Gorey march on in FAI Junior Cup
Gorey Rangers 2 Freebooters 1
For long passages at Ramstown on Sunday, it appeared that Gorey Rangers' FAI Junior Cup campaign was going to come unstuck against Kilkenny's Freebooters, as the home side were devoid of any inspiration and were performing well below their best.
Their first attempt of any description arrived via a Ryan Cullen header that skewered well wide on 52 minutes, while their first shot on target was a tame effort from David Behan 17 minutes later.
However, in between the leaders lost goalkeeper Ciarán Farnan to a muscle injury, and what transpired was a complete battering of the Freebooters goal as Rangers eventually took the spoils by 2-1 and advance to the next round of the prestigious national competition.
They looked destined to restore parity on 70 minutes when a ball over the top from consistent midfielder Gavin O'Brien found Eric Quinn off the shoulder of the last man, and he got in just ahead of substitute 'keeper Steven Scallon to loft the ball goalwards, only for a covering defender to clear off the line.
Captain Stephen Kinsella saw a powerful mid-range shot whistle past the post, and Quinn headed wide from a Conor Casserly cross, but Rangers soon struck twice in a dramatic minute to completely transform the tie.
Firstly, Quinn whipped in a free from the right side of the box which deflected off a Freebooters body and fell to Behan to knock home poacher-style from close-range.
And Freebooters had hardly recovered from that blow when Paul Brennan pounced on a loose ball to feed Adam Territ.
And while his initial cross was blocked, he chased down the rebound to nudge the ball towards the back post.
The ball may well have nestled in the net anyway, but Brennan was on hand to administer the final touch just to be sure.
Freebooters created a couple of late chances to force extra-time, with Emmet Nugent half-volleying inches wide and Seán Allen standing firm to a David Rice header from a corner.
They had led at the end of a rather insipid first-half after a 44th-minute corner (their third in quick succession) from David Doyle evaded jumpers around the goalmouth but fell to Paddy Cahill to guide home to the bottom corner.
Otherwise, the game had taken on a pattern of aerial combat as opposed to intricate floor routines, and the quality suffered as a result.
Gorey will be the first to admit that they were far from their best for two-thirds of the game, but they certainly upped the standard when it mattered to gain a narrow victory.
Gorey Rangers: Seán Allen; Conor Casserly, Stephen Moloney, Ryan Cullen, Gary Murphy; Adam Territ, Stephen Kinsella (capt.), Gavin O'Brien, Paul Brennan; Eric Quinn, David Behan. Subs. - Glen O'Brien for G. Murphy, inj. (38), Dylan Vickers for Terrett (88).
Freebooters: Ciarán Farnan; Andrew Wall, Paddy Cahill, David Rice (capt.), Ger Hayes; Conor English, Peter Higgins, Craig Wall, David Doyle; Emmet Nugent, David Grincell. Subs. - Steven Scallon for Farnan (64), Joe Banville for Grincell (76), Success Edogon for Doyle (83).
Referee: Brian Fenlon.