Celtic strike late
McGonigle breaks Albion hearts
Micheal McGonigle smashed home an injury-time winner for Gorey Celtic as they claimed the Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Under-12 Cup in dramatic fashion at Curracloe on Saturday.
Gorey Celtic 2 Wexford Albion 1
The talented Celtic wide man latched on to a long, hopeful punt forward, dashed in behind the Wexford Albion defence but still had plenty to do.
From the edge of the area McGonigle thumped a shot as hard as his tiring legs could manage and it flew past Max Stone like a rocket to the net.
It was a fitting way for an entertaining game to end. With the pitch just a few yards shy of full size, and the nine-a-side rules facilitating the style, both sides looked to feed the ball into space rather than to feet.
It was a style of game that really suited the pacy player and both sides boasted plenty of speed in their ranks. For Gorey, as well as McGonigle, Lee Polglase was a vital cog, helping his side to get back into a contest that they were second best in for the first 20 minutes.
In that opening spell, and for much of the game, Albion's midfield was excellent. Luke Murphy was in superb form in there as a combative player with excellent ball skills. He was involved in their opening chance that the dangerous Alex Currid smashed wide.
When Murphy picked up possession on the right side of the penalty area, darted between defenders and lofted a succulent finish over Eoin Blanchfield to the net, Wexford Albion had the lead their early play warranted.
The goal gave Albion confidence and they battered the Gorey defence for a spell. The Celtic rearguard of Seán Hughes, Ben Ryan and Andrew Smyth were magnificent when their team came under pressure, as was Blanchfield who refused to concede a second goal.
Kaelem O'Connor, Cillian Twomey and Currid all had chances but they couldn't find the second goal. Eventually Gorey got back into the game and went close when Stone was forced to save a Cian Hughes header. However, the next Diego Vidal corner had a different ending altogether.
Again from the left wing, Vidal swung the cross to the near post where Seán Hughes met it with a ferocious header that raced past a packed goal-line to the Wexford Albion net.
Level at the interval, the second period proved to be a lot edgier than the first.
Very few clearcut chances came after the break as defences dominated. Celtic had the better efforts and they came exclusively from McGonigle. When the goal did come in injury time it was no surprise that the winger scored it to seal a cup and league Division 1A double for his side.
Gorey Celtic: Eoin Blanchfield; Seán Hughes, Ben Ryan, Andrew Smyth; Micheál McGonigle, Cian Hughes (capt.), Guillermo Cara, Luca Molamphy; Luke Leavy. Subs. (rolling) - Diego Vidal, Lee Polglase, Evan Duffy, Noah Maher, also Oisín Byrne.
Wexford Albion: Max Stone; Cillian Twomey (capt.), Alex Kirby, Jesse Dempsey; Kaelem O'Connor, Darragh Maloney, Luke Murphy, Tadhg Brohan; Alex Currid. Subs. (rolling) - Ryan Curran, Ethan Ryan, Ben English, Sam Day.
Referee: Barry Hennessy.