Rostrevor point in the final direction.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Rostrevor point in the final direction. thumbnail Rostrevor captain Caolan Mooney breaks a Joey Cullen catch at Armagh on Sunday (12 November). The Down team took the win by a single point to secure a place in the Ulster final.

ROSTREVOR survived a late charge from Donegal champions, Milford to win through to the AIB Ulster Intermediate Club Championship final, writes Tony Bagnall.


In a tension-packed finale on Sunday (12 November) at Armagh's Athletic Grounds, the Mighty Reds edged home by a single point, following a nerve-racking last 10 minutes.

"It was pull-your-hair-out stuff at the end and we needed more composure to see out the game," said manager Shane Mulholland.

"We thought it was too easy and we started to take an extra step, make an extra pass, instead of doing what we were doing well.

"We are not ruthless enough. But our average age is 20. The boys are going to learn and learning takes time, but we need to accelerate now.

"Milford have come from behind in every championship match this year, so we knew they were coming. I told the boys they would be right there at the death and they were.

"That was a lesson and hopefully these boys will grow from it. But when you win a real tight one, it's good maybe to kick on from it," said the Rostrevor boss.

Yet after 15 minutes St Bronagh's seemed to have the match won. They were playing super stuff, scoring freely, passing the ball beautifully and their confidence was sky high.

Caolan Mooney put Rostrevor in front with a fine point on two minutes, with midfielder Conor Magee adding another 60 seconds later. And it could have been worse for Milford, as Conor Fegan shot wide when in the clear.

But at that stage it didn't seem to matter as the Mighty Reds were in total control and they pointed a further four times without reply.

County man Caolan Mooney grabbed a long-range effort, with Conor Fegan and Conor Doyle (with a free) following suit while Conor Magee added a sixth score, after an intricate five-man move.

Even so, early on Milford looked a beaten side. It took them 17 minutes to register their first point - a Cathal McGettigan free.

That score boosted them no end and in the next 12 minutes they added three more points, all from frees and all from midfielder Luke Barrett.

As half time approached it was the Donegal men who were calling the shots and Rostrevor hadn't scored for 15 minutes. In first-half injury time full forward, Piaras Kane did get on target to leave the interval score reading St Bronagh's in front by 0-7 to 0-4.

On the restart Rostrevor added a couple more scores, from Joe Morgan and then a monster Shaun Parr effort fully from 60 yards.

Milford though were growing in confidence and in the next 20 minutes they pointed five times to Rostrevor's two.

Christopher Barrett, Gary Merritt, Luke Barrett, Tony McNamee and Cathal McGettigan split the posts for the Donegal champions, while Conor Doyle, with frees, kept the scoreboard ticking over for Rostrevor. At that stage there was just a single point between the sides.

The excitement was rising rapidly as the minutes ticked away. With 59 minutes gone Conor Doyle increased the gap, but McGettigan pulled it back to one again.

When it was announced there were five minutes of time added on, the tension deepened in the Rostrevor camp.

But Caolan Mooney brought some relief as he knocked over a free. However, again McGettigan made it a one-point game.

There was more nerve-tingling action as, with the announced five minutes played, Milford's TJ Evesson thought he had won the game for his side as he fired in a low drive.

But 'keeper Jonathan Parr made himself a Rostrevor hero as he hurled himself to the right and beat out the drive.

Then, to the relief of the Reds' fans, the final whistle sounded and St Bronagh's had won a place in the Ulster Intermediate final.

After the match Shane Mulholland spoke of the forthcoming final.

"Ourselves and The Moy are masquerading in the Intermediate Championships.

It will be a senior game of football.

"It will be a fantastic final. The Moy were probably the showpiece team of the competition, given that the Cavanaghs are involved.

"Colm has won an All Star and is high profile, so we'll do our homework and see if we can get our match-ups right. We'll give it a good lash.

"Down teams have come into Ulster and not really given it a go. But we have set our stall out. We're here to win this.

"We 're not here to make up the numbers, or to give the Cavanaghs a nice sendoff."

We're hoping to go all the way to an All Ireland final," he said.


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