MFBC semi-final: Slaney Rangers 2-12 Clonmore 1-7

November 8, 2018

Slaney Rangers reverse fourteen point loss.

Slaney Rangers 2-12          Clonmore 1-7

Slaney Rangers deservedly progressed to the final of the Minor B Football Championship after this hard fought win over Clonmore in Bro Leo Park recently.

When these teams met earlier in this competition, Clonmore recorded a runaway 1-19 to 0-8 victory. At that stage, the much vaunted Clonmore men looked clear favourites for the Championship but little did anyone know that come the semi-final they would be missing 5 of their first 15 due to combination of injuries, work commitments and soccer commitments. The u-16 players who stepped up to replace the absent regulars could not be faulted for effort or skill, and the result was in doubt until the 55th minute (1-10 to 1-6), but the physically stronger Rangers team pulled away in the dying minutes and scored 1-2 to run out convincing winners.

Clonmore opened the scoring with a PJ Byrne point but within minutes this was cancelled out by a goal from the Slaney full-forward, Paul Canavan, who challenged the Clonmore goalkeeper Mark Hennessy to a high ball before reacting quickest to boot the loose ball to the net. Clonmore supporters were enraged when a goal from a similar position by their full-forward, Dillon Bowes, was disallowed by referee Seamie Doyle for a square infringement at a vital stage in the second half.

Undaunted by this setback, the young Clonmore lads came back to level the scores at 1-2 apiece on 15 minutes when the lively Shane McGrath took a pass from Bowes and sent a rocket to the roof of James Griffin’s net.  However, Rangers were winning most of the possession at midfield, where Paddy Tobin and Stephen Nolan were a commanding pairing, while Paddy McCall at wing back and centre forward Jack Kennedy were also in sparking form. The speedy McCall took every opportunity to attack and was rewarded with two fine points while Kennedy showed his accuracy with a haul of 0-5. We can expect to hear more from these two outstanding performers. Rangers finished the first half strongly to lead by 1-6 to 1-3 at half-time.

Clonmore opened the second half in determined mood and within a minute had the ball in the net only for Dillon Bowes flicked effort to be ruled out. Clonmore’s midfielders, Mike Murray and Niall Humphries, were coming more into the game and they rallied their team with a point apiece to leave the minimum between the sides on 35 minutes: 1-6 to 1-5. Sensing danger, Rangers upped their performance and pulled away again with points from Stephen Nolan (2), Kennedy and McCall to make it 1-10 to 1-6 on 54 mins. Although Clonmore tried their best, their young team could not sustain the effort against the Tullow/ Grange lads who had a size advantage in most positions.

The impressive Slaney Rangers team finished strongly with points from Paddy Hickey, McCall again, and a cracking goal from Mark Behan with the last kick of the game to run out deserving winners on a scoreline of 2-12 to 1-7.

Slaney Rangers: James Griffin, Shane Doyle, Alan Doyle, Ned Pender; Paddy McCall (0-2), Cillian Murphy, Shane Rowan; Paddy Tobin (0-1), Stephen Nolan (0-3,2fs); Willie Doran, Jack Kennedy (0-5), Patrick Hickey (0-1); JJ Connolly, Paul Canavan (1-0), Mark Behan (1-0). Sub: Mark Fagan for Doran (50mins).

Clonmore: Mark Hennessy; Ryan Hickey, Martin Byrne, Mark Byrne; Gordon Hickey, Shane Murphy, William Byrne; Mick Murray (0-1f), Niall Humphries (0-3); PJ Byrne (0-2), Darren McGrath (0-1), David McCarney; Shane McGrath (1-0), Dillon Bowes, Paul Hogan. Sub: Chris Smith for W. Byrne (inj, 55mins).

Ref: Seamus Doyle (Fighting Cocks)