A NUMBER of teams won the Carbery championship, in hurling and football, for the first time in recent years, including a Gabriel Rangers outfit that lifted the JAFC title in 2010.
Selecting from players in the Ballydehob/Schull area Gabriels celebrated in style after this triumph which was followed by another South West title seven years later. The same season they went on to hit another historic note when capturing the county title in this grade.
Fielding some excellent teams, particularly in the ’90s, Gabriels were unfortunate that in that era some outstanding sides competed in the South West Division thus delaying their arrival at the top table until 10 years ago. Here we return to that memorable victory.
Gabriel Rangers 1-9 Clann na nGael 0-8:
GABRIELS took a firm grip on proceedings from the outset and never let go until the final whistle, ensuring an historic South West JAFC tile.
For the first time ever this cup headed for the Ballydehob/Schull area after Rangers put in a huge effort on a wet night in Skibbereen.
Having had to re-enter this championship via the backdoor, after losing heavily to their opponents in the first round, Rangers had their homework done for this final.
They picked out the danger men and man-marked them to perfection but Clann na nGael were unable to do likewise as Rangers corner-forward Mark Cronin was un-markable.
He gave a man of the match performance and ended up with a goal and four points tally with his goal on the three-quarter mark a crucial score. It came about after some suicidal defensive play by the short passing Clann na nGael defence and when Rangers intercepted, the ball broke to Cronin who delightfully chipped the retreating keeper.
Now seven points to the good an historic triumph was never going to be thwarted by the losers who put in a gallant late charge but their two-point return in the opening half was never that of a team at the races.
Meanwhile, Rangers had monopolised midfield exchanges where Pat Nolan and John Ward were in complete control. This meant a plentiful supply to an attack where U17 Development squad member Eddie Goggin kicked over two delightful points.
His first followed a couple of converted Mark Cronin frees and one apiece from Ger Hurley and Ger O’Callaghan to ease Rangers four points clear. At the break it was Rangers on a 0-6 to 0-2 scoreline with the losers forced to reshuffle their forces at the interval.
The switch of Micheál O’Driscoll to midfield helped as he made a few powerful forward surges and the losers kicked the opening point of the closing half to harbour thoughts of raising a gallop. All their dreams were blown away when Cronin slipped home his goal.
With Clann down to 14 men after Adrian O’Driscoll had picked up a second yellow card 11 minutes from the end, the Mick McCarthy Cup was on its way into the west long before the final whistle.
Scorers for Gabriel Rangers: M Cronin 1-4 (0-3 f), E Goggin 0-2, S O’Mahony, G O’Callaghan, G Hurley 0-1 each.
Clann na nGael: A O’Driscoll 0-2, J Walsh 0-2 (0-1 f), W O’Mahony 0-2 f, G O’Donovan 0-1 each.
GABRIEL RANGERS: D O’Mahony; K O’Callaghan, T Sheehan, Gary O’Callaghan; A O’Mahony, L Hegarty, J O’Callaghan; J Ward, P Nolan; S Kelleher, G Hurley, Ger O’Callaghan; M Cronin, S O’Mahony, E Goggin. Subs; E Kelleher for G Hurley, D Ward for S O’Mahony, D McSweeney for J O’Callaghan, D Cotter for A O’Mahony.
CLANN NA NGAEL: E Daly; F O’Connell, T Connolly, JJ Collins; D Crowley, M O’Driscoll, B O’Connell; D Holland, G O’Donovan; W O’Mahony, J Walsh, A O’Driscoll; P O’Rourke, PJ O’Donovan, V Collins.
Subs: S Connolly for P O’Rourke, J Cahalane for Holland, P O’Driscoll for JJ Collins, D Cahalane for V Collins.
Referee: David Whyte, St Mary’s.
WHILE the men’s side was struggling for success the ladies from this scenic area were punching above their weight and long before ladies football, or reporting of same, became something to boast about Gabriels and Beara were shining lights.
Here the report from the County Intermediate final of 2004.
Beara 4-9 Gabriel Rangers 0-17
IT was tough going in the end for Beara who had to withstand a heart-warming Gabriel Rangers onslaught in this Friday evening, county intermediate ladies football final, played in Bantry.
The winners did so successfully because they managed to bring three or four players back behind the play Tyrone-style to stymie the efforts of the opposition and in the process, Beara were able to reap the benefits of a classy first-half attacking performance.
Four times they netted before the break in a splendid encounter where a total of 30 scores tells a story of a final of relentless pace.
When it came to taking their points the losers did exceptionally well, but their first touch was sometimes off and generally it was Beara who made better use of the breaks.
The winners also intercepted well and in the very first passage of play, Amanda Murphy forced Gretta Burchill to make a good reflex save, following a Rangers defensive lapse. Ms Murphy, not for the first time, was the star of the winner’s attack but in front of her Susan Power was a tour de force, while Emma Harrington’s hard work paid off in the form of a well-taken goal and point.
They were helped by the hard grafting of their fellow attackers that prised the openings for a Susan Power goal, after eight minutes, Emma Harrington after 11 minutes and a further two from Amanda Murphy before the break where they held a 4-5 to 0-8 advantage.
Rangers reshuffled their forces at the interval and assisted by a stiff breeze made a determined effort to bridge the gap in the closing half.
The excellence of free-taker, Claire O’Brien, the forceful play of defenders Christine Deasy and Siobhán Dineen and the continued good play of Elaine Cotter, Clare Daly, now in attack, where Deirdre Cotter, Nollaig Cleary, and Clodagh O’Driscoll all scored to bring them to within reach of Beara.
Some excellent saves by the keeper, Celina Sheehan, the high fielding of Vicki Power and the gritty play of Laura Power and Michelle Goggin, especially, were all crucial factors in a thrilling Beara triumph.
Scorers; Beara; A Murphy 2-5 (0-2 f), S Power 1-3, E Harrington 1-1.
Gabriel Rangers: C O’Brien 0-8 f, D Cotter 0-3, N Cleary, C O’Driscoll 0-2 each, M Westwood, C Daly 0-1 each.
BEARA: C Sheehan; A Goggin, L Power, A O’Sullivan; V Power, B Wiseman, M Goggin; C O’Donoghue, K O’Sullivan; C Power, S Power, E Harrington; M Sheehan, A Murphy, B O’Sullivan.
Subs: J Russell for B Wiseman, E Hanley for A O’Sullivan, A. G O’Sullivan for M Sheehan, O Green for E Harrington, A Daly for B O’Sullivan.
GABRIEL RANGERS: G Burchill; C Deasy, E Regan, C Daly; M Kelleher, A Regan, S Dineen; S O’Leary, E Cotter; C O’Brien, C O’Driscoll, D Cotter; E Cleary, N Cleary, M Westwood.
Subs: K Crowley for M Kelleher, A Coughlan for E Cleary.
Referee: Michael John O’Keeffe (Dromtarriffe).