BY DENIS HURLEY
GIVEN that they are going into Saturday evening’s IFC final against Knocknagree as underdogs, you might think that Gabriel Rangers wouldn’t mind a draw and a replay.
However, for attacker Eddie Goggin, it would be the worst outcome as he is due to head to Australia on Sunday.
The qualified carpenter and his girlfriend Rebecca Baxter had actually booked their tickets for earlier in the year, but some positive thinking saw the date put back.
‘To be honest, we booked it at the start of the summer,’ he says, ‘but then after the draw was made and we got a bye to the quarter-finals, I moved it back, hoping that we might be able to progress. Rebecca was happy to go along with it, thankfully!
‘The plan is to go for six months or a year, we’re two homebirds so I think we’ll be home soon enough regardless but I’ll be gutted to be missing out on our first game at premier intermediate.’
Nevertheless, Goggin is delighted to have played his part in Gabriels’ resurgence.
‘Last year, we didn’t really show up in Bandon against Youghal,’ he says.
‘We were beaten by the better team but we had a few away on a J1 and we had a tight squad, if we were missing any few at all then we were in trouble.
‘Even this year, we were missing fellas through soccer in the league and there were a few in Dublin but when the championship came around, everyone got together.
‘We beat Adrigole in April, we came through on a dirty, rainy day. When the draw was made and we got a bye to the quarter-finals, we had a meeting and everyone nought into it, we were just two games away from a county final so we trained hell for leather and challenge games were going well.
‘When it was announced that the two finalists would be getting promoted, that made the semi-final like a final in itself. We have a lot of good underage players coming up and we’re hoping that they’ll drive us on in premier intermediate.’
Before that is the final, though.
‘We played Knocknagree in the 2016 junior semi-final and we were massive underdogs then and it’ll be the same on Saturday,’ Goggin says.
‘We’re being written off before the game starts, we’re all aware of that but we don’t mind, it’s a motivation in itself to want to prove the doubters wrong.
‘Three years ago, we beat them after a replay, it was a titanic battle to reach the junior final. They’ll want to get one over us and they’re very formidable.’
And if Gabriels are trailing by a point deep in injury time and Goggin has a chance to level and send the game to a replay?
‘That’s the million-dollar question!’ he laughs.
‘Hopefully it won’t come to that!’