Rebels Win OT Thriller at Fairfield Irish Festival
Through nearly 60 minutes of action, the James Connolly Albany Rebels had been on the losing end against St. Patrick’s GAA in the Fairfield County Irish Festival Saturday. But the Rebels continued to fight and a free kick from Mike Lee pushed the game to overtime.
In the five-minute extra period, the Rebels gave up a goal before Ian Maher scored a point to bring them within striking distance. As time ticked away, Albany moved the ball up the field for one last chance. Mark Adam received a pass in midfield, and then sprinted through the center of the pitch before firing a shot past the goalkeeper as time expired, giving Albany a one-point win.
It was the first ever meeting between the two clubs.
“The win showed a lot of character and fight from our guys, and I’m proud of everyone for that,” Lee said.
St. Patrick’s took an early lead in the first quarter as Albany committed costly turnovers and struggled in transition. They were held scoreless in the first quarter. The Rebels settled down after that and began to take care of the ball and keep more possession.
“We started off flat and were making careless errors in possession, and were fortunate not to be down by more in the beginning,” Lee said. “But as the game went on, we got into a rhythm and started to keep the ball more, leading to scoring opportunities. It was nice to see the possesion play we work on in training be implemented in a game and pay off.”
While the Albany defense held St. Patrick’s to points from distance, the Rebels began scoring goals to bring themselves back into the game. Lee scored on a coast-to-coast run, and Ryan Moloney and Adam converted penalties.
Lee scored all three of his free kicks during the game, the last of which forced overtime.
Once more, Albany would have to mount a comeback after St. Patrick’s scored a goal two minutes into overtime. But Maher’s point and Adam’s goal clinched the thrilling comeback victory.
“I knew there wasn’t much time so I took it right at the goal and tried to keep the shot under the bar,” Adam said.
The Rebels received medals during a postgame ceremony and then celebrated the win at the festival.
Albany’s improved fitness contributed to the comeback, as all 11 men played the full 65 minutes. Tucker Conklin, Moloney, Lee and Joey Donlon split time in goal.
“We were thrilled when we got the invite from St Patrick’s to play at the Fairfield Irish Festival,” Lee said. “They were great hosts and great competitors. We’re looking forward to getting them to Albany this year, and keeping the matches going between the clubs in seasons to come.”