The west Cork side overcame Shamrocks with a stunning second-half display, the victory rounding off an amazing week of silverware won by Carbery teams. Just seven days after Carbery Rangers took the SFC crown, and Bandon the IFC, the small club from the Ballydehob/Schull region is now home to the Donal O’Sullivan Cup.
Coach Mike O’Brien came on board this year. It was hard for the Castlehaven man put into words how he felt.
“Before this year, Gabriel Rangers had only won one West Cork and that was 2010. This is the second time to do so, and to win a county in the same year is massive. There were awful hard times in between.
“At half-time, we said the wind has nothing to do with this. We had played against it and were two points up, but we were sloppy at times. We said we had to get the ball into our forward line, and get it in early. We knew we had to get tighter in defence too.
“To a man they upped it. The second half was fantastic. All they ever needed was to be encouraged and to give them the freedom to play. They have done that all year long.”
Adding an unanswered 2-3 in a devastating 12-minute spell immediately after the break, Gabriel Rangers moved into an insurmountable lead. The goals were executed by two of their key attackers, Eddie Goggin and former Cork senior Mark Cronin.
The scoring burst pulled them 11 points clear against a team that were well in contention up to half-time. But sadly for Shamrocks they went through the second half without finding the range, they didn’t register until deep in stoppage time. Incredibly, when they did get the ball upfield they finished with a pair of well-taken goals, in the 61st and 62nd minute.
After a competitive opening half, the Rangers led 0-9 to 0-7, pushed all the way by a wind-assisted Shamrocks. The teams were tied 0-3 each after quarter of an hour. However, the west Cork side went on to lead by three after 20 minutes. Stephen O’Mahony was the catalyst from midfield, while Goggin, Chris Moynihan and Cronin pulled the strings up front.
Darragh O’Sullivan was the main man for the Carrigdhoun representatives who fought back to level terms (0-6 apiece) in the run-up to the break, Joe Shanahan and Barry Mulqueen points helping take the game to their opponents. Gabriel Rangers finished the half positively and three points to Shamrocks’ one left it a two-point match at the interval.
Gabriel Rangers restarted wonderfully, seizing the initiative from the restart. Cronin pointed before a stray kick-out fell the way of the same player who found Goggin for the first goal. It wasn’t long however before a second followed from Chris Moynihan.
And with that the floodgates opened. Two goals and four points they posted without reply.
It was game over, but credit Shamrocks who fired those late majors from Andrew O’Grady and Alan McCarthy On this performance, you would hardly bet against the new champions either in the Munster club versus the Clare winners. The quarter-final to be played at a Cork venue in early November.
But they won’t have been thinking of that last night, after an emotional day of deliverance.
E Goggin and C Moynihan (1-3 each), M Cronin (0-3, 0-1 free), S Kelleher (0-2), S O’Mahony and G O’Callaghan (0-1 each).
A McCarthy and A O’Grady (1-0 each), J Shanahan (0-2), B Mulqueen, M Jordan, D O’Sullivan, P Brady and C Caffery (0-1 each).
D O’Mahony; K O’Callaghan, C Newman, J Donegan; G O’Callaghan, R Moynihan, L Hegarty; D O’Sullivan, S O’Mahony; F Hurley, C Moynihan, E O’Brien; M Cronin (Capt), E Goggin, S Kelleher.
P Nolan for L Hegarty (bc 10), D Roycroft for K O’Callaghan (bs 20-21) S Evans for G O’Callaghan (32 inj), P Hegarty for E O’Brien (55), R Roycroft for F Hurley (56), D Roycroft for K O’Callaghan (58), B O’Brien for R Moynihan (61).
F O’Neill; M Prout, S Hurley, C Kidney; M Hitchmough, C O’Neill, D Hayes; B Mulqueen (Capt), M Jordan; J Shanahan, A McCarthy, D Andrews; D O’Sullivan, P Brady, C Caffery.
J Browne for M Prout (18 inj), A O’Grady for D Andrews (40), B Sweeney for M Jordan (43), J Tuohy for S Hurley (45), S O’Neill for D O’Sullivan (49), S Andrews for J Browne (58).
Cathal Ó Murchú (Brian Dillon’s).