Gabriel Rangers 2-7
COIS FARRAIGE REPORTS
EDDIE Goggin’s late goal sealed Gabriel Rangers’ spot in this year’s Rowa/Rowex Pharma South West junior A football final at the expense of last season’s beaten finalists, Kilmacabea.
With three minutes left in this semi-final in sun-drenched Aughaville on Sunday last, the sides were level.
Gabriels depend greatly in most games on their dynamic forward duo of Eddie Goggin and Mark Cronin, but Cronin was black-carded in the 17th minute and Goggin was practically anonymous for 50 minutes, and it seemed the game was there for the taking by the Kilmacs.
But it is almost impossible to keep a player as talented as Eddie Goggin under wraps for a full game. A point from a Goggin free in the 61st minute had the Gabriel supporters singing, their side a point in front as injury time ticked away.
A Kilmacabea attempt at a 63rd minute levelled was turned over, swept down field and there was Goggin to score a tremendous goal that sealed Gabriels’ win.
They are through to their first final since winning their only title in 2010, when a 16-year old Eddie Goggin also got his name on the score sheet.
‘I should probably have taken a point there at the end but I saw the opening, went for it and it went in,’ said goal hero Goggin.
‘It wasn’t my day today for the first half or for 20 minutes in the second half but you just keep the head up and when the game opened up, the chances came.
‘We were struggling for a lot of the game, especially with Mark going off so early. He’s been our best forward for the past ten years. We regrouped at half time and said we had to do it for Mark.’
The vital battle in this game was supposed to be at midfield, where Gabriels sprung a surprise by starting veteran Pat Nolan, beside the giant Stephen O’Mahony. It was Nolan who stood out in the first half against a good Kilmac pairing of Martin Collins and Tom Sheahan and, again, it was the veteran Sheahan who looked impressive for the Kilmacs.
In fact, it was both defences which took the honours with the Jennings, Mark and Tom, outstanding for the Kilmacs, along with Niall Hayes, Clive Sweetnam and Sam O’Driscoll. For Gabriels, Liam Hegarty, Cathal Newman, Gerard O’Callaghan and Kieran O’Callaghan were well in command after a shaky start during which Ger O’Donovan, Chris Moynihan and Richie O’Sullivan won a lot of possession.
However, failure to turn possession into scores was the Kilmacs’ biggest problem as they managed only five points in the wind-assisted first half. Richie O’Sullivan kicked three in a good start but faded, and hard-working full forward Ger O’Donovan kicked the other two.
Gabriels responded with four points. Strong full forward Sean Kelleher kicked three, after goalkeeper Matthew O’Neill had brought off a great save from Kelleher in the 12th minute, the only real goal-chance in the first half. Sub Sean Evans kicked the other point.
One of the biggest talking points of the first half was Mark Cronin’s dismissal to a black card in the 17th minute, rather fortunate not to be red, thus depriving Gabriels of an ace attacker.
It was 0-5 to 0-4 in Kilmacs’ favour at half time of a rugged encounter but they had to face the breeze and strong sun in the second half. The sides swapped points through Ger O’Donovan (free) and Eddie Goggin (free), his first score of the game, before the real turning point of the game arrived in the 37th minute.
Turning over possession in their own half, Gabriels transferred possession to wing back Gerard O’Callaghan, who took off on a defence-splitting 60-metre solo-run showing great pace. A quick pass to the unmarked Sean Kelleher on the edge of the square and the Kilmac net was shaking. It was a crucial score in a low-scoring game.
It was 1-5 to 0-6 at the end of the third quarter but with Martin Collins finally beginning to show his talent at midfield, well-assisted by Tom Sheahan, the Kilmacs were beginning to dominate. For ten minutes it was all Kilmac but all they had to show against an energetic Gabriel defence was a pointed 45 from Karl McCarthy, plus some hasty wides. Still they persevered and when Ger O’Donovan pointed a free in the 50th minute, the scores were level for the third time in the game.
The game was really up for grabs now. It was Gabriels who struck first when Eddie Goggin pointed a free but, undaunted, the Kilmacs came back to draw level again with a point from sub Donncha McCarthy.
As the game entered injury time it was Goggin who struck again for a lead point from another free. Signal then for the Kilmacs to go all out for an equaliser but queue the turnover and the clinching goal from Goggin.
Gabriel Rangers: Sean Kelleher (1f, 1 45), Eddie Goggin (2f) 1-3 each; Sean Evans 0-1.
Kilmacabea: Ger O’Donovan 0-4 (2f); Richie O’Sullivan 0-3; Donncha McCarthy, Karl McCarthy (1 45) 0-1 each.
Gabriel Rangers: Darren O’Mahony; Kieran O’Callaghan, Cathal Newman, Jason Donegan; Gerard O’Callaghan, Richard Moynihan, Liam Hegarty; Pat Nolan, Stephen O’Mahony; Fionn Hurley, Chris Moynihan, Paid Hegarty; Mark Cronin, Sean Kelleher, Eddie Goggin.
Subs used: Sean Evans for M Cronin (black card, 17), Donal O’Sullivan for P Hegarty (50), Eric O’Brien for L Hegarty (61).
Kilmacabea: Matthew O’Neill; Thomas Jennings, Niall Hayes, Mark Jennings; Clive Sweetnam, Niall McCarthy, Sam O’Driscoll; Martin Collins, Tom Sheahan; Declan O’Sullivan, Karl McCarthy, Donie O’Donovan; Liam Thompson, Ger O’Donovan, Richie O’Sullivan.
Subs used: Donncha McCarthy for D O’Sullivan (half time), Eoin O’Donovan for L Thompson (36), Ciarán O’Donovan for G O’Donovan (50), Diarmuid O’Donovan for T Sheahan (58).
Referee: Alan Long (Argideen Rangers).