AN absolute unbelieveable weekend of football and hurling in the county came to an end in dramatic fashion at St. Conleth’s Park, Newbridge on Sunday evening when Raheens came back from the dead to shock hot favourites Johnstownbridge and qualify for the final of the Joe Fox Tool & Plant Hire Intermediate Football Championship, writes Tommy Callaghan.
Joe Fox Plant & Tool Hire Intermediate Football Championship Semi Final
Trailing by 1-7 to 0-7 one minute into time added on Raheens, renowned for their never-say-die qualities, first equalised after Martin Taaffe (on the field some 6 or 7 minutes) set up Ross McMahon who blasted to the net.
Sensing blood the Caragh boys came pouring forward and were rewarded when wing back, Darren Earley ghosted up the right wing to split the posts as the cheers could be heard back in Cookes of Caragh.
Johnstownbridge were stunned but came forward in search of an equaliser. A long high ball looked menacing but Shane Power rose like a trout out of water, gathered and set up an attack that saw Martin Taaffe again involved, this time passing to Noel Byrne who popped one over to coppeer fasten the win. A win that certainly didn’t look on the cards as we enetred into time added on.
Raheens opened brightly but it was a slow burning game with both sides hitting wides in abundance, the main culprits being The Bridge who hit eight in the opening thirty minutes.
Raheens were three points up after 18 minutes with white flags from Cathal Carr, Ross McMahon and Alan Igoe.
Four wides on the trot for the boys in blue and green before they finally opened their account after 25 minutes through a Keith Cribbin point.
Suddenly JTB began to threated but a brilliant block by Shane Power on Keith Cribbin saw the danger averted.
Following their eight wide Cathal McNally finally got his side’s second on 29 but Noel Byrne replied immediately to make it 0-4 to 0-2.
Paul Cribbin left just one between the sides with a fine effort before the break, Raheens 0-4 JTB 0-3.
Two quick points from McNally and Keith Cribbin saw The Bridge take the lead for the first time and it looked like Raheens were in trouble.
But they quickly responded immediately and with effect with two Alan Igoe frees to regain the lead and when Noel Byrne added a brilliant point from wide on the right wing it was now looking like a shock could be on the cards.
Paul Cribbin capitalised on a mix up at the back by Raheens to reduce it to one on 44 minutes.
A few minutes later it looked done and dusted as Paul Cribbin combined with Niall Vaughan near the end line before the latter cooly slotted the ball into Liam Power’s net and when Des Holton added a point to stretch it to three it looked like The Bridge were firmly on their way.
That was until that incredible finish with Raheens hitting 1-2 in time added on to cause a major shock and qualify for the IFC final.
Raheens, Ross McMahon 1-1, Noel Byrne 0-3, Alan Igoe 0-3 (2 frees), Cathal Carr 0-1, Darren Earley 0-1.
Johnstownbridge,Niall Vaughan 1-0, Keith Cribbin 0-2, Cathal McNally 0-2, Paul Cribbin 0-2, Des Holton 0-1,
Liam Power, Pat Courtney, Shane Power, John Lawler; Darren Earley, Graham Waters, Tom Earley; David Fitzpatrick, Tim Dunleavy; John Jennings, Alan Igoe, Cathal Carr; Ross McMahon, Stephen Riordan, Noel Byrne. Subs: Martin Taaffe for Stephen Riordan (54 minute).
Ian Farrell; Paul Mooney, Daniel Flynn, Michael Donnelly; Brian Flanagan, Wayne Leonard, James O’Connor; Barry McNally, Niall Vaughan, Keith Cribbin, Cathal McNally, Ian McKeown; Eoin O’Donoghue, Des Holton, Paul Cribbin. Subs: Paul Hurley for Ian McKeown (45 minute); Martin Taaffe for Stephen Riordan (54 minute);