Super-sub Burke bags late Réalt na Mara winner
Michael Burke came off the bench to kick the all-important goal five minutes from the end, enabling Réalt na Mara to fashion a highly-impressive three-point victory over Ferns St. Aidan's in this Gorey District Under-21 football Roinn 1 championship semi-final in Ferns on Tuesday.
Realt na Mara 1-10 Ferns St. Aidan's 1-7
The goal came at the end of a Ferns purple patch that saw the home side move into a one-point lead ten minutes from the end, and it proved the key score as it helped the seasiders to regain the initiative and eventually hold off a determined Ferns second-half display.
Five minutes into the second-half, Réalt na Mara had moved into a 0-9 to 0-5 lead, but a mistake from 'keeper Kieran Gigi followed. His short kick-out was intercepted by Ryan Nolan who lobbed the ball back into an empty net, bringing his side level (1-6 to 0-9) after 38 minutes.
Réalt na Mara to their credit never lost their composure, battling their way through the closing quarter, and Burke's goal five minutes from the end swung the game back their way, eventually edging them to victory, in the process setting up a District final meeting with Craanford who received a walkover from St. Patrick's on the same evening.
After Ivan Meegan had pointed the home side in front within two minutes of the start, Réalt na Mara went on to show the greater scoring threat as Cormac Moore and Gavin Walker picked off some excellent points, while home 'keeper Jason Maguire also saved excellently from both Moore and Dylan Sweeney.
With Meegan points keeping the home side in contention, points from Shane Quinn and Moore left the eventual winners leading 0-6 to 0-5 at the interval.
The Ballygarrett side took the initiative on the resumption as Patrick Fleming, Cormac Moore and Gavin Walker added points, moving their side into a 0-9 to 0-5 lead after 37 minutes.
Then came the bizarre Nolan goal along with a Meegan pointed free to bring Ferns level (0-9 to 1-6) after 48 minutes.
When Nolan pointed the home side in front one minute later it looked as if Ferns were about to move on, but Réalt na Mara battled back for substitute Burke to get on the end of a sweeping move and find the net from close range, giving his side a 1-9 to 1-7 lead.
Outstanding midfielder Gavin Walker then kicked over an excellent long-range point just on full-time to ensure his side's final passage.
Réalt na Mara: Kieran Gigi; David Doran, Evan Dunbar, Philip Doyle; Patrick Fleming (0-1), Darren Morris, Tom Sinnott; Cathal Dunbar, Gavin Walker (0-4); Brian O'Connor, Shane Quinn (0-1), Cormac Moore (0-3, 1 free); Eoin Corcoran, Dylan Sweeney, Jack Doyle. Sub. - Michael Burke (1-0) for J. Doyle.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Jason Maguire; Conor Scallan, Ger Turner, Aaron Cahill; Jack O'Hagan, Ben Cowman (0-1), P.J. O'Neill; Peter O'Toole, Eoin Murphy; Ivan Meegan (0-4, 3 frees), Chris Turner, Kieran Doran; Conor Jordan, Ryan Nolan (1-1), Conor Nolan (0-1).
Referee: David Owens (Kilrush).