Gouldson's goal is vital

Alan Aherne

Published 26/11/2016 | 00:00

Any Under-21 club team boasting three county Seniors has to be in with a good chance every time it goes out, and the Wexford colleagues were prominent in Ballymore on Saturday as Forth and Bargy Gaels hit five unanswered points between the 52nd and 57th minutes to power past Fethard into the Greenstar Premier championship semi-final.

Forth and Bargy 1-11 Fethard 0-10

Four of those scores came from Donal Shanley who put a first-half marred by uncharacteristic wayward shooting behind him to help his side secure a penultimate round clash away to titleholders Crossabeg-Ballymurn.

And his Wexford colleagues, the unrelated Jim and Naomhan Rossiter, also featured prominently as the combination of St. Fintan's, Our Lady's Island and St. Mary's (Rosslare) claimed a notable scalp against a side parading many of the Premier-winning Minor team of 2014.

Forth and Bargy made it harder on themselves than it might have been in the opening half, shooting eleven of their 15 wides with Shanley missing the target no fewer than five times from play.

The Rossiters also had a brace of stray kicks each, but the most important thing was that the home team still went in at the interval holding a 1-4 to 0-6 lead.

The goal arrived in the 24th minute, with the big three all prominent as Donal Shanley and Naomhan Rossiter featured in the move before Jim Rossiter released impressive wing-back David Gouldson who slotted a low shot to the net.

That score pushed Forth and Bargy into a 1-4 to 0-5 advantage, and the sole Fethard response before the break came in the form of a third point from play by the ever-dangerous Mikie Dwyer.

However, they did have a fine chance to respond immediately to that Forth and Bargy goal, but Jimmy Sutton's piledriver was kept out by a brilliant diving save from netminder Eoin Cummins at the expense of a fruitless '45.

Forth and Bargy's absentees included Jack Pettit owing to a shoulder injury, and they looked sluggish early on as Fethard moved into a 0-3 to nil lead inside five minutes. Two of the three Sutton brothers in action, Jimmy and Joe, kicked points, with Mikie Dwyer's first sandwiched in between.

Adam Swan drifted outfield to give Dwyer and Jimmy Sutton more room inside, but Forth and Bargy announced their arrival in the sixth minute when David Gouldson shipped a bone-cruncher of a legitimate tackle from Joe Sutton before composing himself to kick an excellent point.

The wides started to mount for the group team whereas the more economical Fethard eased 0-5 to 0-1 clear with further points from Adam Swan and Mikie Dwyer.

However, the visitors then went a full 19 minutes before Dwyer registered again on the stroke of half-time, and they conceded 1-3 in between.

While Gouldson's goal was the big one, earlier points from Quinn Saunders, Donal Shanley and Rob Cloney - who followed Adam Swan outfield - left Forth and Bargy clipping at their rivals' heels.

All eleven first-half scores came from play, and a notable statistic was that the eventual winners only conceded one free in that period, as late as the 28th minute. The free count at the end was 15 to the winners and just eight for their rivals, although opportunities from placed balls became more prevalent after the break.

It took less than four minutes on the re-start for Mikie Dwyer to jink into space and slot over two more points, bringing his tally to five and edging Fethard into an 0-8 to 1-4 lead.

They lost Daniel Johnston to a black card for a foul on lively new arrival Robert Coakley though, and Shanley levelled from the resultant free.

Forth and Bargy corner-forward Adam Devereux had a drive for goal blocked and cleared before colleague Rob Cloney was also black-carded, and Jimmy Sutton restored the Fethard lead with a point from a goal chance in the 41st minute (0-9 to 1-5).

Eoin Cummins did well again shortly afterwards to deny Mikie Dwyer, and that Forth and Bargy surge for victory started midway through the last quarter when Donal Shanley converted a free after a foul on David Gouldson.

Naomhan Rossiter won the kick-out and fed full-forward Tom Cullen who kicked the lead point via a post, and Shanley then added three more scores between the 55th and 57th minutes.

The first and third were from frees, both made scoreable as a result of dissent from Fethard, with the effort from play sandwiched in between after Jim Rossiter latched on to the re-start.

Mikie Dwyer, who had moved outfield in a swap with Adam Swan, kicked Fethard's sole score from a free in the 59th minute to give them hope of forcing extra-time with a late goal.

However, Forth and Bargy had the last say when Naomhan Rossiter caught his own kick-out after Richie Waters screwed a free wide. The move that followed featured Jim Rossiter and Quinn Saunders before Donal Shanley calmly slotted over his third point from play to ensure that this particular championship title will definitely stay in Wexford District this year.

Forth and Bargy Gaels: Eoin Cummins (SF); Rob Cloney (OLI, 0-1), Cathal Devereux (OLI), Ciarán Sheil (SMR); David Gouldson (SMR, 1-1), Naomhan Rossiter (SMR), Cian Meyler (OLI); Eoin O'Callaghan (SF), Jim Rossiter (SF); Daire Heffernan (SMR), Donal Shanley (SF, capt., 0-7, 4 frees), Quinn Saunders (OLI, 0-1); Adam Devereux (OLI), Tom Cullen (SF, 0-1), Kevin Wright (OLI). Subs. - Robert Coakley (SF) for Wright (33), Wright for Cloney, black card (40).

Fethard: Niall Roche; Seán Sutton, Evan Rowe, Martin Doyle; Joe Sutton (0-1), Seán Donohoe, Chris Molloy; Daniel Johnston, Richie Waters (capt.); James Dillon, Daire Barden, Ricky Rowe; Adam Swan (0-1), Mikie Dwyer (0-6, 1 free), Jimmy Sutton (0-2). Subs. - Mikey Barden for Dillon (34), Paddy Traynor for Johnston, black card (36).

Referee: Shane Quinn (Réalt na Mara).

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