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Annaclone left Red in the face after defeat.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

IT was a relationship they didn't want, but Rostrevor's flirtation with Intermediate football has helped them win silverware, after Shane Mulholland's men won the Down Intermediate Club Championship.

Rostrevor...1-10
Annaclone...1-06

And captain Jarlath Farrell insists there is more to come from his side.

"Our goal at the start of the year was to win the Intermediate Club Championship and win promotion out of Division Two, " said Farrell.

"That's one objective achieved and we have another one to go and we are not going to forget about it." Played in Pairc Esler on Sunday (1 October) it was a contest that won't go down as a classic, but that matters little to Rostrevor who did enough to keep Annaclone at bay.

Tactically Justin Lynch and his management team got their game-plan spot on but they couldn't have legislated for how misfiring Annaclone were in front of the posts.

Both sides were without their marquee forwards with Annaclone's Owen Pyers and Rostrevor's Conor Doyle serving suspensions and their absence was notable.

Most of Rostrevor's positive play came through Jordan Fegan's powering runs as he set up Damian Magee with the opening point.

Conor Fegan extended Rostrevor's lead but on six minutes Annaclone rocked up with a brilliant set-piece, as Kevin Anderson targeted his quick free into the square where Colm Farrell punched into the net, despite deflecting off defender Niall Farrell.

A massive row erupted immediately afterwards but it fizzled out with the goalscorer Farrell the only player to enter referee Gavin Finnegan's book.

Mooney steered over a fine long-range point to level the scores on 11 minutes, but then the game went through a 10- minute period where neither side could score.

Annaclone refused to deploy players up front, so they resorted to pop-shots, while Rostrevor just missed the target.

Thomas Pyers eventually broke the deadlock on 24 minutes, when he made a side-step, looked up and stroked over the bar but Rostrevor's reply was immediate with a giant long-range point from Conall Gordan.

The sides were level as the game entered additional time but Piaras Kane turned and kicked over a beauty to give the Reds the lead and then Brian Keenan cheekily scored a goal. I say cheekily as Joe Morgan's shot was already destined for the net following Jordan Fegan's run, but Keenan's fingertips made sure.

Still there was just enough time for another score and importantly for Annaclone it was Kevin Anderson who converted a close-range free.

Half-time: Rostrevor 1-05 Annaclone 1-02.

Shooting failed to improve early in the second half with Annaclone kicking three shots wide and Rostrevor punished with Conor Fegan's point on 36 minutes and Piaras Kane's score extending the Reds' lead.

Annaclone were practically camped in Rostrevor's half but only after a succession of frustrating wides and efforts dropped short, they eventually bagged their first score of the half James Fegan converting a free on 45 minutes.

Conor Fegan (free) and Peter Fegan, with his first kick, gave the Reds a handsome lead heading into the last 10 minutes, but Annaclone found composure with Sean O'Hare floating over a lovely point followed by a fine strike by goalscorer Farrell. But it was too little, too late for the Clone.

Mooney fisted his second point of the afternoon with a minute of normal time remaining as Annaclone looked for a goal. But there were no heroics as James Fegan's attempted effort for goal skimmed over the bar.

It wasn't to be for Annaclone, whose effort can't be faulted but Rostrevor earned their win.

Piaras Kane was awarded Man of the Match and the full forward worked hard and was always available for the ball.

Jonathan Connolly is another exceptional footballer and has been one of the best corner backs in the county at any level. Jordan Fegan was another who contributed greatly, especially in the first half, while Mooney showed flashes of his class.

Annaclone needed every player to be on top of their game but the final passed too many players by.

A club that has up until this season only sat at the top table, the Reds felt under pressure to deliver following their fall from grace, but the tough tackling captain Jarlath Farrell insisted they forced to battle this season.

"This is a young team and we won two Minor titles in recent years and that is what this team has been built on. We want to go only one way and that is upwards," he said.

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