An outstanding display from Ronan Caffrey helped Rangers to victory in the intermediate KO cup semifinal.
Caffrey had 0-6 over the 80-minute game as the teams were tied after the first 60, and needed a further two periods of 10 minutes to decide a winner.
On a Saturday evening when Rangers needed to get to their annual dinner dance, Astoria kept them waiting and indeed had the lead with a minute on the clock in regular time.
It was Caffrey who forced the extra time with a free, and he was then prominent in getting the victory with a further brace in the extra periods.
The teams split four points in the first 12 minutes, with Caffrey getting both Rangers scores while Robbie Moran with a free and John Kieveney were the Astoria marksmen.
Rangers dominated the scoreboard the rest of the way as they put a further five points on the board to a solitary Shane Sweeney Astoria point.
Rangers moved the ball up the field quickly when they attacked, and they then found the open man for high towering scores. Astoria seemed to lose their focus with the final pass, and this hurt them in creating chances. Rangers were ahead and deservedly so 0-7 to 0-3 at the break.
Astoria came back into the contest in the first 10 minutes of the second half. They had a trifecta of points, with Sweeney’s score having two facets in its end result.
Firstly it could have been a screaming goal, secondly his final drive was clearly wide but he got a fortunate call from the umpires.
Rangers responded with a brace of scores at the other end, the second of which was an excellent point by Mike McCarthy to make the lead 0-9 to 0-6.
Astoria again went to work and they eventually went ahead by one after four consecutive scores. Sweeney had the two end ones, while veteran James Dolan fired over a lovely score on the run when Justin O’Halloran set him up with a long pass.
Rangers had three wides at the other end, but the game was fought for in the middle with Kieveney and Derek McKenna battling the Rangers pair of Killian Caffrey and John Power.
With time running out for Rangers, Astoria had a chance to move the ball out of the defensive end. They were robbed and Derek Courtney was fouled.
Caffrey stepped up and pushed the game into extra time with a perfect kick. There was a flurry of scores in the first 10-minute period of extra time, seven in total with Rangers edging into a 0-14 to 0-13 lead.
Their final score was a Kieran Moran effort and it was a real goal chance. Killian Caffrey extended the lead to two in the first minute of the final 10.
Immediately Shane Sweeney went to work. He had a brace of points within the next two minutes to again put the game level.
Astoria lost Sean Kelly to injury at this juncture and it hurt. With two minutes left, Rangers had one final attack.
Power was fouled on the 30-yard line. He jumped to his feet instantly and fired the ball over the bar for the lead and winning score.
Astoria did try and move the ball forward on the resulting kickout, but Rangers were able to intercept the ball and hold on to possession for the hard earned win. They now go on to the final against Dublin.
Rangers had very good performances from Lorcan Malone who was excellent, Derek Courtney, Killian Caffrey and Mike Bishop off the bench who challenged for everything. Mike McCarthy had his best game in a while, with Ronan Caffrey brilliant in the corner.
Ray Carroll, Justin O’Halloran, Sean Kelly, John Kieveney and Shane Sweeney were the best of the Gaels. Seamus Kelly went off injured with a horrible finger problem, and that hurt the side.
Astoria Gaels: 1 Pa Ryan, 2 Alan Foley, 4 Ray Carroll, 5 Eoghan Kyne, 6 Justin O’Halloran, 7 Ronan Rodgers, 8 Derek McKenna, 9 Sean Kelly, 10 John Kieveney (0-4), 11 Robbie Moran (0-2), 12 Seamus Kelly, 13 Shane Sweeney (0-7), 15 Liam Farrell. Subs: Dave Harvey, James Dolan (0-1) Nester Allen (0-1).
Rangers: 1 John Williams, 2 Lorcan Malone, 4 Pat O’Driscoll, 5 Bernard Madden, 6 Derek Courtney, 7 Peter McKenna (0-1), 8 Gillian Caffrey (0-1), 9 John Power (0-1), 10 Stephen O’Shea (0-2), 11 Mike McCarthy (0-2), 12 Mike Sheridan (0-1), 13 Ronan Caffrey (0-6), 15 Brian Twomey. Subs: Kieran Moran (0-1), Mike Bishop (0-1).
Man of the match: Ronan Caffrey (Rangers).
Referee: Danny McKenna.