Cool Hand Luke the hero as Argideen Rangers dethrone champs Tadhg MacCarthaigh in thriller

September 19th, 2022 2:00 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Argideen Rangers' Matthew Lawton goes past Tadhg MacCarthaigh's Eoin O'Donovan during the Bandon Co-op JAFC semi-final at Dunmanway on Tuesday night.

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ARGIDEEN Rangers dethroned champions Tadhg MacCarthaigh to set up a Bandon Co-op Carbery JAFC decider with St James following a dramatic semi-final in Dunmanway.

An engaging battle, dominated by defences, exploded into life as the clock reached 60 minutes.

The reigning champions lost Colm O’Driscoll to a red card and David O’Connor to a black card before a Lorcan O’Leary free stretched Rangers’ advantage, 1-9 to 1-5, in the third minute of injury-time.

Thirteen-man Caheragh responded with Paddy Burke landing a free. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Tadhg MacCarthaigh threw everyone forward, including goalkeeper Patick Kirby, and were awarded a penalty following a goalmouth scramble after eight minutes of added time.

Up stepped Brian O’Driscoll to thunder his spot-kick towards the top corner. That was young goalkeeper Luke McCarthy’s cue to pull off a stunning save however, and the final whistle blew to kick off wild Argideen Rangers’ celebrations.

Argideen Rangers' Matthew Lawton goes past Tadhg MacCarthaigh's Eoin O'Donovan during the Bandon Co-op JAFC semi-final at Dunmanway.

Trying to make sense of it all in the immediate aftermath of an incredible finish was Rangers selector Denis O’Leary.

‘Hugely proud of the players and emotional at the way the game finished,’ O’Leary told The Southern Star.

‘We had a tough week. We had hurling on Saturday and were made to play (football) three days later. It is the same group of players, a small panel. We were missing a few through injury and suspension too. The lads had to dig deep tonight and I thought they were outstanding.

‘I am delighted for our goalkeeper Luke McCarthy. He is a young fella that was drafted in at the start of the year when our other goalkeeper went to Australia. He would have been disappointed with conceding the first goal but, by God, did he make up for it there at the end.’

Defensively disciplined and patient in possession, Argideen thoroughly deserved their victory despite coming close to throwing it all away in the dying embers. Paudie Kissane’s influence is obvious on a defensively sound team full of running and with plenty of attacking weapons.

Credit to Tadgh MacCarthaigh for not giving up their title without a battle. Failing to score a point in the first half, kicking ten wides and wasting numerous goal chances proved the 2021 West Cork champions’ undoing.

Darragh Holland edged Argideen in front courtesy of a free. Both teams were happy to retain possession and build slowly from the back during an early period when Tadhg MacCarthaigh kicked three wides.

Sean Walsh cut in from the left and forced Paddy Burke to tip a goal bound shot over the Caheragh crossbar to double his side’s lead after eight minutes.

Tadhg MacCarthaigh's Sean McCarthy is challenged by Argideen Rangers' Andrew Guinevan during the Bandon Co-op JAFC semi-final at Dunmanway. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

Argideen continued to set the tempo and enjoyed the majority of possession. In response, a hard-tackling Tadhg MacCarthaigh defence repeatedly denied their opponents opportunities in the final third.

It took a fortuitous Eoin O’Donovan effort from wide on the right to get Tadhg MacCarthaigh on the scoreboard. O’Donovan’s attempt at a point crept under the crossbar and into the net to conclude the opening quarter.

Despite that boost, Caheragh continued to struggle to make any headway in front of goal. Argideen’s defence was proving every bit as reliable as their opponents.

Made to work for every opening, Rangers levelled matters from a close-range Darragh Holland free. Another Caheragh indiscretion was punished by Holland when Lorcan O’Leary was fouled shortly after. O’Leary dusted himself down after another foul and split the posts to hand Argideen a merited 0-5 to 1-0 interval lead.

Paddy Burke reduced the deficit from a free but Tadhg MacCarthaigh’s wayward shooting remained an issue. Leon Burke and James McCarthy’s half-time introductions had the desired effect as both substitutes split the posts and Burke added another to push Caheragh in front for the first time, 1-4 to 0-6.

Rangers’ response was superb. The Timoleague club’s Gerry Crowley fisted over a point and Lorcan O’Leary converted a free prior to a magnificent team move. Slicing through the heart of their opposing defence, Darragh Holland found the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-8 to 1-4.

Chances kept coming including a Kevin O’Driscoll shot that rattled an Argideen upright. Burke added to his tally from a late free before Tadgh Mac Cárthaigh were reduced to thirteen players following red and black cards.

A dramatic semi-final continued to ebb and flow deep into injury-time before goalkeeper Luke McCarthy wrote his name into the Argideen Rangers’ history books.



Argideen Rangers: Darragh Holland 1-4 (4f); Lorcan O’Leary 0-3 (3f); Sean Walsh, Gerry Crowley 0-1 each.

Tadhg MacCarthaigh: Paddy Burke 0-4 (3f); Eoin O’Donovan 1-0; James McCarthy, Leon Burke 0-1 each.

Argideen Rangers: Luke McCarthy; Finbarr Butler, Darragh O’Donovan, Sean Henchion; Darragh Holland, Gerry Crowley, Matthew Lawton; Paidi Butler, Andrew Guinevan; Dylan Harrington, Fergal Walsh, Cathal O’Donovan; Lorcan O’Leary, Eoin Lawton, Sean Walsh.

Subs: Sean Maxwell for M Lawton (42), Colin Smith for D Harrington (43).

Tadhg MacCarthaigh: Patrick Kirby; David O’Connor, Tadhg Keating, Kevin O’Regan; Daniel Kingston, Cathal Hegarty, Michéal O’Donovan; Eoin O’Donovan, Kevin O’Driscoll; Sean McCarthy, Colm O’Driscoll, Brian O’Driscoll; Dylan Murray, Paddy Burke, Charlie McCarthy.

Subs: James McCarthy for D Murray (ht), Leon Burke for C McCarthy (ht), Shane O’Driscoll for E O’Donovan (54).

Referee: Jack Forbes (Dohenys).

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