A dominant second-half display into the strong breeze enabled Gusserane O'Rahilly's turn a four-point interval deficit into a stunning victory over a shattered Glynn-Barntown in this exciting Wexford Premier Under-20 Football Championship semi-final played in bitterly cold Killurin on Sunday afternoon last.
No one must have been more surprised than the homeside who having looked the superior team through the opening thirty minutes looked set for a place in the final when turning over with the assistance of the stiff breeze.
But they came up against a rejuvenated Gusserane outfit, who not alone restricted the homeside to just two second-half points, but responded with three goals of their own to transform the game.
It was Jamie Sheehan who inspired delight for the visitors. Having started out at full-back, he was moved into a centre-back role on the resumption, and he responded with two goals, both arriving within two minutes of each other, scores that gave them the lead for the very first time.
It was the inspired play of Sheehan once given an outfield role that did so much to transform his side, while Sam Wall, ruled out with a hamstring strain, was an early first-half substitution and his introduction saw them gain more outfield possession, and it was this duo along with the impressive Gavin Sheehan, that swung the initiative back their side's way.
The homeside had the ideal start with a goal inside two minutes when corner-back David Roche got forward to finish a Cormac Cooney cross to the net.
In the difficult conditions it was not surprise to see both sides finding scoring difficult.
After an Aaron Breen long free had extended his sides lead, Gusserane finally opened their account at the end of the first quarter through a Gavin Sheehan pointed free.
It was Sheehan who followed up with a further pointed free, but it was the homeside who finished out the half with points from Breen and Jack Brazil frees, to lead 1-3 to 0-2 at the interval.
While Gusserane were dominating the play on the resumption they still had to wait until the forty-first minute for the opening score when a speculative Jamie Sheehan ball slipped through the hands of keeper Adam Murphy ending the net, while two minutes later after an Oisin Foran goal attempt had been saved by Murphy it was Sheehan who reacted quickest finishing the loose ball to the net, giving his side a 2-2 to 1-3 lead.
After a Jack Brazil point had reduced the deficit, the homeside had a real chance of taking the initiative back, for after Matthew Banville had been fouled, Referee Barry Redmond had little hesitation in awarding a penalty. However Brazil's well struck kick was brilliantly saved by keeper Mark Flynn who turned the ball away for a fruitless 45.
With both sides striving for scores it was Gusserane who put the result beyond doubt three minutes from the end.
Gavin Sheehan having worked his way through the defence played the ball across to Oisin Foran who applied the finish for his sides third goal and a place in the final.
Glynn-Barntown: Adam Murphy; Shane Doyle, Conor Clarke, David Roche (1-0); Garvan McCormack, Matthew Banville, Jamie O'Shea; Thomas Doyle, Aaron Breen (0-2 frees); Michael Carroll (0-1), Jack Brazil (0-3, 0-2 free), Dylan Lyne; Cormac Cooney, Cormac Rowe, Ger Dempsey. Subs: Luke Codd for Rowe; Michael Laffan for Roche (B.,C. 60).
Gusserane O'Rahilly's: Mark Flynn; Daniel Kinsella, Jamie Sheehan (2-0), Stephen Whelan; Eoin Codd, Tomas Ryan, Pedar Sinnott; Mark Kehoe, Emmett Cullen;Evan Kiely, Eoin Ryan, Ben Whitty (0-1); Kevin O'Donohoe, Oisin Foran (1-0), Gavin Sheehan (0-3 frees). Subs: Sam Wall for Kiely; Dylan Ryan for Kehoe.
Referee: Barry Redmond (Clonard).