AGB crowned champions!
Rathnew pipped in decider
AGB RATHNEW 3-7 3-5
A blistering 15 minutes at the start of the second half by AGB was enough to see them turn a fivepoint deficit into a six-point lead to edge out a good Rathnew side in their Division 1A Shield final at Newcastle last Saturday morning.
It was the Villagers that made the better start with Sam Healy’s long-range free deflecting off a defender to nestle in the corner of keeper Sean Murphy’s goal. William Moorehouse with a delightful point and Jake Brady added two quick singles to give Rathnew a five-point cushion after seven minutes.
The Gers came back strongly from the early set-back with full-forward Dean Kelly-Farrell putting corner-forward Conn Kinsella in on goal and the ace marksman showed great composure to roll the ball under advancing keeper Josh Merrigan.
It appeared to be a momentary blip by the Villagers as within a minute they had replied with a major of their own; Moorehouse launching a long ball in on top of full-forward Jack Hayden and the powerhouse gathered under pressure from two Arklow defenders, turned and powered to Murphy’s net reminiscent of the Bomber Liston as the Arklow men trailed in his wake.
Scott Devlin landed a bomb from 45 meters out and Rathnew were in the ascendancy leading by six with five minutes to go until half-time. Padraic Bermingham and Kinsella kept Arklow in touch before Healy closed out the first half scoring for Rathnew with another score from distance.
Whatever was said to the Arklow men at the break had the desired effect because they came out like men possessed for the second period.
Kinsella got a ball rolling with a quick free, corner-forward Danny Byrne immediately followed up with a score after Kelly-Farrell had done the donkey work. Then we witnessed the score of the game and maybe of the GAA season in Wicklow.
AGB midfielder Conor Gahan, who had a quiet first half by his standards, gathered the ball 25 yards out. A simple point was beckoning but with tremendous confidence the Arklow man rocketed a shot at goal that struck the underside of the bar with such fury that it bounced onto the line and back up into the roof of the Villagers net to tie the scores up.
Kinsella added another point to push AGB into the lead for the first time and then in the next attack the dangerman went for the jugular, drilling a shot at Merrigan that the keeper done well to get a hand to but was unfortunate not to deflect wide instead deflecting into the corner of his net.
The tussle between Hayden and AGB full-back Daire Furlong was immense with the Arklow man eventually getting the upper hand, from one of his clearances the Gers worked the ball upfield with Kelly-Farrell getting a superb deserved score on the turn.
When Kinsella made it a personal tally of 2-4 for the day, AGB led by six with 12 minutes to go.
One thing known about any Rathnew side is they will battle until the end against any odds and their revival duly came in the last ten minutes.
However, poor shooting hampered their hopes. As the game entered injury time Joshua O’Connor found the target for a point. Seconds later Scott Devlin thundered an effort to the net to reduce the gap to two points, however time ran out for the brave Villagers who must have wondered if the goal had come a few minutes earlier what could have been.
A hugely enjoyable contest. Rathnew were the better team in the first half with Sam Healy, William Moorehouse, Scott Devlin and wing back Sean O’Meara all showing tremendous skill and attitude.
When Arklow turned things around it was led by Conor Gahan, Daire Furlong and Dean Kelly-Farrell. However, with 2-4 to his name, Conn Kinsella deserved the Man of the Match award.
Scorers - AGB: Conn Kinsella 2-4, Conor Gahan 1-0, Padraic Bermingham 0-1, Danny Byrne 0-1, Dean Kelly-Farrell 0-1.
Rathnew: Sam Healy 1-1, Scott Devlin 1-1, Jack Hayden 1-0, William Moorehouse 0-1, Joshua O’Connor 0-1, Jake Brady 0-1. AGB: Sean Murphy: Oisin Wood; Daire Furlong, Conor Hannon; Chris O’Brien, Adam Mullervy, Niall Dempsey; Conor Gahan, Patrick O’Halloran; Padraic Bermingham, Sam Butler, Oran Dunning; Danny Byrne, Dean Kelly-Farrell, Conn Kinsella. Subs: Oran Kelly, Cormac Ward.
RATHNEW: Josh Merrigan; Adam Byrne, Thang Tran Quoc, Adam Doyle; Michael Cash, Ryan O’Toole, Sean O’Meara; Sam Healy, William Moorehouse; Joshua O’Connor, Scott Devlin, Jake Brady; Jamie Hayden, Jack Hayden, Bill Moorehouse. Sub: Zack O’Connor.
REFEREE: Philip Bracken (Laragh)
The AGB team who defeated Rathnew.
Bobby Dignam presents the cup to captain Daire Furlong.