Gormley hails Abbey character for comeback
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
ABBEY CBS manager Jody Gormley hailed the fighting spirit of his side after they came back from the brink to keep their MacRory Cup dream alive, writes Steve Malone.
With St Pat's Dungannon in control and 60-minutes played the Newry lads were four points adrift and staring down the barrel of defeat.
Three minutes injury-time was announced and Gormley's men sensed a glimmer of hope.
Having struck 1-5 before reply in the opening half, Abbey shouldn't have been in such a precarious position but St Pat's are a quality side with numerous players who competed with Tyrone in last seasons All-Ireland Minor Final and they rattled the Newry side in the second half.
Despite being on the back-foot Abbey never stopped battling and deep into additional time Forkhill's Conor McCoy struck from 25-metres and the ball trickled slowly into the bottom left corner, to the delight of a loud Abbey support.
The additional three minutes were up but the Newry men kept foraging forward and when the referee Martin Higgins awarded a 14-metre free, it should have been a mere formality.
Rostrevor's Conor Doyle took the responsibility of taking the pressure kick and having crashed a close-range free off the post in the first half, there was tension as much as expectation before Doyle confidently struck over the bar, to force a replay.
Lesser teams may have wilted after having led and then trailed by so much but Gormley was impressed with how his side reacted.
“They fought hard and that's what we wanted them to do and that's what they did," said Gormley.
“It was a tense finish. It showed the character of our boys, they never gave up. Dungannon put in a serious display in the second half as we knew they would.
“We probably didn't score as much as we did in the first half, but I thought the boys displayed great character to hang in there."
It was an exciting end to end contest with both teams displaying deadly forward lines and has all the ingredients for an entertaining replay and Gormley when I he asked would he have preferred extra-time on Thursday night he said he would have preferred to have won against St Pat's but he was excited with the standard of football on display.
“Both teams have potent forward lines as we seen. It was a great game and it highlights that MacRory Cup football is probably the top level of football at the minute," he said.
“If you want to watch good football and you want to watch quality, MacRory Cup is the place to be."
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