RUGBY Gaels fell to an agonising and controversial one point defeat to James Connolly at Páirc na hÉireann in the Warwickshire Intermediate Division Three Championship.
The Gaels made an excellent start to the match with early points coming from Alex Baalham Donaldson, Lewis Fairgrieves and Connor Shaw, with Donaldson scoring the game’s first goal after a slick team move.
When Fairgrieves added a long range after a poor kick out, Rugby’s lead was seven points but Connolly replied with a goal of their own which came from a penalty for an illegal foot block (slide tackle).
Rugby were ahead at half-time by one goal and five points (eight points) to a goal and a point (four points).
But in the second half Rugby struggled to deal with Connolly’s change of formation and were under constant pressure.
Their discipline deserted them and this resulted in black cards for Sean Breen and Kevin Conway, which meant both players were sent off but a substitute was able to come on in their place.
Rugby rarely threatened the Connolly goal but were unlucky when Connor Shaw hit the bar but the Birmingham side drew level from a free with four minutes left on the clock.
And Rugby hearts were broken in injury time when Ben O’Riordan put his body in the way of a shot on goal. The referee gave a penalty for a foot block, giving Connolly the easiest of opportunities to put the ball over the bar and take the lead for the first time right on the final whistle.