Ryan's vital goal
Gorey Rangers close in on U14 title
Ryan Lewins' goal, four minutes from the end of normal time, put one Gorey Rangers hand on the Wexford and District Schoolboys League Under-14 Division 1 trophy in The Showgrounds on Wednesday.
Gorey Rangers 1 North End United 1
North End were on course to propel themselves right back into the title reckoning until Darragh Levingstone's ball into the box bobbled around the defence and fell to Lewins with 66 minutes on the clock and the attacker fired home.
Rangers needed a victory to wrap up the silverware but were facing the real possibility of requiring a play-off against United to decide the destination of the title when Seán Stafford poked the Wexford town side in front six minutes into the second-half.
However, Lewins' equaliser means that the hosts now need just a point away to local rivals Gorey Celtic in their final game to take the title.
The emphatic celebrations on full-time showed the importance of this draw. North End somehow lost the reverse fixture 5-1 but were arguably the better team last week and would have fancied their chances in a play-off. They started the game on the front foot.
Shane Pettit slipped Cian Kinlough into the clear into the sixth minute but Ben Murphy hared out to save at the striker's feet. Claude Flynn then went down easily in the box as North End continued to press, but referee Kevin Dunne was justified in waving away loud appeals - most of which came from the line.
There was very little threat from the home side until Lewins saw a strike at goal blocked in the 20th minute and Danny Cranch's rebound forced Noel Heffernan into a stunning low save. Then, at the other end, Pettit poked a cross from the left of goal, Kinlough dipped low enough to connect but he headed over.
With the game deadlocked at the break, North End went close again on the resumption when Stafford played the ball back across goal and Flynn flashed over the crossbar.
Stafford didn't miss the target when his chance came after great combination work by Pettit, Darragh Connell and Kinlough four minutes later.
The tempo started to drop after the goal as Gorey desperation showed. North End dealt with everything their hosts threw at them quite comfortably until Levingstone's cross was forced to the net by Lewins with four minutes remaining.
With the life sucked out of United, Rangers went closest to a winning in the time that was left. Levingstone took the shot himself this time, Heffernan saved but the draw certainly suited Gorey more than their forlorn opponents.
Star man - Ryan Lewins (Gorey Rangers): Nothing was happening for his side until the attacker popped up to fire them level with four minutes left - most likely a title-winning contribution.
Gorey Rangers: Ben Murphy; Oscar McGrath, Seán Dowling, Dylan Molloy, Caelum Crohan; Seán Smith, Kuba Kruczek, Callum Travers-Devlin (capt.), Danny Cranch; Jack Doran, Ryan Lewins. Subs. - Darragh Levingstone for Doran (46), Ben Morris for McGrath, inj. (61), also Jake Kearney.
North End United: Noel Heffernan; Adam Mullins, Liam Godkin, Darragh Howell (capt.), Marcus McCarthy; Cian Kinlough, Seán Murphy, Shane Petitt, Claude Flynn; Darragh Connell, Seán Stafford. Subs. - Leon Sinnott for Mullins (62), also Davy Harte, Josh Murphy, Byron Sweeney.
Referee: Kevin Dunne.