Senior team make winning start to league campaign
The Oxford English dictionary defines the word ‘character’ as ‘the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual’. It also describes the word ‘guts’ as ‘personal courage and determination, toughness of character’. When our senior team travelled to play Creamartin in the opening round of the Monaghan Electrical Intermediate Football league on Sunday 23rd March they showed both virtues in abundance and quite frankly they had to because at times they were living off scraps as Cremartin put us under fierce pressure during a fascinating and absorbing encounter.
The game was played in dry & pleasant conditions and as the score-line suggests it was end to end stuff and from the throw-in no quarter was asked or given in this hard fought game. Both sides battled furiously and missed scoring opportunities during the opening exchanges and it was Cremartin who registered the first score of the match courtesy of a wonderful point on the 4th minute. Lorcan Smyth kicked wide on the 6th minute but moments later a flowing move that included Martin Carroll and Colin Quinn ended with Fergal McGeough dissecting the posts on the 8th minute to level proceedings.
Possibly one of the best scores of the game arrived on the 10th minute when Noel Carroll rounded off a superb move with a sublime point that involved a number of players including Colin Quinn, Fergal McGeough and Anthony Tate. This was cancelled out almost immediately as Cremartin themselves produced a quality move and finished in style to leave both sides on 0-2 apiece after eleven minutes. We had chances to take the lead on the 12th, 14th and 15th minutes but unfortunately we couldn’t find the accuracy as efforts from Anthony Tate, Paul McKeown and Mark Daly all drifted wide of the target. However, shortly afterwards, we did go ahead when the tricky Mark McGuirk skipped away from his opponent and turning shapely he pointed beautifully following good approach play by Noel Carroll and Lorcan Smyth.
In terms of possession we remained in control and really should have extended our advantage but were wasteful in the shooting department and registered additional wides on the 22nd and 24th minutes. Firstly, an attempt from Mark McGuirk drifted wide and then when Paul McKeown weaved through the Cremartin defence he set up the unmarked Dwayne Rooney for a goal chance but the Cremartin goal-keeper showed remarkable reactions and made a point blank save to deny us a goal scoring opportunity. Cremartin drew the game level on the 25th minute with a superb point from a tight angle and they took the lead moments later with another fine point from play. Anthony Tate kicked wide on the 28th minute and with two minutes of normal time remaining Noel Carroll burst clean through the Cremartin defence and normally very reliable at finishing to the net he amazingly fluffed his lines as his blasted effort drifted wide of the goals. As the game entered additional time Mark Daly curled over a fine equalising point from a free-kick to leave the scoreboard reading Cremartin 0-4 Rockcorry 0-4 at the half time interval.
Cremartin began the second half in determined fashion and with another excellent move they went in front with a nice point after just fifty seconds from the throw-in. The next seven minutes of the game were scoreless as both sides kicked a number of poor wides (Rockcorry x 3 Nr & Cremartin x 2 Nr) before we managed to find our range through Mark Daly who sailed over a free-kick following a foul on Paul McKeown. We regained the lead on the 9th minute when Paul McKeown fired over a delightful score but once again this was wiped out within a few minutes as Cremartin responded instantly with a neat score to leave it 0-6 a-piece. On the 13th minute, Mark McGuirk displayed great physical strength and twisted and turned his marker before looping the ball over the bar for a classy point and when Fergal McGeough was brought down on 17th minute we doubled our advantage as Mark McGuirk calmly and effortlessly converted the resultant free-kick. At this juncture we upped the ante and enjoyed a mini purple patch and when Lorcan Smyth was hauled down following good approach play by Noel Carroll and Keelan Clerkin, Mark McGuirk showed his accuracy and curled over a sweet point to stretch our lead to three points and Paul McKeown put more daylight between the sides when he pointed impressively on the 21st minute after Mark Daly and Lorcan Smyth combined well with a series of passes.
At this point we appeared to be in good shape leading 0-6 to 0-10 but on the 23rd minute the game suddenly intensified as Cremartin grabbed their goal. A long high delivery into our danger-zone and despite the presence of a lot of defenders their seemed to be hesitancy and the ball somehow managed to end up in the back of the net to reduce the deficit to the bare minimum and leave the game finely poised! That goal was a killer blow and gave the home side a huge boost but we maintained our patience & composure and gradually worked the ball down the field and when Anthony Tate collected the ball he teed-up Lorcan Smyth who finished in style to restore our two point advantage.
Cremartin notched over another point on the 25th minute to leave a single point separating the sides and with it they began to lift their game and the closing stages turned out to be a battle of attrition. They (Cremartin) had the majority of play during the final stages and threw the proverbial kitchen sink at us but the lads continued to play with admirable spirit and defended stoutly and bravely to deny Cremartin any simple scoring opportunities. Some might say we were a bit lucky and, in fairness I suppose, we were dealt a deserving dose of ‘Lady Luck’ on the 28th minute as Cremartin managed to break through our rear-guard and their powerful shot was redirected by the finger-tips of Conor McGeough and the ball crashed off the cross bar and was subsequently cleared. Cremartin kept pressing looking for an equalising score and as the match moved into additional time they did create another scoring chance but much to the relief of all our supporters and everybody on the side-line their effort drifted wide of the uprights and the game finished Cremartin 1-7 Rockcorry 0-11.
Overall this was a merited victory where the work-rate and spirit from all our players was very evident. They showed remarkable guts, determination and character during this highly entertaining match but particularly during the final moments of the game where they revealed their bottle and dug very deep to hold on for a deserved win. Well done lads, it’s good to start the season with a positive result and hopefully you will continue to put in the hard work at training and be ready for the next outing in a couple of week’s time.
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Team & Scorers: Dean Fay, Conor McGeough, Niall McKeown, Keelan Clerkin, Noel Carroll (0-1), Keith Daly, Colin Quinn, Martin Carroll, Mark Daly (0-2f), Paul McKeown (0-2), Fergal McGeough (0-1), Lorcan Smyth (0-1), Anthony Tate, Mark McGuirk (0-4, 2f) and Dwayne Rooney.