Vols finish on high
Three late goals secure both points
Table-toppers St. John's Volunteers needed three goals in the final eight minutes to see off lively hosts Rathgarogue-Cushinstown in the Gorey Guardian Coiste na nOg Juvenile football championship on Monday.
Volunteers 3-9 R'garogue-C'town 1-8
Trailing by 1-7 to 0-9 with 52 minutes on the clock, Volunteers hit a brace of majors in just 30 seconds to change the complexion of a game in which they were really struggling to get the expected win.
A moment of inspiration from Jack Nolan on the left wing produced the Volunteers' opening goal that gave the Wexford town club their third lead of the evening with time ticking away.
It was the attacker's ball inside the Rathgarogue-Cushinstown defence to pick out Ryan Busher that created the opening, and it was the midfielder-cum-full-forward's cool finish to the bottom left corner of Fionn Slattery's net that secured the vital score.
The goal was a hammer-blow to the home players who defied their lowly position in the table to run their opponents to the brink of defeat for so long.
Maybe it was inevitable that a second quickly followed when the rangy Brian Deeney claimed the resulting kick-out, drove in on goal and smashed home his side's second major.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown had plenty of good goal chances throughout the second-half and were again unlucky when two opportunities came and went two minutes after the Vols burst. Jack Murphy cracked the post with a low shot before Eoin Burke hit the upright with the rebound. Seconds later Shane Delaney narrowly shot wide which must have left their mentors thinking it just wasn't going to be their night.
The excellent Eoin Porter narrowed the gap with a free but his stellar performance was certainly matched by T.J. Cousins in the second-half, and the Volunteers star rounded out the victory with a fine finish for goal three with the last kick of the game.
Earlier, Rathgarogue-Cushinstown were excellent in building up a deserved 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead. Porter, Delaney and Murphy were all on target for the New Ross District side with replies at the other end from Cian Kehoe, Deeney, Jack Nolan and Ryan Lynch.
T.J. Cousins notched the first four points for his side after the break but Rathgarogue-Cushinstown still led at the midway point in the half after Porter drove in and goaled in the 40th minute and Paddy Barron pointed.
A Lynch point cut the deficit to a point with ten minutes to go and it was Volunteers with the strong finish to maintain their one hundred per cent record in Roinn 1B.
St. John's Volunteers: Aaron Kinsella; Chris Glover, Jason Moore, Ryan Doyle; Eoghan Reck, Seán Crosbie, Ryan Lynch (0-2 frees); Brian Deeney (1-1), Ryan Busher (1-0); Cian Kehoe (0-1), Luke Dowdall, Jack Nolan (0-1); Finn Coughlin, T.J. Cousins (1-4), Aaron Roche (capt.). Sub. - Josh Murphy for Glover (31).
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Fionn Slattery; Cian Gaffney, Ricky McGrath, Adam Bookle; Liam Roche, Eoin Porter (capt., 1-4, 0-4 frees), Kevin Roberts; Shane O'Connor, Jack Murphy (0-2); Dylan Delaney, Paddy Barron (0-1), Jess Quigley; Eoin Burke, Shane Delaney (0-1), David O'Connor. Sub. - Conor Lynch for Quigley, inj. (24).
Referee: John Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).