St. Joe’s 3-5, Rockland 1-5
After a nip-and-tuck battle, Rory Gourley’s second goal of the game and a point from James Ruane gave St. Joseph’s a narrow victory over Rockland Saturday in a New York Minor Board U-14 semifinal.
Rockland opened the scoring of the Rockland pitch with a point from Mike O’Sullivan. St. Joseph’s replied with points from Ruane and Nick Green and a well-taken goal by Gourley. The teams exchanged five more points before halftime, with Sean White, Nick Mangan and O’Sullivan scoring for Rockland, and Russell Green and Luis Velez splitting the posts for the New Jersey boys, making it 1-4 to 0-4 in St. Joseph’s favor.
In the early stages of the second half, both teams stretched each other’s back lines to the limit but neither set of defenders yielded. Rockland keeper Brian Warner pulled off a couple of fine saves and Fionuala O’Hanlon of St. Joseph’s intercepted and disrupted a few raids by the Rockland forwards in front of her team’s goal.
St. Joseph’s then struck with the score of the match as Declan O’Donnell gained possession on the left wing about 30 yards from the Rockland goal. He sent a pinpoint kick pass across the field that was met with perfect precision by Ruane, who fisted the ball to the back of the net in full flight.
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
Not to be outdone, Rockland regrouped and after a few deft passes the ball came to Emmett McGrade, who neatly planted the ball in the net. Stephen Spellman added a point for the Rockies and now there were only two points between the sides.
St. Joseph’s won the midfield tussle over the last 10 minutes with Brady, Ruane and center half back Wade Schoder gaining vital possession at this critical point. Rockland kept pushing forward but could not add to their scoreline before Gourley’s and Ruane’s point sealed the victory for St. Joseph’s.
Also good for Rockland were Sean McGrath and Mike McElligott.
Rockland 3-5, Brendan’s 0-1
Rockland was the dominant team over the course of the match but St. Brendan’s were valiant in their efforts. Rockland had a strong back line that was anchored by Tim Sullivan, Evan Glynn and Seamus Woods. Midfielders Brandon and Chris Relihan won plenty of possession and gave a constant supply of ball to their forward line that was led by Ryan McNamara, Dennis Michalak and Patrick Duffy. St. Brendan’s had many fine players. Outstanding was keeper Christine Boyle, defenders Ryan Gertzkis, Sean O’Connell and Pat Garvey, midfielders Niall Croke and Brian McPike, and forwards Niall Harding and Dylan Williams.