Brave effort just fails as Magheracloone hold on to clinch win
Our senior team played Magheracloone in the Drumlin Credit Union senior football league on Saturday 12th October and despite their best efforts Magheracloone secured the victory on a final score-line Rockcorry 1-16 Magheracloone 2-16. The game was played at Pairc Naomh Mhuire and proved to be an absorbing and pulsating encounter where the lads put in a tremendous performance in their bid to land the spoils and they almost pulled off a memorable victory with a late fight-back! The match was full of quality with positive passages of play aplenty and kept the small crowd thrilled. Both sets of players showed admirable determination and the game slipped away from us during the second half as Magheracloone opened up a sizable lead but the lads battled on bravely to the final whistle and Magheracloone held on to emerge with the league spoils.
Magheracloone justified their pre-match favouritism tag and opened the scoring after only forty seconds with a fine point from county star Tommy Freeman. We responded in style and when Colin Quinn surged forward he was unfortunate to see his fisted effort rebound off the upright but Fergal McGeough showed the quickest reactions and pounced on the loose ball and set-up Lorcan Smyth perfectly who coolly lobbed the ball over the bar to draw the sides level. Magheracloone went ahead on the 5th minute but once again this was cancelled out by a good point at the opposite end a minute later by the very effective Paul McKeown. During the next couple of minutes the men in the famous black jerseys gained the upper hand and stormed ahead with three unanswered points to leave the scoreboard showing Rockcorry 0-2 Magheracloone 0-5 after ten minutes. That lead was short lived however because on the 11th minute Keelan Clerkin made a strong solo run through the heart of their defence and off-loaded to Anthony Tate who finished with a quality score. A minute later Mark Daly added another point following good work by Conor McGeough and Dwayne Rooney and Mark McGuirk levelled proceedings on the 13th minute with a delightful point to leave the sides on 0-5 apiece.
The visitors regained the lead on the 14th minute when they converted a free-kick and added another point three minutes later to stretch their lead by 0-5 to 0-7 after seventeen minutes. We kept in touch and a terrific free-kick from Mark McGuirk on the 20th minute closed the deficit and three minutes later Mark Daly delivered a side-line ball to Lorcan Smyth who fed a lovely pass through to Mark McGuirk who skipped past his opponent and produced a great pass into the onrushing Noel Carroll who finished with an inspirational score to level proceedings once again, 0-7 apiece. The game then changed dramatically, within the blink of an eye, as Magheracloone’s physical strength and superiority was confirmed in a hectic five minute period when they scored a brace of five unanswered points and an opportunist goal to lead by 0-7 to 1-12 at the end of the first period.
It was a major psychological blow to go in at the break trailing by eight points and when play resumed we emerged determined and Dwayne Rooney opened his account with a well-taken point after a patient build-up but Magheracloone replied instantly when they floated over a free-kick and moments afterwards they hit over another score to leave the scoreboard showing 0-8 to 1-14. We remained spirited and a minute later Paul McKeown provided a cracking score to reduce the arrears but Magheracloone immediately seized the initiative and notched over two more points to maintain a commanding advantage, leading 0-9 to 1-16 after ten minutes. Dwayne Rooney raised another white flag on the 11th minute but Magheracloone quickly increased their lead to twelve points when they bagged their second goal on the 15th minute to lead 0-10 to 2-16. At this stage, with fifteen minutes remaining, it looked as though Magheracloone would cruise to a victory but to the lads credit they responded with great determination and vigour and incidentally that score proved to be Magheracloone’s last score of the game as we suddenly began to get the better of the exchanges and dominated the final quarter of the match with some very impressive football. Mark McGuirk kicked a fine point on the 17th minute to get the ball rolling and following a strong solo run Noel Carroll showed his class when he skilfully placed a low shot to the back of the net to reduce the leeway. Mark McGuirk was fouled on the 20th minute and he dusted himself down and showed remarkable composure and accuracy to split the uprights with a wonderful effort and this was followed by an absolute pearler from Mark Daly who cut inside from the right wing and unleashed a monstrous long range effort with the outside of the boot that swerved and curled between the uprights for a magnificent score to leave us trailing by six points, 1-13 to 2-16.
On the 27th minute Mark McGuirk broke through the Magheracloone rear-guard and his driven effort just blasted inches above the crossbar and moments afterwards impressive approach play that involved Garry Calvert and Martin Carroll provided Mark McGuirk with a scoring opportunity and the young lad pointed with a well struck effort. Our tails were up at this stage and we continued to apply all the pressure and when Paul McKeown collected the ball, on the 29th minute, he ducked and dived his way through the Magheracloone defence and rounded off a fine performance by showing determination and accuracy and fired the ball over the bar to leave only three points separating the sides. As time ticked away we battled tenaciously and threw everything into attack but despite our best efforts we just could not level the game as Magheracloone remained strong and showed all their wily cunning to survive and when the final whistle sounded they clinched the victory on a final score-line Rockcorry 1-16 Magheracloone 2-16.
We were treated to a very competitive match where both teams gave it their all in wholehearted commitment. Full credit to the lads who showed character and spirit in abundance and the club can be proud of the players for their efforts against formidable opposition. They worked their way back into game and played with tremendous courage and skill and finished strongly with a late rally and deserved, at least, a share of the spoils but unfortunately time ran out on our valiant efforts.
To view a selection of action photographs please click the link below to visit our Flickr page.
Team & Scorers: Jamie Smith, Damien Matthews, Niall McKeown, Conor McGeough, Keelan Clerkin, Noel Carroll 1-1, Colin Quinn, Martin Carroll, Mark Daly 0-2, Paul McKeown 0-3, Lorcan Smyth 0-1, Dwayne Rooney 0-2, Anthony Tate 0-1, Fergal McGeough, Mark McGuirk 0-6, Subs: Garry Calvert for Fergal McGeough.