Reserves rue missed chances
Our reserve players were defeated by the narrowest of margins after an epic encounter against Sean McDermott’s in the Platinum Tanks Reserve Football Championship (Crawley Cup) on Friday 31st May. As games go this was right up there with the best with a thrilling end to an amazing game and the large crowd were treated to a fantastic sporting game of football that finished Rockcorry 2-8 Sean McDermotts 2-9.
Goals win games, they say, but this game definitely proved that taking your chances when they arise wins games! Because, while we dominated the opening stages of the game it was a case of chance after chance after chance being squandered as the luck of the Gods was not with us! Firstly, Dwayne Rooney hit the upright after fifteen seconds, Jude Walls kicked narrowly wide a minute later and soon after an attempt from Lorcan Smyth also hit the woodwork. We eventually drew first blood on the 4th minute when Lorcan Smyth was fouled and Dwayne Rooney tapped over a routine free-kick. On the 7th minute Martin Carroll delivered a superb defence splitting ball to Keelan Clerkin who proceeded down on goals but unfortunately his shot at the target went agonisingly inches wide of the upright.
As this stage the lads played some delightful football and it was great to see them play with such confidence and while two more scoring opportunities were spurned on the 9th and 11th minutes Dwayne Rooney converted another free-kick after Anthony Tate was brought down and Lorcan Smyth added a super point a minute later with a high lobbing effort that just dropped over the black spot to stretch our advantage to three points leading 0-3 to 0-0 after eighteen minutes.
Our defence were in top form with the full back line of Shane Wynne, Ciaran O’Hart and Ross Murray who were commanding figures and shadowed their men well and gave nothing easy away forcing them to kick a couple of wides. However, Sean McDermott’s finally settled and responded with fine scores on the 19th and 22nd minutes to reduce the gap but Dwayne Rooney was deadly accurate from the frees and he knocked over another free on the 25th minute to restore a two point cushion. This was short lived as Sean McDermotts dug deep and had a strong finish to the first half and pointed on the 26th and 28th minutes to leave the score board showing Rockcorry 0-4 Sean McDermott’s 0-4 after the first period.
Sean McDermott’s made a bright start to the second half and continued their dominance with a score after sixteen seconds and they converted a free-kick on the 5th minute to open up some breathing space leading by two points. On the 6th minute Keelan Clerkin produced a stunning surge up the field before playing a swift one-two with Anthony Tate and as he shrugged off his marker his effort at the target drifted narrowly wide. One of the scores of the game arrived on the 8th minute with a wonderful move created by Garry Calvert and was expertly finished by Martin Carroll whose effort shaved the crossbar and went over for a point which might easily have been a goal.
Shortly after Sean McDermott’s got a huge boost as they replied almost instantly with a swift move of their own down the field that resulted in their first goal and probably proved to be the decisive score as they opened up a sizeable gap leading by four points, 0-5 to 1-6. Dwayne Rooney sailed over a long-range free-kick on the 14th minute to keep us in touch but a minute later Sean McDermott’s restored their four point advantage with a well-taken point.
We had an opportunity to close the gap on the 18th minute but our effort dropped short into the Sean McDermott’s goal-keepers hands who instigated a speedy counterattack and straight up the other end they finished with a neat point, twenty seconds later, to lead 0-6 to 1-8. We continued to show admirable qualities and when Dwayne Rooney delivered a side-line ball to Anthony Tate who plucked it from the sky he off-loaded to the on-rushing Martin Carroll whose shot blazed over the crossbar for a wonderful score. The old goal adage proved true as Sean McDermott’s landed the killer blow on the 21st minute when they launched a high ball into our goal mouth area and it was punched into the net and only moments later they struck again with an excellent point to lead 0-7 to 2-9 with eight minutes remaining.
To the lads credit they didn’t drop their heads and their endeavour was rewarded a couple of minutes later when Aaron Clerkin reacted the quickest to a loose ball from a Corey Smith forty-five and from close range blasted the ball to the back of the net. With time running out there was actually enough time for one last piece of drama and with nearly every Sean McDermott player camped in the large parallelogram Anthony Tate somehow managed to rifle the ball low to the corner of the net to leave two points separating the sides. Were we about to witness one of the greatest comebacks ever? With regulation time up the excitement and tension along the side-line was running extremely high, and at times probably boiled over, as the lads attacked with great fervour in search of a winning score. While we tried desperately to get through the Sean McDermott’s defence and applied immense pressure but we could only muster a late point from the boot of Anthony Tate and sadly in the end time ran out as moments later the sound of the final whistle blew to leave the score Rockcorry 2-8 Sean McDermott’s 2-9.
On reflection, while we were defeated, the lads can and should be proud of their efforts in a good all-round team performance. It was a brave and mighty effort and they showed a lot of character and great heart to drag themselves back into the game. Unfortunately, at times our momentum dropped in the second half and in an evenly contested, tight game of football you have to make the most of your chances. Sean McDermotts made the most of their chances and the best of luck to them in the next round of the competition.
To view a selection of action photographs from the game please click the link below to visit our Flickr page.
Team: Dean Fay, Ross Murray, Ciaran O’Hart, Shane Wynne, Corey Smith, Keelan Clerkin, Garry Calvert, Garry Thornton, Martin Carroll (0-2), Dwayne Rooney (0-4f), Aaron Clerkin (1-0), John Greenan, Anthony Tate (1-1), Lorcan Smyth (0-1), Jude Walls. Subs: Rory Carroll for John Greenan, Andrew Carroll for Jude Walls, Christopher Greenan for Ross Murray.