Corrib Rangers 1
Just a week after Corrib Rangers made history when winning their first-ever trophy when crowned First Division champions, the Westside club surpassed that at Eamonn Deacy Park on Sunday when they won a first ever Connacht Junior Cup title.
An injury-time goal from Stephen Gilmore goal clinched the win, but the tall midfielder was somewhat outshone by another hero, as man of the Match Tadhg O’Malley produced a series of excellent saves that kept his side in the game when the pressure was on.
O’Malley was an unlikely saviour as the custodian only got an early morning communication from manager Brendan O’Connor to confirm his start after regular goalkeeper Derek Griffin was honest enough to advise that he was not fit enough to play due to a groin injury.
While that was a sickening blow to the Shantalla native, O’Malley rose to the challenge and played his part in a massive team success that was witnessed by a crowd of 1,450.
Griffin was not the only one to miss out on the big occasion as Kevin Fitzpatrick was sent-off in the semi-final win over Mervue United and duly missed out through suspension, but his replacement, Maceik Rydzewski, proved to be a wonderful deputy at right full.
Despite Rangers having the advantage of the elements in the opening half, they really failed to display any sort of authority as Manulla appeared to offer the greater attacking threat, without ever extending O’Malley.
Sure, there was defensive pressure, but Rydzewski, Martin O’Connor, Jimmy Jennings and David Goldbey were comfortably dealing with the front two of Gerry Canavan and former Galway United striker Jessie Devers.
Rangers’ only real threat in the opening 45 minutes came on the stroke of half-time when a John O’Brien corner looked destined for the head of Martin O’Connor at the far post, only for Matthew Flannagan to claw the ball away for another set piece.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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