Tuesday 23 April 2019

Ramsgrange roar earns title

Top Oil South Leinster Schools Juvenile football 'D' championship final: Ramsgrange C.S. 5-6 Hacketstown 2-5

Josh Delaney making inroads towards the Hacketstown goal
Josh Delaney making inroads towards the Hacketstown goal

Alan Aherne

The situation didn't look wonderful for Ramsgrange Community School approaching the end of the third quarter in Thursday's Top Oil South Leinster Schools Juvenile football 'D' championship final at the Halo Tiles and Bathrooms Ferns Centre of Excellence.

While they had led by 3-4 to nil at the break after playing with the strong wind, opponents Coláiste Eoin from Hacketstown had taken over completely on the re-start, reeling off 2-4 without reply.

It seemed almost inevitable that the school near the Carlow/Wicklow border would go on to take the spoils, but the determined Ramsgrange boys had other ideas.

Their last quarter display into the wind was outstanding, scoring 2-2 while restricting their shell-shocked rivals to just one more point to the delight of mentors Graeme Molloy and Brendan Furlong.

The first sign that Ramsgrange weren't willing to surrender arrived just before the midway point in the 25-minute half when the impressive Josh Delaney combined with Kean Molloy on a breakaway but saw his shot superbly saved by Hacketstown netminder Ewan McCrea.

It was a foretaste of what was to follow all the same, as points from substitute Darragh Donnelly and Delaney - with an effort that McCrea tipped over the bar - extended the gap to 3-6 to 2-4.

Hacketstown were starting to falter as Ramsgrange carried the ball forcefully into the elements, and they were lucky to survive the next two attacks as Molloy and Delaney fired two goal chances narrowly wide.

However, Coláiste Eoin did ship a severe blow with just over eight minutes left when a free taken by rival centre-back and captain Morgan Ellis went all the way to the net, and that proved the decisive score for Ramsgrange.

All Hacketstown could muster in reply was a late pointed free from full-forward Aaron Kelly, with the south Wexford side ending on a high note when star player Josh Delaney set up Darragh Donnelly for their fifth goal with seconds of normal time remaining.

The strong wind - blowing from the complex in the direction of Ferns village - was always going to have a huge bearing on the outcome, and the omens looked good for Ramsgrange when Delaney needed a mere 21 seconds to pick off their opening point.

However, it took them a while to build up the scores, with full-forward David Conway striking the woodwork before Delaney doubled their lead in the ninth minute.

Hacketstown's cause wasn't helped by the temporary loss of midfielder Adam Kinsella through injury for eight minutes, with their rivals pouncing for three vital goals in that period as they finally found an attacking rhythm.

The first arrived after good anticipation from wing-forward Kyle Baker when he latched on to an opposition kick-out and headed straight for goal before rattling McCrea's net (1-2 to nil).

David Conway had a shot turned over by the busy netminder, with Josh Delaney going on to crash an effort off the crossbar prior to midfielder Kean Molloy widening the gap to seven points.

It still didn't appear to be a sufficient lead to carry into the second-half, but that changed considerably for the better when Jayden Cheevers goaled from a Molloy pass, and the latter then rattled the net himself after another Delaney attempt came back off the woodwork (3-4 to nil).

Hacketstown needed to settle as quickly as possible on the re-start, and that's exactly what happened as a speculative long-range kick from midfielder Aaron Davis ended up in the net with less than two minutes gone.

Aaron Kelly was denied their second goal by a brilliant fingertip save from Aaron Doyle after a long delivery from captain James Boland, but it did arrive from the '45 that followed as the ball broke to corner-forward Ben Keogh who netted from close range (3-4 to 2-0).

Six hurried wides in just over four minutes proved a setback for Hacketstown, but that spell was also peppered with points from Aaron Davis, Lee Doyle (two) and Marty Walsh.

Ramsgrange had struggled to move the play out of their own half for more than ten minutes, but they dug deep when it was needed most to emerge as worthy winners after that powerful finish.

Now they will turn their attention towards a possible Leinster title.

Ramsgrange C.S.: Aaron Doyle (Fethard); Joel McDonald (Bannow-Ballymitty), Adam Kavanagh (Horeswood), James Rice (Horeswood); Paul Kiely (Clongeen), Morgan Ellis (Fethard, capt., 1-0 free), Kian Sullivan (Fethard); Jayden Cheevers (St. James', 1-0), Kean Molloy (Fethard, 1-1); Páuric Gleeson (Fethard), Josh Delaney (St. James', 0-3), Kyle Baker (Fethard, 1-0); Conor Cleary (Bannow-Ballymitty), David Conway (Fethard, 0-1), Lee Kennedy (Bannow-Ballymitty). Subs. - Darragh Donnelly (Clongeen, 1-1) for Kennedy (11), Shayne Murphy (Fethard) for Cleary (45), also Darren Roche (Fethard), Darragh Power (Gusserane), Rúairí McCillen (Gusserane), Lennon Foley (Fethard), Oisín O'Sullivan (Bannow-Ballymitty), Paul Murphy (Clongeen), Mark Bates (Horeswood), Darragh Mythen (Clongeen), Nathan Butler (Fethard), Joshua Barry Lee (Fethard), Dylan Barry (Gusserane), Ben Parker (Horeswood).

Coláiste Eoin: Ewan McCrea; Mathew Jackson, Dara Connolly, Jack O'Toole; Marty Walsh (0-1), James Boland (capt.), Reuben Hunter; Aaron Davis (1-1), Adam Kinsella; Adam Byrne, Conor Mulvanny, Lewis McDonnell; Ben Keogh (1-0), Aaron Kelly (0-1 free), Lee Doyle (0-2). Subs. - Nathan Conroyfor Kinsella, temp. (12-20), Conroy for Keogh (34).

Referee: Dickie Murphy (Starlights).

Gorey Guardian