Rangers 2-17  St. Patrick’s New Haven 0-0

RANGERS used the inspired play of Emmitt Clarke and Brian Twomey to easily overcome a combative but overmatched St. Patrick’s side in the opening game on Sunday at Gaelic Park, a Junior B knockout quarterfinal. 

With Clarke the wingback shooting five points over the hour he constantly put the Pat’s defense back on its heels. Twomey was a point guard on the forty, spraying passes constantly to teammates while also contributing four points over the hour.  Together they were the backbone that catapulted Rangers to victory. 

Rangers now await the winners of St. Barnabas and Offaly in the semifinal of the Junior B KO cup. 

Rangers opened the game strong with three of the first four points, with Man of the Match Twomey already dictating play from the middle of the forward line. Kieran Durkin could have had a goal but his screamer roared over the lathe. 

The Pat’s scores were all gems it must be said as the half unfolded. Joe McCormack had a long-range score while Tommy Conway and Joe McCormack also fired over beauties. 

But Rangers answered, first with a Kieran Moran goal 11 minutes in and then three Twomey points from frees and play. They were sitting on a 1-11 to 0-5 advantage as the half came to a close. 

The Saints made them live dangerously when a long Conway ball was flicked goal wards by the wily veteran Paddy Coyle, but Declan O’Connor made an excellent save before a resulting free was tapped over by McCormack to end the half. 

It was to be one of their last high points, however, as Rangers completely dominated the second half. Paddy Boyle did open the half with a free for his second score of the game, but it was the last score for the Saints for 25 minutes.

In the interim, the winners added six points to their total with Kennedy, Clarke, McSweeney, Clarke again and Moran adding to their total. They were also denied goals by Donie Reilly, twice with excellent saves as he reacted to the forward line inventiveness. The second was a diving stop on a Jack Becker shot that he pushed out the wing to safety. 

Pat’s did have one goal chance of their own, but Mike Gormley was denied by the foot stop of replacement keeper Alan Barden. They finally had their second point of the half when Sean Conway shot over with three minutes left. 

Rangers with a predominantly American-born squad were very balanced. Dan Wagner, Mal McHugh as he continues his excellent career and Emmitt Clarke were strong at the back. Kieran Moran was the best of the midfielders by far and took his scores very well. 

The full forward line of McSweeney, Durkin and Kennedy all had positive moments, with Brian Twomey tremendous over the hour. 

Donie Reilly for St. Pat’s was a close second in the Man of the Match accolades.  He never stopped trying and encouraging. 

Mike Gormley, Alan Barden and Thomas Conway were others who battled hard, and Paddy Coyle gave an excellent performance in the full forward line. Constantly looking for the ball, he never shirked from responsibility. There is plenty of football life in the old horse yet. 

Rangers: 1 Declan O’Connor, 2 PJ Loone, 3 Dan Wagner, 4 Chris Sheridan, 5 Matt Millotrer, 6 Malachy McHugh, 7 Emmitt Clarke (0-5), 8 Conor Dennehy, 9 Kieran Moran (1-2), 10 Ryan O’Neill, 11 Brian Twomey (0-4), 12 Jack Becker, 13 Mike McSweeney (0-3), 14 Kevin Durkin (0-2), 15 Phil Kennedy (0-1). Sub: Colm Moran (1-0).

St. Patrick’s: 1 Donie Reilly, 2 Alan Barden, 3 Liam Coyle, 4 Andrew Rodes, 5 John Cashell, 6 Mike Gormley, 7 Joe Baisbisbo, 8 Devon Hemsworth, 9 Thomas Conway (0-1), 10 Paddy Coyle (0-2), 11 Joe McCormack (0-3), 12 Eric Curtis, 13 Sean Conway (0-1), 14 Matt Coyle, 15 Pat Coyle (0-1). Subs: Andrew Coyle, Jack Feeney, Joe James, Sal D’Amico.

Man of the Match: Brian Twomey (Rangers).

Referee: James McFadden (Donegal).