Rebels Lose Thriller to Dutchess County in Season Finale
The Albany Rebels made a valiant comeback in their season finale on Sunday in Albany, drawing even with the Dutchess County Griffins in extra time, but a deflected shot bounced up and over the crossbar as time expired, giving Dutchess County the 1-15 (18) to 3-8 (17) victory.
The Rebels got off to a sluggish start as they were boxed in for most of the first half. Dutchess County at one point led 12-2. But the Rebels made a late push just before halftime, scoring a point and then forward Tim Gerrish adding a goal. That gave Albany a lift that carried into the second half.
Albany had the better of play in the second half, working points and scoring two more goals.
Player-coach Ryan Moloney provided a spark at the half-forward line and played a ball into the box for John Lake to run onto. Lake couldn't quite corral the ball, but stayed with it and managed to kick it past the goalkeeper and into the net.
Rookie sensation Pierre Massena was dominant in the second half. His teammates played into him, both with hand passes and long kicks, and he turned and ran at Dutchess County over and over. He scored a goal to bring the Rebels within striking distance, his team leading 8th of the season.
With just a few minutes left in the match, Massena broke through again and was pulled down in the box, earning a penalty. With the Rebels down one point, he had a chance to put Albany in the lead for the first time in the game. He placed the shot low and to the right, but the Griffins goalkeeper made a diving save at the post to preserve their slim lead.
Massena had another opportunity a few minutes later in extra time as he punched a long ball over the crossbar to tie the game.
"Ryan looked at me and yelled 'We are gonna get one more chance,'" Massena said. "I trusted him so I just put my head down and ran in the box as fast as I could. When I looked up I saw the ball already in the air, so I went for it. Luckily I got there before the keeper and was able to put it over the bar."
The Rebels fans cheered in response but the moment was fleeting.
The Griffins came down the field and tried to work a scoring opportunity. They settled for a shot from distance but it deflected off a defender and over the crossbar for a point. As the Rebels hurried to take the kickout to try and make one last rush, the ref blew the final whistle and the match was over.
"It was a tough way to lose, and a bit unlucky," said Rebels halfback Mark Adam. "Our guys played great and really battled all over the field. Guys like RC (Helsing) who always gets the toughest assignment, Mikey (Heiserman) and Marc Massena flying around in the midfield, our backs were all tenacious, and the guys up front converting scores to get us back in the game - just a lot of heart on this team."
The Rebels hosted Dutchess County for a postgame party at the Irish Hall on Ontario Street after the match.
Now that the 2022 season is complete, the Rebels will look to offseason training, which begins this winter at Sage College.
"It's never easy to lose a game, but the resilience we showed to battle back level after falling well behind in the first half is certainly something to be proud of," Moloney said. "There's lots to build on heading into the offseason."
Notes: The Rebels finish the season with 4 wins, 5 losses and a draw in full sided matches (1-5 in tournament matches) … The highlight of the season was the Rebels winning the New York Cup for the second time in the club's history (2018 and 2022) ... Ryan Moloney led the Rebels in scoring this season with 6 goals and 22 points (40) … Rookie Pierre Massena was second on the team in scoring this season with 8 goals and 14 points (38) … Veteran halfback Mark Adam announced his retirement after the match.
Rebels Scorers vs. Dutchess County:
Pierre Massena 1-1 (4)
Cillian Flavin 0-4 (4)
John Lake 1-0 (3)
Tim Gerrish 1-0 (3)
Ryan Moloney 0-3 (3)