Pulsating thriller ends all square
Our reserve team played Carrickmacross in the first round of the Platinum Tanks Reserve Football Championship on Sunday 4th May and after an absorbing and utterly compelling encounter nothing could separate the teams and will have to meet again to determine who will progress to the next round of the competition. No doubt, we will wonder how we let this game slip because with five minutes to play we were in a good healthy position, leading by three points, but we lacked the killer instinct to see off our opponents. Carrickmacross, on the other hand, finished the strongest and bagged a goal on the 27th minute and while we tried our best to grab a late winner the game ended all square, Rockcorry 1-9 Carricmacross 2-6.
The initial exchanges were frantic as both sides sought to gain the advantage and both sides missed scoring opportunities early in the match. We opened the scoring on the 3rd minute when Dwayne Rooney pointed from distance but this was short-lived as Carrickmacross responded instantly with a neat point. We quickly regained the lead when prominent midfielder Eoin Fitzpatrick displayed remarkable perseverance and determination and finished with a delightful score. A cool finish, to say the least and sharp shooter Dwayne Rooney added another point, on the 9th minute, from a free-kick following a foul on Christopher Greenan to leave the score 0-3 to 0-1. We stretched our advantage to three when centre half back, Garry Calvert, who never stopped tying throughout the game, surged forward and as he latched onto a cross-field pass from Dwayne Rooney he weaved his way through to slot the ball over the bar for a cracking score.
Carrickmacross closed the gap when they landed points on the 13th and 15th minutes but we restored a two point cushion three minutes later when Dwayne Rooney played a one-two with Keelan Clerkin and slotted over a nice score. Our pace then died down a little and for the next ten minutes Carrickmacross gained the upper hand and while they enjoyed the majority of the possession they failed to convert their dominance onto the scoreboard, kicking wide twice, hitting the upright once and missing an open goal! They did, however, manage to register a fine point, on the 28th minute, but we responded in great fashion with Dwayne Rooney pointing on the 29th minute after good work by Colin Quinn, Ryan Sharkey and Andrew Carroll and just shortly afterwards we extended our advantage to three points when Dwayne Rooney fired over. With half-time approaching, Carrickmacross wrapped up the scoring a minute into additional time to leave the score board showing Rockcorry 0-7 Carrickmacross 0-5 at the mid-way stage.
We started the second half well and with just over a minute on the clock Ryan Sharkey extended our lead with a lovely score after good approach play that involved Eoin Fitzpatrick and Dwayne Rooney. Three became six when a long high speculative ball was supplied into the Carrickmacross danger area which was met in mid-air by Andrew Carroll who magnificently flicked the ball down to the awaiting arms of Ross Murray who finished to the net beautifully with a superb strike. Unfortunately, those cries of delight in our dugout soon turned to ones of anguish because three minutes later we were dealt a major blow when Keelan Clerkin and his opponent were both given their marching orders after an off the ball altercation!
Carrickmacross kicked a fine point on the 10th minute and while Dwayne Rooney missed scoring opportunities on the 11th and 13th minutes he atoned for his earlier misses with a perfect score following some good interplay between Eoin Fitzpatrick and Ryan Sharkey. Amazingly, that point would be the last score we would register and despite our best efforts the remaining fifteen minutes remained scoreless. At this juncture, Carrickmacross rallied and their comeback started on the 21st minute when they were awarded a controversial penalty. That decision to award a penalty was somewhat dubious and left most people (particularly our supporters!) looking on in amazement as it appeared Cathal Sheridan fouled his opponent outside the large parallelogram but the decision stood and the resultant spot-kick was duly blasted home for a vital goal to leave Carrickmacross trailing by three points, 1-9 to 1-6.
We all know that there’s no more dangerous lead in Gaelic Games than the dreaded three points and while we had chances to tag on the insurance point we failed to add to our tally as attempts from Shane Wynne, Dwayne Rooney and Stephen McGuirk all drifted wide of the target. Knowing that a goal would bring them level Carrickmacross raised their game and continued to press forward and their efforts were rewarded when they managed to raise another green flag on the 27th minute to tie up a pulsating encounter. Carrickmacross tried to engineer another goal chance, on the 28th minute, but thankfully Dean Fay was alert to the danger and as he advanced off the line to make a vital interception he picked up a knee injury and was replaced by Aaron Clerkin for the final couple of minutes. The score board now showed Rockcorry 1-9 Carrickmacross 2-6 and as the game entered stoppage time there were a few nervy and anxious moments as both teams went on the attack looking to grab a winner in the dying seconds but both teams held firm and a replay will be required to determine who will advance to the next round of the competition.
To view more action shots from the game please click the link below to visit our Flickr page.
Team & Scorers: Dean Fay, Keelan Clerkin, Damien Matthews, Cathal Sheridan, Garry Calvert (0-1), Colin Quinn, Dwayne Rooney (0-6, 1f), Eoin Fitzpatrick (0-1), Christopher Greenan, Stehpen McGuirk, Ryan Sharkey (0-1), Ross Murray (1-0), Andrew Carroll. Subs: Shane Wynne for Andrew Carroll, Aaron Clerkin for Christopher Greenan and Dave McArdle for Dean Fay (injured).