Magical Rangers cast spell on Gaels

Barrow Rangers 3-11, O’Loughlin Gaels 2-10

Barrow Rangers 3-11, O’Loughlin Gaels 2-10

A POWERFUL 10-minute spell saw the Barrow Rangers (Paulstown) junior B hurlers weave their magic on O’Loughlin Gaels.

A run that yielded six unanswered points did the trick as the Rangers rallied got the better of the city side and set up a final against near-neighbours the Blacks & Whites (Skeoughvosteen).

O’Loughlin’s made a bright start to the game, which was played in Clara on Friday, opening with points from Alan Grincell and Nigel Skehan (2). Rangers replied through a brilliant sideline cut from Jason Holden, while Dermot Maher made it a one-point game by the 12th minute.

Kevin Morrissey, who was proving a real handful for the Rangers defence at centre-forward, scored the next point before Evan Walsh put O’Loughlin’s three clear by the 24th minute.

Sixty seconds later, the Rangers were back on level terms. Dermot Maher grabbed the crucial score, stepping up to a 25-metre free and drilling it to the net.

The final five minutes of the half was an all-action affair. Barrow burst into life, Denis Kealy firing over three points without reply before Evan Walsh pulled one back for O’Loughlin’s. That score was wiped out by another thunderbolt from Maher, who repeated his earlier feat by driving another free into the roof of the city net.

That strike left Rangers in the driving seat as they took a five-point lead in at half-time (2-5 to 0-6).

O’Loughlin’s were fired up on the restart and were sharply out of the blocks. Nigel Skehan won a free on the 21 yard line and buried it in the Paulstown net to make it a two point game. Skehan quickly increased his tally, tacking on two more frees to level matters by the 38th minute.

Rangers were in real trouble at this stage, coming off second best in several battles around the field. Substitutions were made, one of them paying off almost instantly as Tom Brophy got on the end of a long J.J. Staunton delivery and lashed it to the net.

Skehan led the Gaels charge again, converting two more frees to leave the bare minimum between the sides, but Rangers were about to hit top gear. Enjoying their best passage of play they scored six unanswered points between the 48th and 58th minutes. Dermot Maher (2), Jason Holden, Denis Kealy and Ger Walsh raised white flags in a burst capped by a super effort by Ed Prendergast, who went on a 50-yard solo before slotting the sliotar between the posts.

Kevin Morrissey scored a late consolation goal for the Gaels, but it was not enough to deny Rangers their final berth.

Best for Barrow Rangers were Sean McDonald, Tom Brennan, Jason Holden, Dermot Maher, Stephen Dormer, Denis Kealy and the man of the match Ed Prendergast. Best for O’Loughlin’s were Kevin Morrissey, Nigel Skehan, Alan Grincell and Michael Lambert.
Barrow Rangers - J.J. Staunton, Liam Walsh, Kevin Brennan, Sean McDonald, Ed Prendergast (0-1), John Kearney, Tom Brennan, Jason Holden (0-2), Paddy Purcell, David Walsh, Dermot Maher (2-3), Ciaran Breen, Derek Thompson, Stephen Dormer, Denis Kealy (0-4). Subs: Tom Brophy (1-0), Ger Walsh (0-1).

O’Loughlin Gaels - John Dalton, Sean Hickey, Michael Lambert, Joe Walsh, Shane Parsons, John Doyle, Padraig Meaney, Paddy Deegan, Kevin O’Brien, Nigel Skehan (1-6), Kevin Morrissey (1-1), Billy Leydon, Alan Grincell (0-2), Evan Walsh (0-1), Barry Hogan.

Referee - John Walsh (Rower-Inistioge).