19/04/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY THREE
STONE COLD PRECISION FLOORS REDS
LONGSTONE 0-13 - 0-08 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
The ability to kick long-distance scores at vital times saw Longstone ease clear of a battling Rostrevor side at a breezy Longstone Park on Saturday afternoon. The Reds' first league reversal will have been met with some regret due to a pair of missed goal opportunities that may have put some much-needed pressure on the Mourne team in a contest in which they were always in complete control. The performance of Michael Ireland at full-forward was the highlight for the Stone as the powerful attacker was first to every ball that came within his grasp. This marks the end of a successful week for Longstone with the opening day defeat at Downpatrick being followed with a pair of home wins.
Mark Poland set a precedent for his side to follow with a rangy point; the opening score of the match, in the first minute. Longstone were quicker to settle and dominated the early exchanges. The attempts of Rostrevor to gain a foothold in the game were nullified at every opportunity by their direct hosts. Ryan Kelly doubled the lead on the turn in the 4th minute with a Colin Burden point adding to the lead. Kelly notched his second of the afternoon with a great score after some fine play from Mark Poland with Michael Ireland finding his range to secure a five-point lead by the end of the opening quarter.
Conor Fegan got Rostrevor off the mark on 19 minutes with an effort from distance, but Ryan Kelly's third point maintained the Longstone lead. The Reds began to find more possession in the final third as the half progressed, but they were really struggling with their accuracy. Damian Magee landed an effort onto the top of the net via the keeper's fingertips with Adrian Mackin's free finding the target in similar fashion, as Rostrevor laboured into a three-point deficit. That would have been a positive scoreline at the interval for the visitors, but the Stone made further impressions before the short whistle to secure a comfortable lead. Two monstrous placed efforts from Ambrose Rogers and a further score from Ireland had Longstone well on their way to eventual victory.
HALF TIME - LONGSTONE 0-09 - 0-03 ROSTREVOR
Rostrevor began the second half in an extremely positive manner and had reduced the deficit to three-points once more by the 38th minute. Both teams appeared to be more at ease shooting towards the far posts at the Longstone venue and Adrian Mackin displayed remarkable accuracy to send over a superb point to narrow the gap. The same man angled over a free before Conor Fegan slammed over his second of the day; claiming good possession to fire a low effort over the crossbar. That momentum, at one point, seemed as though it might carry some force for Rostrevor but the Stone got their necessary settling score off the boot of Michael Ireland. Conor Poland provided another point immediately and became apparent that a Rostrevor goal would be the only way in which this game's outcome would be altered; such was the comfort of the Longstone lead. Sean Magee took a pot-shot with great success on 41 minutes to bring the Reds some respite, but Mark Poland's left-footed point maintained the Longstone grip on the contest; 0-12 to 0-7 entering the final quarter.
The Stone were cruising at that stage and that is always dangerous with the lingering threat of a goal given a brace of concessions in each of their last two games. It was to be that Rostrevor would have one major chance when Conor Doyle's dropping effort tested John Paul Haughian's handling in the 46th minute only for the loose ball to be palmed back onto Haughian's grateful fingers by the onrushing Mackin. The difference that might have made will never be known to either side, but the game as a contest petered out thereafter, as Longstone ensured that there were no second chances in the closing minutes. Shaun Parr's point kept Rostrevor moving on the scoreboard but the Stone eased to their second win of the season; adding a further point at the conclusion. This defeat won't be greeted with too much anxiety from the Reds' management as the performance levels can and will improve from this encounter, but they will be keen to ensure no lasting damage in the coming weeks. Loughinisland's search for an elusive league wins will arrive in Rostrevor on Friday night and in that there may be a chance to galvanise what has been a positive start to the season. Longstone will be hoping to keep their momentum going because they were truly unplayable on occasions and that bodes well for PJ McGee and his staff.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Christopher Magee, Michael Boyle, Sean Magee (0-1), Conor Magee, Niall Farrell, Damian Magee (0-1), Shaun Parr (0-1), Conor Fegan (0-2), Jordan Fegan, Conor Doyle, Adrian Mackin (0-3 2f). Subs used; Gairiad Clarke, Padraig McGrath, Micheal Mackin and Anthony Donnan.
