 M McCormack 0-01, 3 M Hogarty, 4 E Smullen, 5 S Conlon, 6 M Delaney, 7 D Johnson, 8 E O’Neill 0-01, 9 J Byrne 0-02, 10 M Baneham, 11 J Doyle 0-10, 12 T Byrne, 13 C Sullivan 0-02, 14 J Judge 0-03, 15 E Price 0-02
Johnstownbridge 1 I Farrell, 2 J O’Connor, 3 D Holton 0-01, 4 P Mooney 0-01, 18 M Donnelly, 6 Cian Farrell, 7 E O’Donoghue 0-02, 8 S McNally, 20 K McNally 0-01, 10 I McKeon, 11 K Cribben 0-03, 21 G Doran, 13 J Farrell 0-01, 14 C McNally 2-01, 24 N Vaughan 1-02