Gaels Set the ‘Barrs High

Ranelagh Gaels 2-5
Naomh Fionbarra 0-9

Ranelagh Gaels battled their way to the semi-finals of the Junior C Championship with a brilliant away win against Naomh Fionnbarra on Sunday.

Playing against the Division 7 Champions on their home patch in a do-or-die quarter-final, the Gaels showed tremendous intensity to beat higher ranked opposition.

The ’Barrs are never easy to beat in Pope John Paul II Park, or the Bogies as it’s known locally.

But that’s exactly what Ranelagh did with a 60 minute display of real focus and intent. The mood was set from the moment the visitors set foot on the pitch and the players followed manager Liam O’Hagan’s instructions to the letter.

Finbarr’s had the better of the opening exchanges and they moved into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead on a slippery day, though their pitch was in great condition given all the rain that had fallen in the previous 48 hours.

One of the main reasons there was only two points in it at this stage was because of the pressure Ranelagh men were putting on their opponents.

The Cabra men hit several first-half wides, but they were all forced into taking tough options by brilliant defending, which started at the other end of the field with the full-forward line.

The midfield of Brian Regan and Alan Toolan, two men not long back from their respective honeymoons but still showing plenty of running, made sure they got a hand on every kick-out while the half-backs and half-forwards were snappy on the breaking balls.

Man of the Match Tom Cusack, who played the pivotal centre-back position, was just one of the men who repeatedly emerged from groups of players with invaluable possession.

With this work-rate it was inevitable that the Gaels were going to enjoy a good spell and this came either side of half-time.

Johnny Conlon coolly slotted home a penalty not long before the break after Barry O’Brien was fouled in the square.

This left the scores 1-2 to 0-3 at the interval and things got even better just after the restart when Paudie Sugrue hit the second goal to put six between the teams.

From here Fionnbarra started to chase the game hard and in middle ten minutes of the second half they really turned the screw, getting four unanswered points to cut the deficit to just two.

It was real backs-to-the-wall stuff for the Gaels at this stage, but once again the defence was superb.

The full-back line of James, Martin and Denis C put their bodies on the line to make sure that no goal chances were given up, while goalkeeper Conor Fingleton controlled his area well.

Ranelagh got a couple of late scores on the break to keep their noses in front, but it still came down to a few crazy scrambles in the box.

Unsurprisingly, the ’Barrs threw everything they had at it and lobbed a series of high, dangerous balls into the area, only to see them all sent straight back out again.

Liam headed off on his golfing holiday to Spain a happy man, though he’s leaving behind a squad of players focused on two weeks of hard work before the semi-final.

Some Interviews during today’s game. Click on the play button to listen.

Manager Liam talks after the game.
Captain Brian Regan.

4 Comment(s)

  1. Great win. Couldn’t have been done without Tadhg J’s outstanding umpiring, Bunny’s instructions to the full-back line (despite a broken knuckle) and my water-carrying… A team effort!

    Peter | Oct 2, 2011 @ 13:38 | Reply

  2. My camera could of been stuck where it wasn’t wanted too.

    Umpire | Oct 2, 2011 @ 15:25 | Reply

  3. Fortunately it was not.

    Umpire's GP | Oct 4, 2011 @ 00:47 | Reply

  4. 🙁

    Umpire | Oct 4, 2011 @ 09:10 | Reply

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