Gorey school one step from national honours
Published 16/04/2013 | 05:42
GOREY COMMUNITY School are one game away from achieving the ultimate prize in schools Under-15 soccer. Last Thursday they defeated the Munster champions, Blackwater Community School (Lismore), in the All-Ireland semi-final on a 1-0 scoreline in a very tight game played at the R.S.C. in Waterford.
The school has won numerous titles in all age groups, both at regional and provincial levels, but this is the first time a team has reached a premier final in any sport since the school opened in 1993.
Having come through a very tough campaign in Leinster when they were drawn away in all of their games, apart from the opening game versus St. Kieran's (Kilkenny), the team went into this tie with a lot of hope and expectation.
The early exchanges were very even with both sides battling for supremacy in the middle of the park. Gorey looked the more likely to break the deadlock but the front two of Adam Flynn and Seamus O'Donnell were having difficulty in finding space against a very well-organised Blackwater defence.
At the other end, the Gorey back four, along with 'keeper Adam Dunbar, were playing with confidence and were never really threatened in the opening half.
This remained the pattern for the rest of the half with Gorey's Paul Carton causing most problems down the right in trying to break the deadlock.
Gorey came close to scoring just before half-time when Conor Levingston played a great ball to Carton, but his effort was turned around the post for a corner.
Gorey started the second-half in a more determined mood and began to get their passing game together which had the opposition on the back foot and defending desperately.
The midfield duo of Conor Levingston and Stephen Hempenstall were gaining the upper hand and when the latter fed Levingston just outside the box, his effort just missed the target, going inches wide of the post.
Almost immediately a great move involving Hempenstall and Paul Carton down the right found Adam Flynn on the edge of the box and his instinctive effort brought a great save from the 'keeper.
Midway through the half, Levingston and Hempenstall combined again in the middle of the field, with the latter hitting a shot from 25 yards which grazed the crossbar.
Three minutes later an inswinging Levingston corner was met by centre-back Mikey Quigley and his bullet-like header was saved brilliantly by the 'keeper.
In a rare counter-attack, with ten minutes remaining, Blackwater forced a corner. A well-flighted delivery caused trouble in the Gorey defence and as the ball seemed destined for the bottom corner, brilliant left-back Oisín Hobbs somehow managed to clear the ball off the line.
The game was on a knife edge with time running out and extra-time looming. With three minutes remaining, Gorey made the all-important breakthrough.
Conor Levingston showed his class with an incisive pass which found centre-forward Adam Flynn in space.
A crude foul on Flynn resulted in the deciding moment of the game. Captain Stephen Hempenstall bent the free kick around the wall and as the ball came back off the 'keeper, Flynn showed a real poacher's instinct by slamming it into the net from eight yards, resulting in scenes of wild jubilation.
As the clock ticked down, Blackwater drove forward in search of an equaliser but centre-back David Curley was on hand to make two vital clearances.
As the final whistle sounded the Gorey lads celebrated with the dream of reaching an All-Ireland final a reality.
To reach an All-Ireland final is a remarkable achievement for the school. Every player on the day played their part in an excellent team performance.
Great credit is also due to everybody who has worked at club level with this very talented group of players.
Local club Gorey Rangers provided eleven of the twelve players who lined out. They now go on to meet Ballyhaunis C.S. from Mayo, who beat St. Eunan's (Donegal) in the other semi-final, on Tuesday, April 23, in Athlone.
Team: Adam Dunbar, Sam Fiddler, David Curley, Oisín Hobbs, Paul Carton, Conor Levingston, Stephen Hempenstall (capt.), Adam Spencer, Adam Flynn, Seamus O'Donnell (all Gorey Rangers), Mikey Quigley (St. Joseph's Boys, Dublin). Subs. - James Lynch (Gorey Rangers) for O'Donnell, Vincent Quinlan, Michael Molloy, Tiarnan Doyle, Owen Doyle (all Gorey Rangers), Conor Travers, Colm Davis (both Gorey Celtic), Nathan Feeney (Ardmore Rovers), Darragh O'Toole, Eoin Cullen, Gracian Dettlaff (Courtown Hibs).
FIRST YEAR SUCCESS
The schools's first year boys have reached the Leinster semi-final after beating Clonkeen College (Dublin) 3-2 after extra-time on Wednesday.
This was an excellent performance as the boys had to travel to Dublin and play the opposition on their own ground.
Gorey were two up at half-time with goals from Tiarnan Doyle and Vincent Quinlan (penalty), after Seán Delaney was brought down in the box. Clonkeen pulled two goals back in the second-half to take the game into extra-time.
Ace forward Tiarnan Doyle hit the winner with an unstoppable shot from twelve yards with two minutes remaining. They now meet St. Kieran's (Kilkenny) in the semi-final.