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Dearg retained the Charlie Byrne (Division 3) Cup thanks to three first half goals.

The Redcross based outfit scored three times in an 18-minute spell to defeat Dargle in the final on Saturday afternoon.

The Bray side rallied early in the second period at Celtic Park in Arklow. But the damage had already been done.

It was the fourth meeting of the clubs in all competitions this season.

Dearg had won the two Division 3 league matches – 5-2 at the People’s Park in Bray back in February; and 3-0 last April at Cullen Park.

But Rovers had won the Wicklow Cup first round tie 2-1 last January in Bray.

This game however was decided by a long-ball tactic.

‘Celtic plan for goalkeeper Daragh Hosey – whose long kick was major factor in the game on a tight pitch to – to punt the ball to target man Michael Murphy worked.

They scored two goals off it as Rovers never got to grips with the big front man in the opening half. When they finally did reshape after the interval, it was too late.  

Playing their third Charlie Byrne Cup final in a row, Dearg went ahead in the 16th minute.

After Alan Power was felled 22-yards out, Craig Browne whipped a free around the wall. Jamie Curran initially saved at the foot of the left post. But the ball bounced up and into the roof of the net.

They doubled that lead on 26 minutes. Hosey launched a free kick from his own half. Murphy held off his marker and looped a header from the back inside the box back across goal which dropped past Curran.

It became 3-0 on 34 minutes. Hosey boomed another long kick. This time, Dargle defender Steven Temple headed. But backwards into his own goal.

It could have bene worse had Murphy’s header off Andrew Reilly’s free not come back off the woodwork in the 39th minute.

To their credit, the Bray team gave it a right go after the interval.

It took a world class save by Hosey to somehow fingertip Ross O’Brien’s close -range drive over the bar on 52 minutes.

They pulled one back 90 seconds later. James Kehoe’s cross from the right-flank was only cleared to waiting Allen Harris. His low placed effort from 12-yards took a deflection on its way to the net.

DEARG CELTIC: Daragh Hosey; Niall Garvey, Owen Brennan, James Cullen; Chris Arthur, James Power, Andrew Reilly, Alan Power, Craig Browne; John Andrew Kinsella, Michael Murphy. SUBS: Philip Murphy (for Craig Browne 77 mins), Alan Hudson (for Kinsella 87 mins), Jordan O’Connor (for Arthur 90 mins), Adam Browne (for Cullen 90 + 3 mins), Bobby Belton, Tom McKenna, Keith Stafford (all not used).

DARGLE ROVERS: Jamie Curran; Bobby Messett, David Dixon, Steven Temple, Wes Kehoe; James Kehoe, Luke Barry, Padraig Devlin, Tom Mahoney; Luke Egan; Allen Harris; Ross O’Brien. SUBS: Gordon McKeever (for Mahoney half time), Tom Treanor (for Dixon 52 mins), Aaron Brack (for Harris 74 mins), Adam Kelly (for James Kehoe 84 mins), Luke Egan, Dan Hill, Neil Cahill (all not used).

REFEREE: Owen White. ASSISTANTS: Paul Murphy, Seamus Byrne.

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