Antrim All County Division One
Date: Sunday 29th April
Venue: Páirc Rossa
Referee: Brendan Toland
Sunday 29th April, Páirc Rossa, Iarthar Bhéal Feirste, beautiful sunshine, slight breeze, over looked by Slieve Dhubh (black mountain), a lovely setting and an almost perfect day for football, but possibly a day that Pobal Éanna learned a valuable lesson.
Brendan Toland was the match official for the day, with the team sheets handed on and the toss sorted, na Fhir Éanna and Rossa got the game off to a good start, First Blood to the home side as they made the first attack on the visitors goals and on winning a free converted the first free and score of the match, (Rossa 0.01, NÉ 0.00), seconds later Naomh Éanna won a free from almost the same location at the other end of the pitch and Odhrán Eastwood stepped up took the responsibility and converted (Rossa 0.01, NÉ 0.01).
Rossa made it two to one, minutes later (Rossa 0.02, NÉ 0.01) all comings as the visitors were forced into an early substitute at mid-field, Mickey Morgan replaced Ruairí Scott with five minutes played.
Looking back this was the impetus that they needed and for the rest of the half the work rate, efficiency and accuracy improved. As the visitors got to grips with Rossa, the first half was to finish 11-5 to the visiting side, however therein lies the lesson, the home side would ghost back into the game, level it and take the lead late on, ultimately Rossa’s experience of on the day secured victory.
For the neutrals, it could be said that Naomh Éanna where the best team for most of the match, their defensive unit worked tirelessly to deny and overturn possession time after time. This perseverance ensured at the break that the home side tally was only five.
Odhrán Eastwood made it two each with his second score and first from play, (Rossa 0.02, NÉ 0.02), Dónall Walsh made it (Rossa 0.02, NÉ 0.03) with six minutes played and the Gleann Ghormaithe side would take the lead all the way to half time.
Gerard Crossey was wearing No.11 but in the first half he covered almost every blade of grass, he made it four to two for the visitors on seven minutes (Rossa 0.02, NÉ 0.04) and Odhrán added another to make it; (Rossa 0.02, NÉ 0.05).
Leaving two inside forwards, Rossa were realising the threat, they reset and pulled men back to create the platform for a much needed score, the reward came and the Rossa captain Seán Beatty, succeeded in breaking the stranglehold, (Rossa 0.03, NÉ 0.05) eleven minutes played.
Rossa should have been within a point but for a simple miss from a close in free, bizarrely Naomh Éanna had settled into the game and the home side where looking nervy, Odhrán made it six to three (Rossa 0.03, NÉ 0.07).
On the quarter of an hour mark Philly Curran won his own ball and drove at the Rossa defence, as the pressure increased the Rossas defence seemed to open up and he went through to score a class point, (Rossa 0.03, NÉ 0.07). The big No.8 won clean possession again to setup a combination between playmaker Gerard Crossey and Peter Healy, Peter pointed easily, this was the county man’s fist score and brought the score to (Rossa 0.03, NÉ 0.08), Rossa did pull one back from their own kickout, with Deaglan Murphy taking a fine point to make it (Rossa 0.04, NÉ 0.08), Naomh Éanna were guilty of wasting opportunities to go further ahead as Rossa struggled with the forward play from the visitors. Another county man, Kristian Healy would make his mark on the score board after an assist from No. 6, James McAuley to bring the score to; (Rossa 0.04, 0.09), as the half drew closer to the whistle the pressure from Naomh Éanna on the Rossa defence was taking its toll and the visitors would add more scores from Eoin Nagle (Rossa 0.04, NÉ 0.10), and another from Mickey Morgan, Rossa would punctuate this attack with an attack of their own and a score from No.11, Colm Fleming (Rossa 0.05, NÉ 0.10), who was on fine form and would finish the game with six points, five from frees.
Mickey Morgan’s point would come almost straight away (Rossa 0.05, NÉ 0.11), it wouldn’t end there as Rossa made one last attempt on Paddy Floods goal, who was on good form to deny a certain goal, half-time at Páirc Rossa:
The family atmosphere, a large traveling support and the U8 teams playing a mini-match during the break added to the spectacle. It must be said that is a credit to both clubs, mentors and coaches that the young footballers are encouraged and have great roles models in the seniors players from both teams.
As the second half got under way, the wide tally and missed goal chances in both halves would only play to the advantage of the home side, as Rossa went on to win by the narrowest margins, the margins between success and defeat can be slight.
For both teams the second half was as different from the first half, Rossa would after several attacks open the scoring from play, looking back, the home side were wounded from their first half display and where keen to make amends in the second.
Sure enough they did, making it (Rossa 0.06, NÉ 0.11) five between the teams, the Hightown men responded and a foul on Peter Healy gave Odhrán Eastwood the opportunity to open the lead again to six, by stroking over the black spot (Rossa 0.06, NÉ 0.12), forced to make a change at midfield, Naomh Éanna introduced Ciarán O’Neil for Mickey Morgan in the hope that they could force the advantage, but Colm Fleming would have his say by stoking another close in free to make it; (Rossa 0.07, NÉ 0.12).
It was score for score, (Rossa 0.08, NÉ 0.13), until Rossa got three in a row from two frees by Colm Fleming and a save from Paddy Flood to turn the ball over for a Rossa point (Rossa 0.11, NÉ 0.13).
Two points between the teams and the turning point in the match, Naomh Éanna would finish with thirteen and a resurgent Rossa got another free which was easily converted by the big No.11, the bear minimum between the teams (Rossa 0.12, NÉ 0.13).
The introduction of Ciarán Thompson for Dónall Walsh did give the visiting side scoring chances, even goal chances, however this was not to be and Rossa equalized (Rossa 0.13, NÉ 0.13) and went ahead (Rossa 0.14, NÉ 0.13) and managed the game out, in a game that they endeavored to come back and win by the slimmest of margins.
Next up is the hotly anticipated match between Naomh Éanna and Creggan Kickhams, in Round 3 of Antrim Division 1, on Wednesday 2nd May at Páirc Ui Creggan at 8pm.
- C Walsh
- M McGreevy
- S Shannon
- C Orchin
- N Crossan
- C McGuinness
- S Finch (0-1)
- E McMenamin
- Seán Beatty (0-3)
- SP Donnelly
- Colm Fleming (0-6, 5 frees)
- Deaglan Murphy
- J Connolly
- D McEnhill (0-2, 1 free)
- A Devlin
J Cooley for M McGreevy (HT),
D Armstrong (0-2) for A Devlin (HT),
D Grego for J Connolly (41),
T McGrath for E McMenamin (51),
C McGettigan for C Fleming (60).
- Paddy Flood
- Killian Jennings
- Damien Gault
- Michael McNamee
- Ryan Kennedy
- James McAuley
- Conan Lyttle
- Philly Curran (0-1)
- Ruairí Scott
- Dónall Walsh (0-1)
- Gerard Crossey (0-1)
- Kristian Healy (0-1)
- Odhrán Eastwood (0-5, 2 frees)
- Eoin Nagle (0-1)
- P Healy (0-1)
Mickey Morgan (0-2) for R Scott (4),
Ciarán O’Neill for G Crossey (37),
Ciarán Thompson for Dónall Walsh (54),
Eoin McNulty for Kristian Healy (60).