Reds inflict stinging defeat on Shamrocks

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Reds inflict stinging defeat on Shamrocks thumbnail Shamrocks make off with Rostrevor in pursuit.

THERE are few senior games I have covered in recent years where both sets of supporters felt they got full value for what they paid at the gate.

Newry Shamrocks...1-16

Friday's Down All-County Division Two clash at Rostrevor's Petit Park against Shamrocks was a thrilling encounter and the result hung in the balance until the final whistle, giving full value.

Both teams set up to attack and managers Shane Mulholland and Daniel Hughes placed faith in their respective defenders to do their job without the aid of sweepers.

Of course, with Shamrocks suffering their first defeat of the league they may want to revise such tactics but manager Hughes is not susceptible to knee-jerk reactions and eight League points from five games is a good return for the City side.

Obviously Mulholland was the happier of the two managers but he wasn't too pleased with how his Rostrevor side let a seven-point lead slip.

"It was a great win for us and a fantastic game for the neutral to watch but I am concerned that for the second week in a row that we have built up a decent lead and then almost throw it away," said Mulholland "When we are that far ahead we need to learn to put teams away and we should have been out of sight, but credit to Shamrocks they fought back brilliantly which left for a nervy final few minutes." The scores went tit for tat with the sides being level on four occasions before Rostrevor bagged their fifth point.

Rostrevor's Conor Fegan (2f), Cathal Doyle and Conor Magee replied each time to points from Killian McEvoy (2f) and Niall Cunningham (0-2) before Fagan's third converted free, from an acute angle, put the Reds in front.

Shamrocks battled back but kicked four frustrating wides in a row and they were punished on 17 minutes when James Rice made a great catch before laying off to Fegan and after forcing the keeper to come off his line, the Rostrevor forward coolly slotted into the net.

Both sides packed the midfield but Shamrocks had difficulty with their own kick-outs and even when they did make a mark, which Terry Morgan made several, they were slow to execute a plan, whereas Rostrevor were much slicker from either the break-ball or from winning possession in the middle.

Only four minutes after their first, the Reds bagged their second goal after Conor Fegan was permitted to run 30-metres without taking a hit before laying off to Cathal Doyle who had the simplest of finishes into the net.

Doyle and Shaun Parr stroked over points and although Kevin Haughey and Niall Cunningham replied with points after good work from the energetic Jody McGovern, Rostrevor looked in commanding position with a 2-08 to 0-07 lead at the break.

The Newry side returned to the field a minute or two late but it was worth it as they were fired up and Conal Gough, Cunningham, McEvoy and McGovern added four points within seven minutes of the restart.

Conor Fegan halted the route briefly with a point but the Newry men were on top early in the second half. Their defence seemed to get the better of their men and the midfield won ample ball and it wasn't surprising when the eventually found the Rostrevor net. And it was a wonderful sweeping move, started by keeper Colm Heaney, involved seven players, which left the Reds chasing shadows as Shamrocks moved the ball at pace and crucially they right man to finish as McGovern struck his shot past Parr.

With 15 minutes remaining the sides were level 2-09 to 1-12 but only 60 seconds later Rostrevor had the perfect response and Piaras Kane rattled in a third goal for the Reds.

There wasn't much time to catch a breath as the two teams went hammer and tongs. Cunningham and McEvoy closed the gap but Rostrevor kept their noses in front with Doyle and Conor Magee finding the target.

A last gasp magnificent score from McGovern left a point between the sides with only two minutes' additional time remaining but Rostrevor's Conor Fegan steadied the ship with a coolly taken point and boom the league points belonged to Rostrevor.

As the crowd left the pitch they commented what a great open spectacle the game was and both teams deserve credit for serving up and entertaining game.

ROSTREVOR: Johnny Parr, Aidan Clarke, Darren McElhinney, Johnny Connolly, Nicky Murney, Niall Farrell, Richie Reynolds, James Rice, Conor Magee, Joe Morgan, Piaras Kane, Damien Magee, Shaun Parr, Cathal Doyle, Conor Fegan.

NEWRY SHAMROCKS: Colm Heaney, Daniel Kane, Luke Byrne, Conor Donnelly, Damien McKeown, Mark Harte, Niall Lennon, Conal Gough, Terry Morgan, Killian McEvoy, James Dickson, Jody McGovern, Niall Cunningham, Nathan Murphy, Kevin Haughey.



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