Reserves show grit to claim first league win
I imagine you’re all familiar with the cliché waiting all day for a bus, then two come along at the same time! Likewise, when our reserve team travelled to St. Mary’s Park, on Friday 10th May, to take on Castleblayney in the Platinum Tanks Reserve Football League Division 2B, they continued their recent good form, following the championship victory over Oram, to record a rare, but very deserved, win in the league competition on a final score-line Castleblayney 1-11 Rockcorry 2-12. Speaking to our team manager, Gerard O’Brien, after the game he commented “it was a good performance from the lads and we can take a lot of positives from the match. You couldn’t fault the effort or endeavour from any of the lads this evening, they give it their all to secure the spoils.” Highlighting the displays of some of the fringe players he added “Andrew Carroll and the Bomber (aka Aaron Clerkin) upfront were outstanding while Cathal Sheridan, Ciaran O’Hart & Corey Smith played a blinder in defence.” Looking ahead Gerard was hopeful that the players would continue to put in a big effort preparing for the second round of the league campaign.
Despite the recent unpleasant weather conditions the game surprisingly was played in dry but somewhat chilly conditions and Castleblayney started the brightest and had the first score of the evening after two minutes with a neat finish. We did not have to wait long before the next score was registered as Lorcan Smyth kicked a classy point on the 5th minute following good work by Andrew Carroll. Castleblayney replied moments later when they broke through our defence and managed to hit the back of the net with a superb effort from an acute angle. Thankfully, we responded rapidly with Lorcan Smyth teeing up Keelan Clerkin who fired a magnificent shot to the top corner of the net to draw the side’s level with 1-1 apiece.
At this stage the lads began to dominate proceedings and played some wholehearted football to open up a six point lead. It started on the 9th minute when Dwayne Rooney managed to raise a white flag with a massive long range point and when Martin Carroll was fouled a couple of minute later Dwayne Rooney showed his accuracy and coolly bisected the uprights with a well taken free-kick. Castleblayney responded swiftly with a converted free-kick to put one between the sides again but moments later when Lorcan Smyth was brought down he quickly delivered a precise pass to the Roadrunner, Garry Calvert, who delightfully finished with an excellent point. One of the main highlights of the first half arrived, on the 15th minute, when Lorcan Smyth once again turned provider, setting up Andrew Carroll who showed his goal poaching instincts, rounded his opponent, and blasted the ball past the Castleblayney goal-keeper. Our stronghold continued and Dwayne Rooney notched over a terrific point to leave the scoreboard showing Castleblayney 1-2 Rockcorry 1-4 after seventeen minutes. That sadly proved to be our last score of the first half as the home side, Castleblayney, got to grips with the game and quickly upped the ante to score five unanswered points and reduce the deficit back to just a single point at the mid-way stage with the scoreboard showing Castleblayney 1-7 Rockcorry 2-5.
Early in the second half we stretched our advantage when Shane Wynne showed his precision when he powerfully pointed from around twenty-five metres. Our small, but loyal, bunch of supporters were then treated to some delightful football as the lads played with courage and determination and showed glimpses of their true potential to serve up some fine passages of play and two quick-fire points followed courtesy of Andrew ‘I’m on fire’ Carroll to extend our lead, leading 2-8 to 1-7 after eight minutes.
Hands up, I’ll admit I probably favour players, or mention the players, who do most of the scoring in the match reports and it would be careless of me if I did not mention our defenders, Cathal Sheridan, Ciaran O’Hart, Ryan Sharkey, Corey Smith, Keelan Clerkin and Ross Murray who harried, blocked and cleared their defensive lines superbly throughout the game and this was very evident on the 12th minute when we turned over possession and with a swift counterattack, Lorcan Smyth was fouled and Dwayne Rooney sailed the ball between the uprights for a splendid score and a few minutes later Inspirational corner forward Lorcan Smyth kicked a peach of a score to put us six points ahead, leading Castleblayney 1-7 Rockcorry 2-10 after fifteen minutes.
Castleblayney recorded their first score of the second half on the 17th minute when they tapped over a free-kick and less than a minute later they pulled another point back with a neat finish. Castleblayney had chances to claw themselves back into the game but scoring opportunities on the 20th and 21st minutes both were off the target. Martin Carroll, who was at the centre of the action throughout the game alongside his midfield partner Garry Thornton, got his name on the score-sheet when he finished in style with a lovely point and Lorcan Smyth had an opportunity to extend our lead but on this occasion his effort drifted to the right and narrowly wide. Castleblayney, who displayed a superb fighting spirit towards the end of the match, never gave up and went in search of a goal but their attempt at the target, on the 28th minute, was brilliantly deflected over the crossbar by Dean Fay. After soaking up all the pressure, we broke out from defence and when Anthony Tate, who was introduced to the game for Aaron Clerkin, delivered a pin-point pass to Keelan Clerkin he displayed admirable handling skills to slip past his marker and finished with a deserved score to push us over the finishing line and claim our first win in the reserve league competition and may I add a welcome boost to the players, team and the club.
To view a selection of action photographs from the game please click the link below to visit our Flickr page.
Team & Scorers: Dean Fay, Cathal Sheridan, Ciaran O’Hart, Ryan Sharkey, Corey Smith, Keelan Clerkin (1-1), Ross Murray, Garry Thornton, Martin Carroll (0-1), Andrew Carroll (1-2), Dwayne Rooney (0-4, 2f), Shane Wynne (0-1), Garry Calvert (0-1), Aaron Clerkin & Lorcan Smyth (0-2). Subs: Jude Walls for Shane Wynne, Anthony Tate for Aaron Clerkin and Christopher Greenan for Andrew Carroll.