Gabriel Rangers 1-13
Naomh Abán 1-10
TOM LYONS REPORTS
GABRIEL Rangers left it late to make their move but it proved to be a winning one.
Six times during the hour Naomh Abán opened a four-point lead on Gabriels in this cracking Rebel Óg West minor B football final in Aughaville last Sunday.
With ten minutes left, Naomh Abán led by a goal and looked to be heading for victory.
It was then we saw the very best of the Schull/ Ballydehob lads as a converted penalty by man-of-the-match James O’Regan tied the scores in the 51st minute and it was all Gabriels from there to the finish as they found a new lease of life, kicking three superb points in a row to grab the title.
From the very start Naomh Abán looked the better side, driven on by impressive midfield pairing of Conor Ó Críodáin and Eoin Ó Scannaill.
Aodhán Ó Luasa opened the scoring and even though James O’Regan equalised, it was Naomh Abán who forged ahead when their best player Darragh Ó Laoire kicked a point, followed by goal
in the 16th minute.
As they did regularly in the game, Gabriels fought back with points from Keith O’Sullivan and James O’Regan, as Jamie O’Driscoll and James O’Reilly covered well in defence. Colm Ó Meachair and O’Regan swapped points before Naomh Abán made another surge and points from Aodhán Ó Luasa and Ó Laoire again opened a four-point gap.
An O’Regan free closed it to three at the break, 1-5 to 0-5, with Aodh Ó Catháin and Tadhg Ó Ríordáin impressing in the Naomh Abán defence.
The game really took off in the second half as Naomh Abán drove forward looking for scores to secure their lead and Gabriels kept answering them score for score. Eoin Ó Scannaill (free) and O’Regan swapped points as did Darragh O’Laoire and the impressive Danny McSweeney. Conor Ó Críodáin pointed but O’Regan again replied.
Amid growing excitement it was point for point as Ó Críodáin and Darragh Ó Laoire found the target but the irrepressible O’Regan pointed two frees and impressive substitute Keith O’Driscoll pointed after goalkeeper Caoimhín Ó Donnchú had saved brilliantly from Danny McSweeney.
But Gabriels’ challenge was gathering momentum and when O’Driscoll, following a Darragh O’Shea pass, was fouled in the square in the 51st minute, up stepped O’Regan to bury the equaliser in the net. That goal triggered a Gabriel tsunami as Cian Bowen and Kieran Roycroft took complete control at midfield and the Gabriels’ tide swept forward in search of scores.
Three superb points in the closing minutes from O’Regan, free and play, and McSweeney sealed a hard-fought and courageous win for the westerners as brave Naomh Abán, so dominant for so long, just had no answer to the late Gabriels’ surge.
Gabriel Rangers: James O’Driscoll 1-9 (4f, 1 pen), Danny McSweeney 0-2, Keith O’Sullivan, Keith O’Driscoll 0-1 each.
Naomh Abán: Darragh Ó Laoire 1-4 (1f), Conor Ó Críodáin, Aodhán Ó Luasa (1f) 0-2 each, Colm Ó Meachair, Eoin Ó Scannaill 0-1 each.
Gabriel Rangers: Oisín Barrett; Jack O’Regan, Jamie O’Driscoll, Patrick Hodnett; Mark McCarthy, James O’Reilly, Killian O’Sullivan; Cian Bowen, Kieran Roycroft; Ryan O’Neill, Jordan O’Brien, Keith O’Sullivan; James O’Regan, Danny McSweeney, Daniel Duggan.
Subs: Luke Bowen for D Duggan (15), Ronan Hurley for J O’Regan (20), Aidan McCarthy for Killian O’Sullivan (38), Keith O’Driscoll for Keith O’Sullivan (38), Darragh O’Shea for M McCarthy (45).
Naomh Abán: Caoimhín Ó Donnchú; Der Ó Tuama, Aodh Ó Catháin, Mícheál Ó Ceallacháin; Fionn Ó Loingsigh, Dara Ó Loingsigh, Tadhg Ó Ríordáin; Conor Ó Críodáin, Eoin Ó Scannaill; Colm Ó Meachair, Darragh Ó Laoire, Aodhán Ó Luasa; Dara Ó Loingsigh, Dónal Ó Deasúna, Donncha Ó Brollacháin.
Subs: Seán Ó Ríordáin for A Ó Luasa (12, blood), Seán Ó Laoire for D Ó Loingsigh (black card, 40), Tomás Ó Catháin for F Ó Loingsigh (52),
Referee: John Forbes (Dohenys).