Avondale have learned from their previous campaign defeats, and are hoping for a competitive game when they meet St. Pat’s in the senior football championship semi-final, according to manager David Burke.
The Dales claimed a major scalp over 2018 finalists Rathnew to earn their place in this year’s championship semi-finals, with Conor Byrne scoring a dramatic extra-time goal to give his side the edge in a thriller on Sunday evening.
Following the game, Avondale senior manager David Burke said that the team’s journey to the championship semi-finals has given the players plenty of experiences to learn from, while they will be hoping to be more competitive against Pat’s than they were earlier in the campaign.
“We got two bad defeats in the group stage, and I think we learned an awful lot,” he told WicklowNews. “We are a young team, and I think they came back and showed heart. To beat Rathnew, you have to show heart, and I think we showed loads of it.
“Rathnew have been the flag-bearers for Wicklow football. They have done the county proud for many years. We like to be able to compete and we’re absolutely delighted to get through to a county semi-final.
“Rathnew are a very experienced team, with the likes of James Stafford and Leighton Glynn. The fact that the lads hung in there will stand to them. I think we’re a team for the future. We’re very much in the process of development.”
Avondale’s victory over Harry Murphy’s men featured tremendous performances throughout the team, with Eoin and David Baker, Dean Gahan, Oisin and Conor McGraynor, Conor Byrne, Barry Sheehan, and Brian Burke — who made two important saves from Gary Byrne late on — among those who put in starring roles in the dramatic clash.
None of this escaped their manager, who said: “The likes of Conor Byrne and Oisin McGraynor had massive games.
“I thought Barry Sheehan had a fantastic game in midfield, and I am absolutely delighted for him. He has been a soldier for Avondale. Brian’s kickouts have been huge this season, his saves have kept us in all year, so I am delighted for him.
“We’ve a very serious opposition in St. Pat’s in the semi-final. They gave us a very bad beating in the group, and hopefully it will be a far more competitive game in the semi-final.
Avondale will meet a familiar foe in the semi-finals in the form of holders St. Pat’s, who handed the Dales a heavy 3-14 to 0-07 defeat earlier in the championship. The two will face-off again in Aughrim on Saturday, the 28th of September,