A Famous Day For Ranelagh

Ranelagh Gaels 1-13 Ballyfermot De La Salle 2-8
(Report and pictures courtesy of Niall Scully, Mark Condren and the Evening Herald)

Parnell Park looked a picture on Monday afternoon, October 26. Groundsman Noel Brady’s front lawn had got the Gillette close shave.

The friendly programme crew were inside the gate. Business was going to be brisk on this day of days – the Dublin Senior Football Championship semi-final between Kilmacud Crokes and St Jude’s was on.

The TG4 trucks had long arrived. The Dublin Junior 2 Football Championship final was the game that saw the curtain rising. And it would extend all the way to extra-time.

Peter Sweeney of Ranelagh Gaels set the scene perfectly with a charming article on the RTÉ website.

And on the Ballyfermot Facebook page, the game was billed as ‘the greatest match in history’.

Ballyfermot were first out to sample the carpet. Soon to be followed by the Gaels. Their manager, Liam O’Hagan, stood in the middle of the warm-up. He recently celebrated his 80th birthday.

For years, he ran the best fruit and veg shop in Dublin. Standing tall at the top of Sallymount Avenue in Ranelagh.

And he’s getting younger by the day. Just like Norman Allen, still sinking the birdies at the golf club just over the wall.

The first putt of the game was sunk by Ranelagh’s Johnny Conlon at the Craobh Chiaráin end. It was quickly followed by a free from Cathal Nolan.

Nolan was Ranelagh’s chief engineer. Ballyfermot forward Mark Smith has two good feet. He sent over a beauty with his left peg. And then levelled up the contest with his right. It was 0-2 each after 20 minutes of much endeavour.

Ranelagh full-back Michael O’Rourke made a tidy hand-tackle on Dylan Nolan tight to the sideline in front of the main stand.

Both sides saw much of the ball. And they weren’t afraid to have a pop for the posts. Alex O’Callaghan’s free gave Ballyfermot the lead, but Graham O’Toole’s strike, one of the best of the day, tied it up once more on three points each.

Then, two minutes before the break, Ballyfermot got a penalty. It was tucked low inside the right-hand post by Smith courtesy of his right boot.

Ranelagh made the sharper start to the second period. Within ten minutes they had gained party with three points from Nolan, O’Toole and a Nolan free.

Then Ballyfermot took over. They were full of running. Shane Doyle made a couple of fine breaks.

Smith’s left foot saw them go ahead. He then converted a free, and O’Callaghan’s free had them three to the good coming down the back stretch.

It was looking good for DLS. But there were many stoppages for injuries. And in the tenth minute of injury-time, Noel Crowley from Kerry guided the ball low to the net at the church end. It was 1-6 each and so to extra-time. Many went down with cramp.

And at half-time in extra-time it was Ballyfermot who had the advantage, 2-7 to 1-8. The goal coming at the church end from Killian Keogh.

But Ranelagh produced four points from Conlon (two), Richie Commins and Conlon again to put them two points ahead.

O’Callaghan then posted for Ballyfermot, but Ciarán McGovern, part of a finishing full-forward line with a remarkable combined age of 117 years, scored a point that was the last of the day. A day that the Gaels from the land of Ken Doherty potted the most famous black in their history.

With the game going to extra-time, Parnell Park was nearly full with the crowd that were there for the Dublin Senior Football Championship final between Kilmacud Crokes and St Jude’s.

To play in front of such a big crowd, approaching 10,000 by the time captain Jerry Buckley lifted the trophy, was a huge thrill for all the lads and everyone involved.

The closing seconds of the game and even the trophy presentation was shown on TG4 – a major first for the club.

There was great support from Dublin 6, including a great crowd of children from our underage teams and Juvenile Academy. They were thrilled with the win and after the game crowded around the players for selfies and autographs.

It was a first men’s championship trophy for the club since its foundation in 2013, the women’s team being the first to win a championship in 2010.

Front l-r: Conor O’Reilly, Brian Waldron, Enda Marren, Jerry Buckley, Cathal Nolan, Liam Fallon, Graham O’Toole, Sean Reidy, Eamon Gavin, Kieran Murray, Eamon Courtney. Back l-r: Shane Minihane, Brian Mitchell, Johnny Conlon, Richie Commins, Noel Crowley, Michael O’Rourke, Conor Byrne, Kevin Gallagher, Richie Vaughan, Diarmuid Hayes, Martin Egan, Ciaran McGovern, Martin Larkin, Denis Doolan, Cathal MacSuibhne, Conor Fingleton, Liam O’Hagan (manager)


Ranelagh Gaels:
1. Kieran Murray
2. Diarmuid Hayes
3. Michael O’Rourke
4. Brian Waldron
5. Richie Vaughan
6. Denis Doolan
7. Conor Fingleton
8. Ciarán McGovern (0-1)
9. Jerry Buckley (Captain)
10. Graham O’Toole (0-2)
11. Cathal Nolan (0-4, 2f)
12. Enda Marren
13. Johnny Conlon (0-4)
14. Conor Byrne
15. Liam Fallon

16. Shane Minihane
17. David Whelan
18. Éamon Courtney (0-1)
19. Martin Egan
20. Kevin Gallagher
21. Éamon Gavin
22. Noel Crowley (1-0)
23. Martin Larkin
24. Thomas Lawler
25. Cathal MacSuibhne
26. Brian Mitchell
27. Conor O’Reilly
28. Sean Reidy
29. Eoin Lappin
30. Richie Commins (0-1)
31. Joe Davitt

Manager: Liam O’Hagan
Physio: Blaíthín Brady
Stats: Louise Donohoe

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