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Rockland Crowned U21 Champs   08/09/2014

John Riordan,

Rockland are New York Under 21 champions after a two-goal victory over Rangers in a thrilling replay at Gaelic Park on Friday night.

The victorious Rockland team with their trophy

Rockland took a lead they would never relinquish inside the first 100 seconds when full forward Paul Prendergast's goal from close range made the most of a great build-up.

Rangers never gave up during a thrilling 60 minutes of football even when Rockland dominated the opening exchanges but missed some good chances.

Half way through the opening period, Rockland opened out a 2-3 to 0-2 lead courtesy of an excellent point followed quickly by a goal, both from corner forward Kieran Walsh.

The Rockland captains hold the trophy after their victory.

Rangers kept battling well, however, and started the second half in threatening fashion, the superb Donnacha O'Dwyer narrowing the Rockland lead to five points, 2-4 to 0-5. .

Center forward Kevin Moran - who really came alive during this fightback - then pointed but was then denied by an incredible save from Rockland goalkeeper Pat White after a low drive from Moran.

Moran when scored a free to reduce the deficit to three points before Rockland finally stemmed the tide with a good long range point from midfielder Aidan Weir.

A huge score from Rockland’s Garvin Lee with ten minutes remaining made it 2-6 to 0-7 but a quick response from Moran kept Rangers' hopes alive.

However, Rockland were making all the right decisions now and added two more points in quick succession, Lee notching another huge score from distance to secure his team's lead with time running out.

Michael Vinci kicked Rockland seven points to the good with two minutes left to round out their scoring.

A game that had been played in a good spirits unfortunately lost the run of itself with both sides involved in a skirmish which left just enough time for Moran to score a consolation point for Rangers.

The Rangers team that pushed Rockland in an excellent game.

The captains and referee Laurence McGrath prior to throw-in.

The Rockland team before the game