Jonathan Davis scores goal Messi would be proud of
O’Donovan Rossa 4-4
Gabriel Rangers 0-6
EXPERIENCE counts. And so does the ability to score goals. On both counts, O’Donovan Rossa had the better of their neighbours, Gabriel Rangers, in the South West junior C football championship final in Rath, Baltimore. And, no surprise then, the Skibbereen team won.
Fielding over half a dozen ex-senior players, Rossas proved too experienced and crafty for a young Gabriels’ outfit. Their ability to turn their experience into goals was the winning factor as a pair of goals in each half proved too much of an obstacle to overcome for Gabriels.
‘We did have the advantage in experience and it told in the end,’ said a delighted Rossa mentor Adrian Hayes.
‘The conditions were good but it was a tough game. Gabriels gave us enough to do but we were probably just a bit better on the day.
‘The goals made all the difference. We got two great goals in the first half and then the penalty in the second half. We drove on from there. They were coming back at us just before we got the penalty and that put us eight up again. The soccer goal clinched it at the end.
‘We have a lot of veterans on the team, lads that have played senior and they have given great service to the club. Some of them are probably thinking of retiring after today but they owe us nothing.’
This proved to be a fine game of football, well-contested, heated at times and featuring one candidate for goal-of-the-season. It was difficult to judge the influence of the swirling breeze but it did seem to favour Rossas in the first half as they gained control from the start, with midfielders, Donal O’Sullivan and Niall McCarthy Snr, providing the spring-board for their attacking display.
Rossas certainly had the upper-hand in the first quarter and they raced into a three-point lead with scores from Jonathan Davis, Donal O’Sullivan and Niall McCarthy Snr, before the first goal arrived in the 13th minute.
A perfectly-placed high ball into the Gabriels’ square was tapped to the net by the alert Davis and Rossa’s were six points to the good. Martin Bohane, Flor Crowley, Daniel Hazel and Padraig O’Neill were lording the defence as Rossas swept forward.
Gabriels finally broke their duck entering the second quarter with a superb point from Cian Bohane and they more than held their own for the next ten minutes, with Kieran O’Callaghan, Jamie O’Driscoll and Cian Hurley really tightening up at the back.
However, hopes that they would confine the deficit to five points by half time were dashed when Padraig O’Neill swept forward from wing back to finish to the Gabriel net. Rossas were almost through a couple of minutes later following a swift piece of hand-passing but Shane O’Neill’s final shot was smothered on the goal-line.
Gabriels did have the final say of a lively first half that sparked a bit now and then when Colm Cleary converted a free but the gap of seven points, 2-3 to 0-2, was a considerable one for Gabriels to close in the second half.
To their credit, the Schull/Ballydehob men set about their task in the second half and with Cian Bohane, Eoin Kelleher, Keith O’Sullivan, Oisín Bennett, Colm Cleary and veteran Don Ward trying hard, they closed the gap with points from Cleary, play and free.
They were the only scores in a hard-fought third quarter and at the beginning of the last quarter, Rossas struck a vital blow when Daniel Hazel raided forward from wing back and was hauled down in the square.
Up stepped Jonathan Davis to drill the penalty to the net and even though Gabriels had plenty possession subsequently, they failed to produce the goal they needed as Shane Crowley, Pat Gilmore, Jonathan Davis and especially the hard-working Rory O’Donovan, all did Trojan work for the Reds.
Gabriels did kick two more points from Cleary, play and free, but Rossas had the last say when Davis cleverly back-heeled a goal that Irish soccer manager Martin O’Neill would have envied.
It finished 4-4 to 0-6 with the Dullea Cup being presented to Rossa captain, Flor Crowley, by vice-chairman of the Carbery Board, Tom Lyons.
O’Donovan Rossa: Jonathan Davis 3-1 (1-0 pen), Padraig O’Neill 1-0, Niall McCarthy Snr, Donal O’Sullivan, Daniel Hazel (1f) 0-1 each.
Gabriel Rangers: Colm Cleary 0-5 (3f), Cian Bohane 0-1.
O’Donovan Rossa: Damien Long; Niall McCarthy, Martin Bohane, Niall Fitzgerald; Padraig O’Neill, Flor Crowley, Daniel Hazel; Donal O’Sullivan, Niall McCarthy Snr; Stephen O’Brien, Shane Crowley, Billy Long; Rory O’Donovan, Shane O’Neill, Jonathan Davis.
Subs: Pat Gilmore for D O’Sullivan (ht), David O’Keeffe for D Long (ht), Donal Keohane for B Long (55), Michael Coakley for S O’Brien (60).
Gabriel Rangers: Mícheál Shanahan; Jamie O’Driscoll, Kieran O’Callaghan, Dan O’Neill; Cian Hurley, Tony Sheehan, Pat Hodnett; Eoin Kelleher, Cian Bohane; Ronan Roycroft, Keith O’Sullivan, Oisín Bennett; Colm Cleary, Don Ward, Jason Nyhan.
Subs: Colm Sheehan for T Sheehan (ht), Kevin O’Brien for C Hurley (52).
Referee: Frank Quill (Bantry Blues).