Sean Kelleher has played a key role in propelling Gabriel Rangers to the cusp of Munster junior championship glory this season says John Bohane.
The talented corner forward notched two points in their comprehensive nine point win achieved against Tipperary champions Clonoulty Rossmore, which secured their Munster championship final berth against Kerry outfit Glenbeigh Glencar. This much anticipated final showdown will be played this Sunday, December 4 at 3.15pm in Mallow.
Sean was delighted with their semi-final win against Clonoulty. “It was a great win against Clonoulty. We were up against a very physically strong side. The wild conditions also suited them much more than us on the day, but we worked very hard as a team. We showed great heart and determination, which enabled us to qualify for a Munster final. It was a great team display.”
Gabriel Rangers survived a major scare midway through the second half when their Premier County opponents netted, which reduced the deficit to two points with a quarter of the game remaining. The response from Gabriel Rangers was typically emphatic however, as they finished strongly to secure their passage to the Munster final for the first time in their history. Sean was always confident they would repel the onslaught from Clonoulty. “I was always confident we would withstand their dominant spell. We have established a very strong winning mentality in our team. The strength in depth we have in our squad was also evident against Clonoulty with every player playing a key role in our win. We have a very good squad, which is vital. Every time a sub has come on all year, they have done superbly well. They have all made impacts on the game, which is crucial. We have been neck and neck with some great teams right to the finish this season. We also have a great spirit in our team. We have really showed our character throughout the season, which has helped us pull through some tough contests. I just knew the hunger was there again against Clonoulty. We finished the game very strongly which was a great sign of our mentality and hunger.”
Gabriel Rangers have enjoyed a dream championship voyage throughout their divisional, county and Munster championship odyssey. Sean, who has excelled in his corner forward role, is still coming to terms with their remarkable campaign thus far. “This has been a dream season for all of us. I missed out on the 2010 divisional championship success because I was too young. At the start of this season, all I wanted was to win a West Cork championship title and then take it from there. I did not think for one second that not alone would we win our divisional title, but we would win the county final and then qualify for a Munster championship final. It is an absolutely unbelievable feeling to know we are taking part in the biggest game in the club’s history this Sunday. It has been a great run so far this season; we are determined to finish off the season with another championship title. I’m loving every minute of it.”
Sean pinpoints a number of factors, which have proved pivotal in their success this season. “Stephen O’Mahony coming back from injury has been a major help. He has established a dominance in midfield in every game for us which has been vital for us. Our full back Cathal Newman has enjoyed a great first year with the team. He has been outstanding. However, we all know the secret now and that’s our coach Mike O’Brien. He has been an unreal manager. We have all bought into him and his selectors. We have so much respect for the man, he knows what it takes to get success and when to peak at the right times. He was a superb player himself for Castlehaven where he is rightly considered a legend there for his footballing ability, but he’s an even bigger legend now in Schull and Ballydehob. Another key ingredient in our success is that each and every one of us are all so close, which has helped us over the line on numerous occasions this season.”
Sean is lavish in his praise for his close friend and colleague Eddie Goggin, who has enjoyed a sensational season for Gabriel Rangers. Eddie was crowned the Carbery footballer of the year at a recent awards banquet. Sean was delighted for the talented full forward. “I’m absolutely over the moon for Eddie. It is so well-deserved. He has been brilliant for us this year; he’s a class act. Eddie has been a close friend of mine since a very young age and we have been through it all together. Personally, I think Eddie has been very unlucky not to get more recognition from the Cork minor and U21 management teams. This year, he has been outstanding. It is a joy to play alongside him. It is great to see him finally getting the recognition he deserves. He is a special talent.”