Sport

Group leaders Gabriels in pole position ahead of crunch final round

August 23rd, 2022 12:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Gerard O'Callaghan nets Gabriel Rangers' third goal against Ballydesmond. (Photo: John Tarrant)

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Gabriel Rangers 3-16

Ballydesmond 1-13

JOHN TARRANT REPORTS

SUPERIOR firepower allowed Gabriel Rangers see off Ballydesmond in round two to the Bon Secours intermediate A football championship at a humid Ballyvourney.

At the end of the hour, there was no disputing that the Mizen men emerged worthy winners yet the scoreline was a little unfair to Ballydesmond, as Gabriels netted two late goals to put clear daylight between the sides.

It’s now two wins from two for table-toppers Gabriels as they close in on a place in the knock-out stages.

‘It went right down to the wire. Only two points up, Ballydesmond were pushing and we broke to get the late goals. The converted penalty was crucial before half time. Not too much between the sides but in front of goals we were that bit sharper,’ Gabriels manager Pat Nolan said.

‘I thought with two games won, we had advanced, but not true given Adrigole overcoming Kilshannig. Next up for us are Kilshannig, they are amongst the top contenders for this competition. If they better us and Adrigole overcome Ballydesmond, it goes down to scoring aggregate. That’s a lottery. It means it’s all to play for on the last day of the group format.’

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A nervous start by Gabriel Rangers saw them concede three points to the Donncha O’Connor-inspired Ballydesmond. Poor shooting blighted Gabriels until James O’Regan opened their account on 11 minutes.

That score lifted Rangers, their high intensity play stemming from the impact of Darragh O’Shea, Cillian O’Brien and Killian O’Sullivan with Keith O’Driscoll and Mark Cronin catching the eye up front.

As Gabriels bossed the possession stakes, they received a perfect boost short of the interval, Gerard O’Callaghan won a penalty that James O’Regan tucked away to the corner of the net for a 1-9 to 0-5 advantage.

Ballydesmond restarted with a forceful blast. Kevin O’Connell made inroads upfield, and when his effort was partly blocked, in nipped Paudie Breen to goal. Though Gabriels answered with well-taken points from Cronin and O’Driscoll, Ballydesmond dug their heels and two magnificent points from 2010 Cork All-Ireland hero O’Connor narrowed the arrears to the minimum, 1-12 to 1-11.

However, Gabriels regained the upper hand from a trio of points ticked off by Cronin, O’Driscoll and O’Callaghan, Ballydesmond’s cause not helped by a black card to wing back O’Connell.

Though the Duhallow side landed a pair of points, Gabriels never lost their sense of direction. Good work by Paddy O’Driscoll placed O’Regan for his second goal. As Ballydesmond attempted to push upfield, Gabriels availed of the space, substitute Lorcan O’Brien delivered the perfect measured pass for O’Callaghan to fire past Ballydesmond goalkeeper Denis Ring.

Scorers 

Gabriel Rangers: J O’Regan 2-2 (1-0p, 2f); M Cronin 0-8 (3f); G O’Callaghan 1-2; K O’Driscoll 0-3; C O’Brien 0-1.

Ballydesmond: D O’Connor 0-8 (6f); P Breen 1-0; M Collins, K O’Connell, S Cronin, N Fleming, D Hayes 0-1 each.

Gabriel Rangers: L Hegarty; K O’Sullivan, D O’Regan, D Roycroft; R Moynihan, C O’Brien, D O’Shea; C Bohane, P O’Driscoll; S Evans, G O’Callaghan, K O’Driscoll; M Cronin, J O’Regan, L Bohane.

Subs: D Bohane for S Evans (44), D McSweeney for R Moynihan (54).

Ballydesmond: D Ring; C Lenihan, D Kelly, K Murphy; Donal O’Connor, S Cronin, K O’Connell; Donncha O’Connor, M Collins; B Lenihan, D Hayes, D Moynihan; B O’Leary, N Fleming, P Breen.

Subs: R Flynn for D Moynihan (6, inj), S Murphy for B O’Leary (ht), J Healy for P Breen (38, inj), S O’Leary for B Lenihan (45).

Referee: K Feury (Cill na Martra).

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