Gabriel Óg 0-9
GABRIEL Óg came of age when they captured the Rebel Óg county minor B1 football championship final against Buttevant.
This is the first Gabriel Rangers minor team to win a county title since 2004, so little wonder there were big celebrations.
The opening exchanges were even as both sides settled into the game before the West Cork team took the lead through captain Kieran Roycroft’s effort from distance.
After Buttevant levelled with their only score of the half, Gabriels hit back with scores from Cork U16 James O’Regan (three points, two from frees) and Jordi O’Brien as they took control and led 0-5 to 0-1 at half time.
Gabriels didn’t have it all their own way, however, and they needed their defence to be at its best to keep the north-Cork side out. With Ronan Hurley a leading figure in Gabriels’ back line, he led the way along with Patrick Hodnett, Jack Regan, Jamie O’Driscoll, Mark McCarthy and the outstanding Oisin Barrett, as they withstood everything that Buttevant threw at them.
At the other end James O’Regan and Ryan O’Neill were causing Buttevant plenty of problems, as Gabriels held that four-point advantage at the break. Keith O’Sullivan played the sweeper role to perfection and the full-forward line of James O’Regan, Danny McSweeney and Dan Duggan all worked hard and never let the opposition settle.
Buttevant came out the stronger in the second half putting Gabriels under big pressure and full forward Mark Lenahan was denied a goal from point-blank range by goalkeeper Oisin Barrett.
Buttevant centre forward Michael O’Neill was also to the fore as they closed the gap to three points – but great scores from Keith O’Sullivan and Jordi O’Brien kept the West Cork team in front, and with five minutes to go they led 0-9 to 0-4.
Buttevant went down fighting and they reduced the gap to just three points in a tight finish and they also rattled the crossbar – but Gabriel Óg held firm for a deserved win.
Gabriel Óg: Oisin Barrett; Patrick Hodnett, Ronan Hurley, Jack Regan; Jamie O’Driscoll, James O’Reilly, Mark McCarthy; Kieran Roycroft (captain) (0-1), Cian Bowe; Ryan O’Neill (0-1), Jordi O’Brien (0-1), Keith O’Sullivan (0-1); Daniel Duggan, Danny McSweeney, James O’Regan (0-5, 3f).
Subs: Aidan McCarthy for Patrick Hodnett, Keith O’Driscoll for Daniel Duggan, Killian O’Sullivan for Ryan O’Neill, Luka Bowen for Jordi O’Brien, Kevin O’Brien for James O’Regan.
Other panel members: Luke Nolan, Darragh O’Shea, David Regan, Cain O’Mahony, John Murphy, Liam Hodnett.