Rockcorry 0-17 Aghabog 1-3

Streamline Coaches Intermediate Football League, Round 13 – Wednesday 4th August.

Sharper Rock too strong for Agahbog.

Team: Jamie Smith, Colin Reilly, Niall McKeown, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Keith Daly, Johnny Reilly, Stephen McGuirk, Barry Patterson 0-2, Mark Daly 0-7, Liam Connolly, Martin Carroll, Noel Carroll 0-2, Mark McGuirk 0-2, Paul McKeown 0-2, Dwayne Rooney 0-2.

Subs: Keelan Clerkin for Colin Reilly, Colin Quinn for Barry Patterson, Conor McGeough for Mark McGuirk

We continued our impressive form in the Streamline Coaches intermediate football league when we proved too strong against a struggling Aghabog outfit that has yet to pick up points in the campaign. We were far more dominant in pivotal positions and used the ball more economically but strange as it may seem, there is still room for improvement as there will be bigger days ahead! This win will certainly help us stay in the race for a top four position but with five games still remaining there’s no room for complacency as we must remain focused and continue to work hard for each other in order to achieve our objective.

A small crowd gathered for the throw-in that was played at Pairc Naomh Mhuire on Wednesday 4th August. It was a pleasant evening and Aghabog had a slight wind advantage in the first half however, we opened the scoring in the 1st minute with a fine point from Noel Carroll following good work by Mark McGuirk and Paul McKeown. Aghabog responded a couple of minutes later when they finished a good move and perhaps should’ve gone ahead shortly afterwards when they were awarded a free-kick but they kicked it wide. In the 5th minute, we were guilty of some careless passing that allowed Aghabog to counter-attack but Colin Reilly made a timely interception and Eoin Fitzpatrick was on hand to gather the breaking ball and clear the danger. Aghabog kicked wide in the 7th minute before we went ahead a minute later as Dwayne Rooney slotted over a sweet point after collecting a pass from Noel Carroll.

Eoin Fitzpatrick gives chase

We had scoring opportunities in the 9th and 10th minute but Mark McGuirk’s efforts were off target on both occasions. Aghabog adopted route one football and launched a high ball into our danger zone and Jamie Smith did well to hold on to the high ball, despite being under severe pressure, to clear his lines. Mark Daly doubled our advantage in the 12th minute when he notched over a point after much of the graft work was done by Stephen McGuirk. Aghabog kicked wide in the 13th minute and when they got another free two minutes later, somewhat fortuitously it must be said, after Johnny Reilly was harshly penalised for a challenge on his opponent they failed to find the target.  

An Aghabog player goes to ground following a challenge from Johnny Reilly.

Undoubtedly, the score of the game came in the 17th minute, when Stephen McGuirk collected the breaking ball after Barry Patterson broke it down and he picked out Noel Carroll who produced a blistering solo run and he finished in style to score a terrific point to open up a three point lead. Martin Carroll kicked wide a minute after collecting a pass from Liam Connolly but moments later we stretched our lead to four points courtesy of a wonderful effort from Mark Daly to leave the score 0-5 to 0-1. Barry Patterson was hauled down in the 20th minute but Mark Daly’s effort was off target and Aghabog narrowed the gap shortly afterwards with a pointed free-kick after Colin Reilly was adjudged to foul his opponent.

Barry Patterson in full flight goalward as he gets away from his opponent.

In the 26th minute, Niall McKeown, playing at full back, produced a timely interception to thwart an Aghabog attack and thirty seconds later we were five points to the good when Martin Carroll and Liam Connolly combined to set up Barry Patterson who finished a good move but this was quickly cancelled out when we conceded a soft free and Aghabog closed the deficit. A foul on Johnny Reilly, in the 29th minute, after a dashing run goal-ward, gave Mark Daly a simple chance which he duly converted. Good defending by Colin Reilly and Johnny Reilly instigated a move down the field that involved Noel Carroll, Dwayne Rooney and when Martin Carroll delivered a pass into Mark McGuirk he redeemed himself for his earlier misses when he turned inside his marker and showed good technique to curl over a lovely point to leave the score at the break Rockcorry 0-8 Aghabog 0-3.

"Thou shall not pass" - Niall McKeown adopts his father's attitude and stands firm.

Within thirty seconds of the restart Mark Daly drove forward and he was very unlucky to see his effort come back off the upright and the ball broke kindly for Paul McKeown but his attempt at the uprights drifted wide. Both teams kicked wides during the 3rd and 5th minutes and when Mark Daly was brought down on the forty-five metre line he sailed over a marvellous long range point to open up a six point gap.

Noel Carroll looks ahead for options after he side-steps the challenge

Paul McKeown had a fantastic opportunity to put us further ahead in the 9th minute after receiving the ball from Noel Carroll and as he went baring down on goals he opted to fist the ball over the bar, but surely should the occasion required he would off went for goal! Barry Patterson kicked wide a minute later following good work from Liam Connolly down the right wing and moments later Aghabog threatened but Niall McKeown once again made a superb tackle to prevent a possible score and as we raced up field Mark McGurik completed a great move when he blasted over soccer style to extend our advantage. Both sides struggled to find the target during the next passage of play with Aghabog kicking wide in the 13th minute and up the other end we followed in the 14th minute when Mark McGuirk kicked wide.

Keith Daly attempts to blocks the route of his opponent.

It soon got worse for Aghabog as we hit a brace of points in a fruitful five minute spell. Barry Patterson, who had a tremendous game, added a fabulous point, in the 15th minute, after collecting a pass from Liam Connolly and when Barry was hauled down moments later Mark Daly maintained his fine form with a well taken long range free-kick. Noel Carroll made another trademark solo-run in the 17th minute and it looked like he should have been awarded a free kick but play continued and he still had the wherewithal to slip a pass through to Stephen McGuirk and when he was impeded Mark Daly made no mistake with a straightforward kick over the bar. In the 20th minute, Mark Daly made a burst through the Aghabog defence and when he was brought down he converted the free-kick himself and moments later Paul McKeown added another point from play to give us an unassailable thirteen point lead, 0-16 to 0-3, entering the final ten minutes.

Dwayne Rooney tries to push aside the challenge of his marker.

Aghabog recorded their first score and only score of the second half when they got a lucky break, in the 25th minute, as the referee to the surprise of most spectators and players awarded a dubious penalty after Mark Daly was adjudged to foul his opponent when competing for a high ball and the resulting spot kick was excellently converted past Jamie Smith. A couple of minutes later Aghabog launch another speculative high ball into our goal mouth area and on this occasion Jamie Smith did extremely well to fist the ball away but we were careless as we gave away possession but Aghabog failed to capitalise as they kicked narrowly wide. In the closing stages Paul Mckeown was fouled and Dwayne Rooney rounded off the match by converting the free-kick to leave the final score Rockcorry 0-17 Aghabog 1-3.

Mark Daly moves in to mount a challenge

Whether this game is ideal preparation for the tougher clashes ahead is debatable but with this victory we now move up to 3rd place in the league standing and for the moment it’s a case of a job well done. I imagine our team management will not be getting carried away with the team’s performance against a pointless Aghabog side, although a return of 0-17, from six different players, must be considered satisfactory.

However, there’s an old saying “the devil’s in the detail” and we all know that it’s the small things that could be the winning or losing of a close game and while we never looked in any danger of losing this game as we move forward to the so called ‘business end’ of the season there are different aspects of our play that need to come under the microscope. The focus now must be to fine tune our game so that we can confront the challenges that lay ahead of us.

The next one being our clash against Doohamlet in the McGuigan Builders intermediate football championship which takes place on Friday 13th August.  Best of luck lads.