Ardscoil Rath Iomgháin 1st year boys went into their first ever Midlands Regional League soccer final with two wins under their belt. Blessington Community College were the opponents and were also unbeaten coming into the game.
The game was played in Newbridge in showery conditions. Rathangan started brightly with a lot of possession but found themselves two goals down after 15 minutes. The goals were against the run of play but Blessington took their chances well. The first was an angled long range effort with the second coming from a corner kick.
Blessington went in at halftime full of confidence but our lads didn't let there heads drop. They came out fighting in the second half and pulled one back through a fine dipping free kick from Kyle Bracken to take his tally to five goals in three games. The belief was there and Kyle supplied an excellent cross onto the head of Owen Dockery who beat the keeper with a precise header.
The opposition were stunned and were on the ropes for a while as they survived a number of attacks including one that resulted in Kyle striking the crossbar. Normal time drew to a close and during extra time both teams had their moments but could not break down each other's defence. This, from the Rathangan point of view, was partly due to fine defensive performances from Sean Moran and Oisin O'Loughlin at the centre of the back four. At the end, both teams could not be separated and the game finished 2-2. Rathangan had given everything. This was typified by the hard working performances of the 13 players that took to the field, in particular Piet Hoey and Sean Moran.
After a grueling 80 minutes penalties were needed to decide the winner. Both teams scored 4 of the first 5 penalties. A hero was made in the form of Joe O'Loughlin when he saved the all important penalty in sudden death to win the final for Ardscoil Rath Iomgháin and put them through to the Leinster playoffs. The win was a result of hard work and a 'never say die' attitude. Congratulations to the lads and best of luck in the up coming game.
Rathangan Match Squad: Joe O'Loughlin, Rory Malone, Sean Moran, Oisin O'Loughlin, Josh Maher, Piet Hoey, Thomas Callan, Tommie Dempsey, Cían Loughlin (c), Owen Dockery, Kyle Bracken, Fionn Moran, Daragh Searing, Niall Burke, Ciaran Dempsey, Eric Cribbon, Mark Lennon, Karol Karwan
It is a remarkable achievement considering this was our first full season of competitive soccer and credit must go to Mr Ashe and the team for all their hard work and commitment since September