Workmanlike performances secures a share of the spoils
The clocks have gone back and the extra hour of sunshine has been lighting up playing fields all over the county and the country. Similarly, our reserve footballers lit up Pairc Naomh Mhuire this evening, Saturday 6th April, as they bounced back from a mid-week defeat against Sean McDermott’s, to earn a share of the spoils against league table toppers Aughnamullen on a final scoreline Rockcorry 0-12 Aughnamullen 1-9.
As the scoreline illustrates, this was a highly entertaining and competitive game of football and was played in beautiful sunshine but chilly conditions. It was a real gutsy performance from the team as they competed better for possession all around the field and showed great courage and commitment right up to the final whistle to secure a crucial point in the league campaign and will certainly be something to build on for future matches. We started the brightest and opened the scoring on the 3rd minute when Dwayne Rooney pointed from play following good work by Martin Carroll and Lorcan Smyth. Moments later, we doubled our advantage when Lorcan Smyth tapped over a free-kick following a foul on Garry Calvert.
Aughnamullen missed scoring opportunities on the 4th & 5th minutes but sloppy play, on the 7th minute, we gifted them a goal as they cut through our rearguard to leave the score 0-2 to 1-0. They continued to enjoy a purple patch and notched over additional points on the 8th and 9th minutes to lead by 0-2 to 1-2. Thankfully, we sprung into life and found an extra few gears and when Lorcan Smyth was brought down, on the 10th minute, he converted the resulting free-kick. Immediately afterwards Aaron Clerkin forced his opponent to over-carry and Dwayne Rooney lobbed over the free-kick and when Lorcan Smyth was fouled on the 14th minute he quickly delivered a pass to the onrushing Keelan Clerkin who finished in style to leave the scoreboard showing Rockcorry 0-5 Aughnamullen 1-2.
However, Aughnamullen soon found their rhythm again and restored their lead when they pointed a free-kick on the 18th minute and they continued to be clinical because they stretched their advantage moments later with a converted free-kick and another fine point from play to open up a three point gap leading 0-5 to 1-5. With half time approaching Dwayne Rooney collected a pass from Martin Carroll and with a monstrous effort split the uprights with a remarkable point from the outside of his boot to close the gap back to two points. While we had scoring opportunities to reduce the deficit Aughnamullen tapped over another point on the 27th minute to take a three point advantage to the dressing-rooms leading 0-6 to 1-6 at the half-time interval.
We started the second half in very impressive fashion and tagged on three points in the space of five minutes to level the game. The first score coming from the boot of the crafty corner forward Lorcan Smyth following good approach play from Corey Smith and Aaron Clerkin. Lorcan Smyth, who was causing all sorts of problems for the Aughnamullen defence, displayed great footwork to sidestep his marker and kick a wonderful second point from the left wing and Dwayne Rooney gave the side a major morale boost on the 5th minute when he delivered a sweetly struck effort from thirty metres, to leave the sides on level terms Rockcorry 0-9 Aughnamullen 1-6.
During the next passage of play we had opportunities to go in front but attempts from Garry Thornton, Dwayne Rooney and Martin Carroll unfortunately drifted narrowly wide of the target. At this stage we were showing some real promising passages of play and Aughnamullen found it very difficult to cope with our movement and we hit the front, on the 13th minute, courtesy of a brilliant point from Lorcan Smyth who bisected the uprights with a superb effort, under enormous pressure, that was worth the entrance fee alone to watch. Aughnamullen responded swiftly with an excellent point of their own to once again level proceedings, 0-10 to 1-7 and when Andrew Carroll was fouled on the 16th minute we had a chance to regain our slender lead but the resulting free-kick dropped short.
There was a lull in the scoring for the next five minutes as both defences were playing well and made it extremely difficult to create a decent scoring opportunity. However, on the 23nd minute, Keelan Clerkin, who worked very hard throughout the game, made a penetrating run right through the heart of the Aughnamullen defence and when he was brought down Lorcan Smyth kept his nerve and glided the ball between the posts to restore our one point advantage leading 0-11 to 1-7.
It was now a one point game and with the likes of Rory Carroll, Ryan Sharkey, Colin Quinn, Cathal Sheridan, Shane Wynne and Ciaran O’Hart continuing to defend staunchly Aughnamullen kicked wide on the 25th minute but they did manage to equalise shortly afterwards from a free-kick. In the time remaining two quality scores followed with Lorcan Smyth showing one again good composure and accuracy with a converted free-kick following a foul on Corey Smith and down at the other end Aughnamullen responded in similar fashion when they lobbed over a routine free-kick to leave the scoreboard showing 0-12 to 1-9. As the final whistle loomed the game could have gone either way but in the end both teams shared the spoils on a final scoreline Rockcorry 0-12 Aughnamullen 1-9.
The initial thoughts of team manager Gerard O’Brien after the game “we kind-da let that slip…but the players worked very hard today and I am very pleased with that performance.” He continued by saying “as a team manager it’s my job to get the most out of the players and they gave a powerful & workmanlike performance this evening and their attitude was dogged. We need to see more performances like that and over the next couple of weeks we will focus on a number of items and hopefully be ready for the next game.”
Team & Scorers: Dean Fay, Ryan Sharkey, Rory Carroll, Ciaran O’Hart, Shane Wynne, Colin Quinn, Cathal Sheridan, Keelan Clerkin 0-1, Martin Carroll, Dwayne Rooney 0-4 (0-1f), Garry Calvert, Corey Smith, Aaron Clerkin, Garry Thornton & Lorcan Smyth 0-7 (0-4f). Subs: Andrew Carroll for Aaron Clerkin
To view a selection of action photographs from the encounter please click the link below to visit our Flickr page.