Character & Spirit in abundance but not enough as Aughnamullen secure the spoils
As the old saying goes “goals win games” and yesterday evening, Saturday 5th April, when our reserve footballers travelled to Lough Egish to play Aughnamullen, in the Platinum Tanks reserve football league division 2, this was certainly the case as it was Aughnamullen who got the goals and raised two green flags at crucial moments during this highly entertaining and exciting encounter and they emerged with the spoils on a final score-line Aughnamullen 2-13 Rockcorry 0-10.
The game began with the wind in favour of the home team and they started the brighter and opened the scoring on the 4th minute courtesy of a wonderful point from a tight angle. We drew level three minutes later when Anthony Tate teed-up Colin Quinn who finished in style with a lovely swirling point. However, Aughnamullen responded very positively and notched over three unanswered points during the next four minutes to lead 0-4 to 0-1 after twelve minutes on the clock.
Kyle Rooney was fouled on the 14th minute and big brother Dwayne stepped up and converted the free-kick and a minute later we narrowed the gap to a single point with a flowing move that involved Keelan Clerkin, Cathal Sheridan, Colin Quinn and Martin Carroll who off-loaded to Dwayne Rooney and he tapped over the bar for a delightful score and leave the scoreboard showing 0-4 to 0-3. At this juncture we were in good shape and were holding our own but that all changed on the 21st minute when Aughnamullen broke through our rear-guard and netted their first goal to lead 1-4 to 0-3. That gave the home side a lift and when Cathal Sheridan was adjudged to have fouled his opponent on the 23rd minute which at first glance appeared to be a very harsh decision as everyone considered it a well-timed tackle but Aughnamullen showed no mercy and lobbed over the resultant free-kick. On the 26th minute, Martin Carroll picked up a loose ball around the middle of the field before taking off at pace and when he was brought down Dwayne Rooney, who is usually very reliable and accurate from the free-kick, on this occasion his effort at the uprights drifted narrowly wide. With half time approaching Aughnamullen put on a strong and confident finish and added additional points on the 29th and 30th minutes and were comfortably leading by 1-7 to 0-3 at the interval.
When play resumed Aughnamullen wasted no time and within fifty seconds they stretched their advantage with a fine point. On the 4th minute, the energetic Keelan Clerkin showed power and strength as he made an excellent penetrating solo run towards goals and when he off-loaded to Colin Quinn he showed fantastic awareness and quick-hands to set-up Ross Murray who ended the move with a superb score. We continued to play with admirable spirit and during the next five minutes we showed vast amounts of tenacity and played some fantastic football and reeled off three points on the trot. The first arrived when Martin Carroll was hauled down on the 5th minute and Dwayne Rooney calmly tapped over the bar and two minutes later he repeated the feat when Colin Quinn was fouled. The third score arrived on the 8th minute when Dwayne Rooney effortlessly dissected the uprights with a monstrous long-range point to leave the score-board showing 1-8 to 0-7. However, sadly, this was wiped out within a few minutes when Aughnamullen responded to our threat in devastating fashion when they firstly pointed in style on the 11th minute and a couple of minutes later they hit another major blow when they got their second goal with an exquisite move to lead by 2-9 to 0-7.
I have to give credit where credit is due and the lads struck to their task and when Anthony Tate was brought down, on the 15th minute, Stephen McGuirk curled over a beautiful point from the right wing. Undoubtedly, the best score of the game arrived on the 17th minute and it was truly a Maurice Fitzgerald magical moment as Dwayne Rooney reproduced that famous side-line point against Dublin in 2001 and kicked an absolutely sublime point to leave only the two goals separating the teams, 2-9 to 0-9. Having been posed the questions Aughnamullen came up with the answers and replied instantly with a nice point on the 18th minute but we cancelled that out immediately when a high lobbing effort from Stephen McGuirk just managed to land over the cross bar for a terrific score.
That point proved to be our last score of the game as we wilted visibly in the closing stages and found it very hard to get the ball up the field. Whereas Aughnamullen, on the other hand, enjoyed another purple patch and proceeded to simply coast during the remainder of the match scoring additional points on the 24th, 25th and 27th minutes to push the gap out to nine and to seal the victory on a final score-line Aughnamullen 2-13 Rockcorry 0-10.
On reflection, the score-line would suggest, this was not a happy day for our reserve footballers, but in truth the score-line does little justice to a battling performance from the lads. They approached the challenge with creditable courage and the bottom line is that at times we were the better side and had we converted our possession onto the scoreboard this clash might have turned out differently! Instead, we paid a heavy price for a number of unforced errors and lapses of concentration that were simply and painfully punished by Aughnamullen at every opportunity. Hard luck lads it was a brave effort and you can take a lot of positives away from the match so moving forward please keep up the commitment and will hopefully see you all at training during the week!
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Team & Scorers: Aaron Clerkin, Keelan Clerkin, Cathal Sheridan, Christopher Greenan, Colin Quinn (0-1), Ross Murray (0-1), Martin Carroll, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Dave McArdle, Dwayne Rooney(0-6,3f) Andrew Carroll, Kyle Rooney & Anthony Tate. Subs: Shane Wynne for Andrew Carroll and Stephen McGuirk (0-2,1f) for Dave McArdle.