A strong final five secures the spoils
Without ever reaching any great heights we had enough in hand to see off the stern challenge of Aughnamullen in a spirited Monaghan Electrical intermediate football league encounter. Ultimately, six points separated the sides but had it not been for a couple of wonderful scores during the final five minutes of the game the tale could have been a whole different storey!
On a pleasant evening for a match the game started at a pedestrian pace with neither side really taking command. The scoreboard operator was only troubled once during the first quarter and that came on the 2nd minute when Mark Daly opened our account with a lovely score from play following a good build up involving Keelan Clerkin and Mark McGuirk. A minute later we had a glorious goal opportunity to stretch our advantage when Stephen McGuirk collected the ball on the edge of the square but unfortunately his effort went agonisingly wide rather than under the bar! The same player (Stephen McGuirk) kicked wide on the 4th minute before Aughnamullen missed four scoring opportunities on the 8th, 9th, 12th and 14th minutes. As the game progressed Mark Daly broke through the Aughnamullen defence, on the 15th minute, and while his effort at goals was well saved by the Aughnamullen goal-keeper, Keith Sheridan, it ricocheted into the path of Mark McGuirk who was the right man in the right place and smashed the ball to the back of the net to race into a 0-0 to 1-1 lead.
Both teams kicked wides before Aughnamullen registered their first point on the 17th minute when Pete Dooney lobbed over a free-kick. Aughnamullen missed another scoring opportunity a minute later but shortly afterwards they notched over their second point from a free-kick to leave the score 0-2 to 1-1. We then enjoyed a sustained period of possession and scored three points without reply to put some daylight between the sides. It started on the 20th minute when Noel Carroll sailed over a sublime effort following a good build up involving a couple of players. Mark McGuirk was brought down on the 23rd minute and his older brother Stephen made no mistake and bisected the uprights with a terrific free-kick and Mark Daly curled over a peach of a point, from a very acute angle moments later to extend our advantage to five points, leading 0-2 to 1-4. As the game headed towards the break Aughnamullen could have had a goal, but were denied by the crossbar and as the half-time whistle beckoned they gained possession and notched over a neat point to leave the half-time score Aughnamullen 0-3 Rockcorry 1-4.
Aughnamullen needed a good start to the second half and they began brightly when they pointed within fifteen seconds of the restart. We replied almost instantly with a well taken point by Mark McGuirk after a move involving a number of players including Noel Carroll, Paul McKeown and Stephen McGuirk. Noel Carroll was denied by the woodwork on the 3rd minute after a wonderful effort but we scored the next three points without reply to increase our lead. Mark Daly converted the first when he pointed from a free-kick following a foul on Paul McKeown and almost straight afterwards Mark Daly added another point from play. Mark McGuirk was brought down, on the 6th minute, and Mark Daly displayed his free-taking skills once more and coolly kicked between the uprights to leave the score Aughnamullen 0-4 Rockcorry 1-8. Aughnamullen kicked points on the 10th and 11th minutes to close the deficit to five points and when Damien Matthews retired injured on the 12th minute he was replaced by Garry Calvert who made an instant impact when he instigated a move and finished brilliantly to leave the score 0-6 to 1-9.
At this stage, the game then began to switch in favour of Aughnamullen as they moved into comeback mode and started to dominate proceedings and managed to narrow the gap to just two points when they scored four points with reply during the 16th and 20th minutes. We needed to steady ourselves and Martin Carroll calmed the waters when he glided over a fabulous long range point on the 21st minute to maintain a three point advantage but Aughnamullen pulled one back on the 25th minute to cut the arrears back to two points. Thankfully, the rest of the game belonged to us as we regained the upper hand and controlled the remainder of the match and scored four unanswered points to secure the win. Mark Daly pointed on the 26th minute following good approach play by Noel Carroll, Paul McKeown and Mark McGuirk. Colin Quinn added another moments later after a long solo-run by Noel Carroll and Stephen McGuirk copper-fastened the victory with two quick-fire points on the 30th and 31st minutes to seal an emphatic and thoroughly deserving win on a final score Aughnamullen 0-11 Rockcorry 1-14.
To view a selection of action photographs from the game please click the link below to visit our Flickr page.
Team & Scorers: Jamie Smith, Conor McGeough, Damien Matthews, Keith Daly, Niall McKeown, Stephen Lynch, Johnny Reilly, Martin Carroll 0-1, Mark Daly (0-4, 0-2f) Noel Carroll 0-1, Colin Quinn 0-1, Keelan Clerkin, Stephen McGuirk (0-2, 0-1f) Paul McKeown and Mark McGuirk 1-1. Sub: Garry Calvert 0-1 for Damien Matthews.