07 Nov 2013

Gorey make it seven in a row after extra time

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St. Joseph’s N.S. 4-11 Piercestown 2-13 aet

The Magnificent Seven; Jason Redmond, Mark Kinsella, Paul Murphy, Seamus O Donnell, Tiernan Doyle, Calleum Travers and now Micheál Kennedy make it a long list of winning Gorey captains in the Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League Roinn A football competition since 2007. From close calls to absolute domination over the years, whatever way you look at it, this has been seven years at the very top for the boys of Gorey and last Wednesday in St. Patricks Park, they had to summon every bit of grit that they had to overcome a Piercestown side buoyed by the recent success of their Senior Club side.

Gorey started with all the confidence of reigning champions and immediately forced Brandon Dodd to make a neat save when Kuba Kruczek tested him with a low soccer style shot. Cian Browne nabbed the first two points of the game and in between centre forward Darragh Molloy managed to tap in an early goal to build an early lead. Piercestown were reliant on Darragh O’Sullivan to put over frees to keep them in the game at this early stage and things could have gotten a lot worse if Brandon Dodd had not made a good save from Cian Molloy in the 11th minute. Gorey seemed to be everywhere and they were winning most of the Piercestown kickouts.

After this initial period of Gorey pressure however, Piercestown seemed to gradually work themselves into the game and slowly but surely the momentum began to shift in their favour. This was helped in no small part by Diarmuid O Leary, Jim McDermott and David Codd getting a handle on the Gorey attack and Conor Stafford putting in a huge amount of work in midfield.  In those vital few minutes before half time, Piercestown simply took over. Shane Walsh brought the teams to within a goal of each other when he curled in a point and then Conor Deveruax kicked over a long range effort to put the pressure well and truly on the Gorey boys. Piercestown’s title challenge then exploded into life when a long range sideline kick was won and crossed in quickly by Conor Deveruax and then found its way into the net with the help of Shane Walsh’s hand. Oisin Waters won a free close to goal seconds later which Darragh O Sullivan duly converted to send the Wexford District men a point up at the break, 1-4 to 1-3.

Gorey began the second half with the breeze at their backs and a notable venom in their response. Kuba Kruczek blasted just wide with an early goal chance and then a huge goalmouth scramble in the Piercestown square almost knocked over the goalposts but somehow Piercestown survived these scares and rose to launch a few counter attacks of their own. The game opened up into a real entertaining end to end affair but it was Piercestown who were to exert further influence on the scoreboard with a pair of Darragh O’Sullivan scores, one coming after a great Conor Devereux solo run. Gorey rallied to reduce this three point deficit to the minimum through two well taken Darragh Levingston frees but Piercestown edged away again with a good counter and score through Rory Whelan. Gorey were refusing to let their crown slip away however, and Cian Molloy responded suitably with an inspirational score from out the field. Kuba Kruczek got the score he deserved when he levelled affairs but Piercestown admirably climbed back on top once more with a point from hard working full forward Oisin Waters.

Gorey were running out of both ideas and time as the game drew to a close and so with one last roll of the dice full back Ryan Keogh was given licence to push forward and this proved to be a masterstroke. It almost yielded an immediate result when he hoofed in a long sideline kick that Brandon Dodd was forced to put out over the endline. He then stepped over to the resultant 45 and curled the ball into the top right corner of the net to give Gorey the lead for the first time since the 16th minute of the game. Darragh Levingston further opened this lead to three points with a massive free from out the field. Piercestown looked dead and gone until supersub John Hennessy somehow engineered a goal with the last kick of the game to level the game at 2-8 apiece, thus ensuring extra time would be needed to separate the sides.

Full back turned attacker Ryan Keogh started as he finished in the opening minutes of extra time, first scoring a well taken point and then almost scoring his second goal only to be denied by another good Brandon Dodd save. Ryan repeated his earlier effort from the resultant 45 when he kicked ball with incredible pace and watched it dip straight  into the top left corner of the Piercestown net. Surely no better 45 was ever kicked in a Rackard League final. Admirably, Piercestown responded by chipping into this newfound Gorey lead with points from a Darragh O Sullivan, Joe Barrett and Conor Devereux to bring the difference back to one point. Gorey’s saviour Ryan Keogh kicked another point to bring his tally to 2-2 and Cian Molloy followed suit when he curled over his second point. Brandon Dodd then had to make a fantastic low save from Darragh Molloy but unfortunately he could not come close to the Cian Molloy far post effort that followed. Gorey now had a significant six point lead.

To their credit, Piercestown continued to push Gorey hard in the second half of extra time and reduced the lead to four through two more Darragh O Sullivan frees. He was unlucky not to add a goal to his personal tally of 0-8 when Gorey keeper Jack Hennell denied his goalbound effort. Piercestown pushed hard for the elusive goal that they needed but this time it never came and the game played out until Jack Hennell claimed a high ball and cleared to seal the deal and bring home the Roinn A cup to Gorey once again, making it an historic seven in a row for the North Wexford boys. Only time will tell if this achievement will ever be almost matched and huge credit must be given to the work that is put in by parents, coaches and teachers at underage level in the club. The question remains; who will be able to put a stop to this Gorey juggernaut? Or maybe; can it be stopped at all?

St. Joseph’s N.S.: Jack Hennell, Cormac Doyle, Ryan Keogh, Seán O’Brien Murphy, Brendan Morris, Micheál Kennedy, Ryan Connolly, Cathal Stokes, Darragh Levingstone, Kuba Kruczek, Darragh Molloy, Caleb Byrne Murphy, Cian Molloy, Seaini Quirke, Cian Browne, Aaron Whelan, Mikey Cushe, Adam Simpson, Eoin Murphy, Padraic Keegan, Seán Callaghan, George Slattery, Seán Miller, Darragh Canavan

Piercestown: Brandon Dodd, Diarmud O’Leary, Jim Mc Dermott, Shane Walsh, Zach Firman, David Codd, Ben Morris, Conor Stafford, Conor Devereux, Darragh O’Sullivan, Conor Kelly, Rory Whelan, Joe Barrett, Oisin Waters, Jamie Berry, Adam Feery, David Cantwell, John Hennessy, Luke Kavanagh, Conor Doyle, Paul Gately