In a very sporting, keenly fought under-21 championship final at Rockland on Sunday, St. Joseph’s defeated defending champs Rangers, 1-11 to 0-10. Both teams were short a number of key players, especially Rangers.
Over the hour this was an inspiring performance by both teams after a shaky start, with the marksmen on both sides kicking some useful wides. At the ninth minute Rangers scored first, a ball out from corner forward Sean Twomey to Robby Lim, followed by a second from Mickey Sheridan. Then it was St. Joseph’s turn to take the limelight, with Ruairi O’Neill and Pat Maguire now in devastating form at centerfield, the forwards getting a plentiful supply. Michael Creegan sent over two points from long range, Ian Young got two, Conor Gillespie 0-1, Gerry Gillespie 0-1 and Michael Creegan 0-1. Ray Lennon pulled one back for Rangers before the break.
Under sustained pressure by Rangers in the second half, St. Joseph’s can thank goalkeeper Chris Clarke, Kevin Cassells, John Creegan and Declan Gourley for some marvelous defensive displays. Points by Derek Courtney, Billy Concannon and Ray Lennon left a minimum between the sides. Then came the score of the game, a five-player movement involving P.J. Ferris, Donal Gillespie, John Creegan, Ruairi O’Neill to Michael Creegan, who rounded four defenders before blasting to the net. Eugene Gillespie, Conor Gillespie and Ian Young got minors.
On three attacking movements John Williams, Barry Harpur, Donal Riordan and John Fahey shut down St. Joseph’s dangermen. Further points by Mickey Sheridan, Ray Lennon and Derek Courtney left just four points between the sides. But try as Rangers did, they could not get that all important goal.