Both defenses excelled, with Rangers Chris Colleran, Stephen Cassels and Paul Coyle having an outstanding game and goalkeeper Colin Murray making a number of excellent saves and lengthy clearances. On the Rockland side, Brian Walsh, Gary Ginley, Nick Mangan and ?keeper Brian Warner were equally rock solid. Both sides played tough to achieve a half-time score of Rockland 0-4 to Rangers 1-0.
Early in the second half, Rangers enjoyed a lot of possession but got no results on the scoreboard. Rangers managers Denis Twomey and Henry Malone knew a scuffling of positions was called for and the introduction of U-14 star Sean Twomey, Pierce Cassels and Mike Coyle ignited the offense at a critical axis in the game. Pierce Cassels fisted a high ball to Mike Coyle who converted it for an excellent point. The next score, a great individual effort by Coyle resulted in Rangers pulling ahead by one. Then Sean Twomey sent over a beauty and Pat Berna got his second goal, set up by Chris Cassels and Lorcan Malone. Brendan McManus was all over the field, his lengthy solo runs and long ball into the Rockland forwards finally were rewarded, when the ball landed in the back of the Rangers net.
The goal came too late for Rockland, as Rangers clinging to a two-point lead had the offensive momentum flowing and had worked too hard over the previous hour to allow victory to slip away. Back came Rangers with Stephen Cassels fielding to Paul Coyle to P.J. Wagner to Kevin Cullinan for a wonderful point. Three minutes later, Cullinan enjoyed a powerful solo run and crashed the ball to the roof of the net. That score sealed it for Rangers, a well-deserved victory.
For the record, this Rangers player panel won the U-14 Championship in 2001 and 2002 and have a bright future ahead of them.
Rangers: Colin Murray, Pat O?Driscoll, Chris Colleran, Adam Lee, Stephen Tassels, Paul Coyle, Kevin Cullinan (1-1), P.J. Wagner, Pat Berna (2-0), Lorcan Malone, Chris Cassels, Dan Kenny, Peter Woods, Pierce Cassels, Sean Twomey (0-1), Michael Coyle (0-2), Mike Carrigy, Michael O?Sullivan, Eamonn Nugent, Martin Cassels, Damian Cassels.
Rockland: Brian Warner, Brian Walsh, Chris Lance, Nick Mangan, Gary Ginley (0-1), Robert Daly, Patrick Seeley, Brendan McManus (1-0), Conor Hogan, Danny O?Malley (0-3), Shane Reilly, Matt Murtagh (0-1), Patrick Murphy.
Game MVP: Kevin Cullinan, Rangers.