Senior team seal win after a fascinating & absorbing encounter
Our senior team travelled to Threemilehouse on Friday 2nd May to play Sean McDermott’s in the Monaghan Electrical intermediate football league and were forced to dig very deep in order to see off a determined and strong-minded Sean McDermott’s outfit. The lads were made to fight every step of the way in this highly absorbing but very entertaining encounter and when our backs were against the wall in the second half the entire team showed outstanding character and spirit and were hugely impressive in their five point triumph on a score-line Sean McDermott’s 2-5 Rockcorry 0-16.
Having lost to Carrickmacross in the previous round we were anxious and determined to get back on the winning track. The game was played in bright and pleasant conditions but there was still a bitter nip in the air. We started the brightest and registered the opening score after only fifteen seconds on the clock when Lorcan Smyth split the uprights with a delightful score following the hard work by Martin Carroll and Keelan Clerkin. Within a minute we doubled our advantage when Paul McKeown pointed after some good approach play from Noel Carroll and Ryan Sharkey. Sean McDermott’s got off the mark, a minute later, with a terrific move that ended with a score and just a couple of minutes later the game was all square when they converted a free-kick to leave both sides on 0-2 apiece. Noel Carroll produced one of his elegant solo runs, on the 7th minute, and after he was brought down Dwayne Rooney tapped over the free-kick and two minutes later when Paul McKeown was fouled he kicked over another exemplary point.
A flowing move, on the 12th minute, which began in the half back line, teed up the lively Garry Calvert who raced through the Sean McDermott’s defence and with only the goal-keeper to beat it had ‘GOAL, GOAL, GOAL’ written all over it (even the umpire, which incidentally was his dad Nicky Calvert, was reaching down to raise the green flag) but his cheeky lob just dropped over the crossbar! We stretched our lead, on the 18th minute, when Paul McKeown kicked a superb point but this was cancelled out instantly as Sean McDermott’s responded with a neat score from play. We had chances to extend our advantage but unfortunately attempts from Dwayne Rooney and Noel Carroll drifted wide but Paul McKeown restored our four point lead when he whipped over a fine point from thirty metres. With half time approaching and trailing by four points Sean McDermott’s delivered a killer blow when they launched a high delivery into our goal mouth area and while Jamie Smith fielded superbly the ball slipped from his grasp and broke perfectly for the Sean’s player who finished to an empty net to leave just a single point separating the sides at the half-time interval, Sean McDermott’s 1-3 to Rockcorry 0-7.
Upon resumption, we again started brightly and when Lorcan Smyth was fouled Dwayne Rooney stepped up and lobbed over the resultant free-kick. A promising attack, on the 6th minute, was halted by some outstanding defending from Niall McKeown which instigated a swift counter-attack that included some great interactive play and was finished by Dwayne Rooney who curled over a peach of a point. A minute later, a free-kick effort from Dwayne Rooney drifted to the right of the target but the wily Paul McKeown used all his craft and experience to keep the ball in play and threaded a lovely ball through to Keelan Clerkin who finished in style. Noel Carroll was adjudged to have fouled his opponent, on the 11th minute, and Sean McDermott’s converted the ensuing free-kick but we replied immediately as Colin Quinn glided over a magnificent point to leave the scoreboard showing Sean McDermott’s 1-4 Rockcorry 0-11.
We had maybe a half a goal chance on the 12th minute when Dwayne Rooney was put through but the Sean McDermott’s goal-keeper showed remarkable reactions and made a good save to deflect the ball past the upright for a forty-five which unfortunately led to nothing. Sean McDermott’s reduced the deficit when they pointed, on the 16th minute, to leave three points between the sides and two minutes later we were forced to replace our midfielder Martin Carroll who was clearly-distressed after an accidental collision that resulted in a fractured jaw. Just moments later we suffered another big blow when Sean McDermott’s managed to raise a second green flag to leave the score board showing Sean McDermott’s 2-5 to Rockcorry 0-11.
The game was now finely poised and could have swung either direction but when the hard questions were asked the lads had the believe and confidence to express themselves and they answered the questions impressively and decisively to retake control of the game. They showed remarkable character, spirit and the whole team worked extremely hard for each other as they battened down the hatches and rallied with an impressive display during the final ten minutes. Our defence with Damien Matthews, Keith Daly, Conor McGeough, Stephen McGuirk,, Colin Quinn and Niall McKeown tightened their grip on the game while at the other end the forwards were on song and notched over five unanswered points to seal the victory.
Our dominant period started when Keelan Clerkin was brought down on the 20th minute and Dwayne Rooney tapped over the routine free-kick to restore our slender lead. After a trademark shimmy from Paul McKeown, on the 26th minute, he was hauled down and once again Dwayne Rooney showed no nerves and hit over the free-kick from an acute angle to put us two ahead and just a minute later Dwayne Rooney kicked a majestic point from almost fifty metres to open up a three point cushion. Garry Calvert went very close on the 29th minute but moments later after a patient build-up that involved a number of players Noel Carroll skipped past the challenge from his opponent and slotted home comfortably to add the insurance point.
As the game ticked over into injury time there was still time for one last score and as always we saved the best to last as we finished off the win in style! I don’t know what Keelan Clerkin had to eat before the match but if I was to hazard a guess I imagine it was a bucket of spinach! If you remember that classic cartoon character Popeye you would know that whenever Popeye got into trouble or some difficulty he would simply down a can off the green stuff (spinach) quoting “I’m strong to the finish when I eats my spinach”. It gave him great strength, increased biceps and would be able to shift mountains! In a similar way, when Keelan Clerkin got into a spot of bother, on the 33rd minute, he was surrounded by half-a-dozen or so Sean McDermott’s players and it appeared he was doomed, but he simply transformed into a player possessed and shipped past the first tackle, hopped off the second tackle and powered his way through the third, fourth and fifth tackles and with the sweetest of strikes he effortlessly floated over an absolute gem to wrap up the scoring and leave the final score Sean McDermott’s 2-5 Rockcorry 0-16.
To view a selection of action shots please click the link below to visit our Flickr page.
Team & Scorers: Jamie Smith, Conor McGeough, Keith Daly, Damien Matthews, Stephen McGuirk, Niall McKeown, Colin Quinn (0-1), Martin Carroll, Keelan Clerkin (0-2), Lorcan Smyth (0-1), Noel Carroll (0-1), Garry Calvert (0-1), Ryan Sharkey, Paul McKeown (0-3), Dwayne Rooney (0-7,5f). Subs: Eoin Fitzpatrick for Ryan Sharkey, Christopher Greenan for Martin Carroll (injured) and Cathal Sheridan for Dwayne Rooney (injured).