Tuesday 18 June 2019

Behan bags winner for Gorey

Gorey Rangers 2 Courtown Hibs 1 (AET)

Cormac Moore of Courtown Hibs and Conor Casserly of Gorey Rangers in a race for possession
Cormac Moore of Courtown Hibs and Conor Casserly of Gorey Rangers in a race for possession

Dean Goodison

Substitute David Behan scored the 105th-minute winner as Gorey Rangers came from behind to qualify for the Wexford Volkswagen Cup final by beating Courtown Hibs in Mullaunfin on Sunday.

The attacker raced clean through, latching on to a flick from Seán Allen's booming kick-out, and coolly fired low under the impressive Jason Maguire to break Hibs' hearts on an energy-sapping day in Gorey.

People talk about the unfairness of penalties, the lottery of the shoot-out, but this game looked to be heading that way and Courtown wouldn't have been undeserving of the opportunity to take spot-kicks for a place in the final.

It was the penalty they didn't get that will be their main memory from a game of few clearcut chances.

With 15 minutes of normal time remaining, in a second-half that was stop-start and had no real pattern, there was one big moment.

A right wing corner was dropped into the box. Trying to clear the lines, Joe Bolger knocked the ball back across goal, Glen Hughes headed it on target, but an outstretched hand of a defender prevented it from finding the net.

Courtown as a team went apoplectic and it was completely understandable, as being that close to a cup final isn't an annual occurrence for the seasiders. That said, not every big decision went against Hibs.

Moments after Allen had saved James Byrne's lob attempt in the ninth minute, a flashpoint in midfield saw Colum Kinsella and Joe Bolger square up.

The Courtown man lunged forward with his head, made minimal contact with his opponent's face, but a mere 'talking to' seemed more than a little lenient.

When the game settled into a football contest it was Hibs that took the lead in the 29th minute.

A long Maguire ball was flicked on by Hughes, and both Eugene O'Brien and James Byrne broke though on it with the former taking over and slotting low to the net.

Mark Woods missed a chance to level the scores before the break, but as the second-half got going Gorey started to turn the screw.

Despite the territorial dominance, it was Courtown who went close to a second in the 61st minute when Leighton Gleeson clipped the crossbar with a free-kick.

Two minutes later Rangers equalised when Woods played a one-two with Gary Murphy, rounded Maguire and drilled to the net from a yard out.

Rather than be the start of something, the equaliser sent the game into a slumber.

Apart from the penalty Courtown should have had, it was Gorey who came closest to winning it in normal time.

In the 90th minute Behan released Ryan Cullen into the clear but his powerful shot was saved by Maguire.

Eoin Kinsella hit the foot of the post in the first-half of extra-time but things settled down and the game meandered along again.

That was until Behan timed his run to perfection with five minutes left to send Gorey Rangers into the cup final opposite Shamrock Rovers.

GOREY RANGERS: Seán Allen; Conor Casserly, Ryan Cullen, Gary Murphy, Nathan Brennan; Gavin O'Brien, Stephen Kinsella (capt.); Mark Woods, Stephen Moloney, Eric Quinn; Joe Bolger. Subs. - Paul Murphy for Kinsella (30), David Behan for Murphy (78), Kevin Kennedy for Casserly, inj. (83), Eoin Kinsella for Quinn (90+3), Seán Roche for Woods (110+1), also Dylan Vickers, Jamie Howard.

COURTOWN HIBS: Jason Maguire; Cormac Moore, Troy Murphy, Higor Garcez; Colum Kinsella, Leighton Gleeson (capt.); Colin O'Brien, Glen Hughes, James Byrne, James Fleming; Eugene O'Brien. Subs. - Marco Santos for Byrne (69), Jack O'Brien for Fleming (78), also Daniel O'Brien, Jamie Heffernan, Conor Berney, James Flynn, Graham Greene.

REFEREE: Darren Ennis.

Gorey Guardian