Glory for Gorey
Gorey Rangers 1 Forth Celtic 0
Gorey Rangers are halfway to completing an impressive Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Cup double after edging Forth Celtic in the Under-16 final in Hollygrove on Friday evening last.
Darragh Levingston's perfect 60th minute penalty, which came after Man of the Match Mark Atkin was fouled when breaking onto the goalscorer's through-ball inside the box, proved to be the difference as Rangers snuck past their battling Murrintown opponents.
This exact same squad of players are already Under-15 League champions and play in the cup decider for that age-group against old foes North End United on Saturday in Curracloe (2 p.m. kick-off).
However, they didn't have it all their own way in this contest. It really was a tough battle from start to finish with a premium on clear-cut chances at both ends of the field. Credit must go to both sides defences, they were excellent and kept their respective 'keepers quiet for long spells of the game.
While Celtic's Darragh Furlong fired the first sighter across the face of goal and wide in the sixth minute, when the game settled it was actually Gorey Rangers who looked the more likely side to break the deadlock in the opening forty minutes of football.
Oisin Woolmington sliced a half-chance wide when in space on the right of goal in the 13th minute while Levingston's free-kick was volleyed narrowly wide by Atkin from close to the penalty spot at the start of the second quarter.
On a rare break into the opponent's box, Celtic striker Furlong did well to latch onto Evan Farrell's pass and trouble the defence but Cian Browne got down quickly at his feet to end the danger.
Later in the half, Matthew Healy slipped Atkin into the clear on the left side of the penalty area but the again the Rangers striker missed the target.
Deadlocked at the interval, Forth Celtic came out after the break with the bit between their teeth and were excellent in the early exchanges.
Shane Pettit warmed Cian Browne's hands with a crisp drive and the Rangers 'stopper was called into action again moments later to deny Furlong.
In the 55th minute the powerful Celtic attacker broke in again on Evan Farrell's chipped through-ball but slashed his shot wide. Gorey had just started to get themselves going again when Levingston released Atkin and he was upended inside the penalty area.
Levingston made no mistake from the spot with a classy finish to the top corner, giving Jack O'Leary no chance.
There was always likely to be a late push from Forth and into came in stoppage time.
A booming long O'Leary ball got Luke Kavanagh away on goal but he came under pressure as he got into the penalty area and Browne was able to save his low shot with ease.
Then, with time expiring, Jack Byrne missed the target with a 25-yard free-kick as Rangers clung on to take the trophy.
GOREY RANGERS: Cian Browne; Seanie O'Brien Murphy, Ryan Connolly, Paul Gibson, Shane Gibson; Luke Green (capt.), Darragh Levingston; Oisin Woolmington, Andrew Mulvey-Mescal, Matthew Healy; Mark Atkin. Subs. - Ross Proudfoot for Woolmington, inj (53), also, Cian Herbage, Jason Bolger, Aimen Siouane, Joe Curtis, Jesse Chambers, Aaron Whelan.
FORTH CELTIC: Jack O'Leary; Jack Byrne, Ben Morris, Shane Walsh, Cathal Dowd; Evan Farrell, Joe Barrett, Kevin Breen (capt.), Shane Pettit, Zak Firman; Darragh Furlong. Subs. - Luke Kavanagh for Breen (41), Tiernan Dempsey for Farrell (66), Conor Stafford for Pettit (66), Cian Byrne for Barrett (72), K. Breen for Furlong, inj (75), also, Adam Feery, Francis Dempsey, James Donnelly, Caelan Ward, Callum Smithies.
REFEREE: Derek Campion.