This Tom Cross JFC third round encounter was effectively ended as a contest at Nick O’Connell’s half time whistle in Rathangan last Saturday afternoon, writes Eoin Beatty.
Tom Cross Transport Junior Football Championship
The score-line suggests a trouncing in favour of Rheban and this game was nothing short of that. The men in blue and white were far superior to Cappagh in almost every position of the field and a ten point victory reflects their performance.
Coming into this game, having each lost their opening two fixtures, both sides knew that they needed a relatively high scoring triumph and for other results to go their way if they were to be in with any chance of progressing into the next round. And on the day, Rheban looked the hungrier of the pair.
With the eventual score at the half time break reading 10 points to 2 in favour of the victors, it was obvious that most of the play had been in Cappagh’s half.
Shane Rowan got the games first score after 3 minutes as he landed an excellent 30 yard free against the wind, soon to be cancelled out by Tommy Jackman’s equalising point also from a dead-ball.
This was to be however the last time Cappagh would be level or in fact even come close to Rheban as the men from the south of the county began to pull further ahead.
Rowan once again got the rout underway with his first point from play, followed up by 2 points from Stephen Lawlor,.
Cappagh did manage to knock one more point over the bar before the interval through Tommy Gorman, capping off a great team move which started from the back.
Any chance of a comeback from the men in red and white was soon scrapped as Rheban racked up 6 points unanswered, with the pick of the bunch from the boot of half forward John Owens.
The second half began for the trailing side with a glimpse of hope as Dean Brennan weaved his way past his marker to fire the ball high into the net past former Kildare goalkeeper Christy Byrne.
Rheban were sparked into life somewhat by Cappagh’s electric start to the second period and were determined not to let their lead slip.
They then got a goal of their own, ten minutes into the second half as substitute Brendan Fitzpatrick was quickest to react to the loose ball inside the opposition 6 yard box, to slot home into the empty net.
While Fitzpatrick’s goal amongst 3 earlier points from Stephen Lawlor (2) and Shane Rowan respectively put real daylight between the two sides, Rheban knew that they needed to sustain a big victory to keep alive their chances of progressing to the next stage of the Championship.
They continued to pressurise the Cappagh backline but only managed 2 more points before full time.
They, themselves had to withstand a late Cappagh siege to reduce Rheban’s lead but could only muster up three points which wasn’t enough to prevent the south-siders prevailing comfortable and deserving 10 point winners.
Christy Byrne, Shane O’Connor, Eoin Foley, Kevin Shaw, Dave Kelly, Evan Owens, Niall Regan, Jason Shaw, David Renehan, Shane Rowan (0-7 2f), John Owens (0-1), Stephen Donovan (0-3), Stephen Lawlor (0-4 1f), James Byrne, Chris Gorman. Subs: Brendan Fitzpatrick (1-0) for James Byrne, Alan Harris for Niall Regan, Eric Owens for John Owens, Michael May for David Renehan.
Paul Caffrey, Enda Gorman, Paul Doran, Robert Cheasty, Brian Dillon, James Cullen, Michael Nealon, Tommy Jackman (0-2 1f), Andy Convey, Alvin Galligan (0-1), Alan Morrin, Mark Mulligan, Paddy Cullen, Dean Brennan (1-0), Tommy Grogan (0-1). Subs: Stephen Timmons (0-1) for Alan Morrin, Colin Doyle for Enda Gorman, Kenny Connolly for Mark Mulligan, Stephen Gill for Robert Cheasty.