Goals galore in Under-14 clash
RATHGAROGUE-CUSHINSTOWN maintained their perfect Coiste na nOg Under-14 Roinn 2 football championship record but they had to hold off an epic fightback from a talented and resilient St. John's Volunteers side to do just that in Páirc Charman on Thursday last.
The Ballinaboola boys had put up some big scores on the way to the table's summit in their previous four matches, and this game was no exception as an extremely competent sextet of forwards set off with goals on their mind.
They had two majors on the board in as many minutes as first Niall Connolly and Jamie O'Rourke combined to release Paddy Barron for the opener, and then Jack Murphy claimed possession, sauntered through the heart of the hosts' defence and rattled the net.
Connolly's floated effort that dipped just underneath the crossbar made it 3-0 to 0-1 before Rory O'Connor scored a nice point. St. John's Volunteers are made of sturdy stuff and didn't take long to hit back. Their first goal was the product of a lofted Glen Murphy pass and a superb Richie Browne flick that Josh McMahon reacted quickest to and found the net.
The goals continued to flow with the excellent Paddy Barron on target while at the other end his equally talented opposite number, Ciarán Carthy, replied. More majors towards the end of the half from Evan Murphy and Barron gave the New Ross District side a 6-5 to 3-5 lead at the break, but it was a goal from Glen Murphy and minors from Seán Crosbie and Ryan Lynch that kept the hosts in touch.
The second-half was a completely different affair with defences really shining in the third quarter. Barron did get his fourth goal immediately after the re-start but that was the last sighting of a green flag for 15 minutes, with points from Donal Porter and David O'Rourke cancelled out by Glen Murphy and Carthy.
When the damn burst it exploded in a big way as goals from Brian Deeny, Stephen Burke and Murphy dragged St. John's Volunteers within a single kick of the ball (7-8 to 6-8) with seven minutes left.
Another Murphy score put two points between the sides but the visitors knuckled down and finished with an Eoin Burke goal and an O'Rourke point to seal a hard-fought victory for the table-toppers.