14/04/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY TWO
MINOR CHANGES SEAL NARROW WIN FOR REDS
ROSTREVOR 1-10 - 0-11 CLONDUFF
By Kieran McNally
Padraig McGrath slotted a 55th minute goal to edge Rostrevor over the line in a thrilling contest with Clonduff at Pettit Park on Monday evening. The Yellas made the relatively short trip down to Rostrevor buoyed by an opening day win against Tullylish, but they were to leave empty-handed, as the Reds' minor stars from last year's championship winning team took centre stage in a frenetic conclusion to an entertaining match. Danske Bank Colleges' All-Star, Conor Doyle fired over three second-half points off his stunning left-boot before Jordan Fegan sent McGrath clear in the closing stages to send Rostrevor on their way to victory. Clonduff were always a threat with the power of Arthur McConville being assisted with the potency of Patrick O'Hagan and Aidan Carr from deep, but Rostrevor were full value for the points in a match which they led from the early stages.
Patrick O'Hagan carried on from where he left off on Friday night with the opening score after two minutes for Clonduff with the Reds levelling moments later with an individual score from the outstanding Shaun Parr. The game's free-flowing start was to mirror the remainder of the contest, as both sides played with a great deal of attacking intent, which offers much praise to the defensive work of both sides under immense pressure in an end-to-end confrontation. O'Hagan capitalised on a foul on Arthur McConville to help Clonduff back into the lead, but again Rostrevor would respond with Adrian Mackin sending over his first of the evening to leave the scores at 0-2 each after 10 minutes. Mackin sent Rostrevor into a lead they would never surrender on 12 minutes in what proved to be one of his final involvements in the match with hamstring trouble causing Gerard Colgan to replace his marksman with Conor Doyle. The Reds recovered well from this setback with Shaun Parr doubling their lead at the end of the first quarter.
Parr was the centre of everything that was good about his side and he got on the end of a fabulous team move to grab his third point of the night from the centre of the park. Clonduff were in danger of seeing the game slip away at that stage, as their hosts were playing the better football, but Shane O'Hagan had other ideas with an excellent score for the Yellas to narrow the deficit. Richard Reynolds and Brian Keenan worked well to fashion another point for Rostrevor close to the endline, with Reynolds doing the needful, but McConville's free in the dying embers of the opening half had Clonduff trailing by two at the break.
HALF TIME - ROSTREVOR 0-06 - 0-04 CLONDUFF
The possession in the opening half had been rather even and neither side could really forge a significant spell of dominance. It was about the converting of scores more than anything else. Arthur McConville brought the gap back down to the minimum within two minutes of the restart, but it was Rostrevor who were continuing to provide the greater amount of finishing power in the final third. Conor Doyle's performance in the second half was superb for the Reds and their victory had much to owe to his accuracy. He pushed Rostrevor back into their two-point lead on 34 minutes before Shaun Parr rounded and accelerated away from Aidan Carr to slam over a tremendous point two minutes later. Doyle added his second of the evening shortly after; firing over on the spin under pressure, as Rostrevor gave themselves a momentary buffer, but back came Clonduff. Three scores in the space of three minutes; two from Barry O'Hagan and one from McConville, brought the Yellas right back into the contest once more; but still trailing the Reds by 0-9 to 0-8 entering the final quarter.
The pendulum appeared to be swinging in that mini-spell of Clonduff pressure and they were now very much in control at midfield with Padraig Brown's height proving important for them. The ammunition was being fired in to Arthur McConville at every conceivable opportunity, but Darren McIlhenny was standing up to his task very well along with the guidance of Jarlath Farrell and the fast-breaking Christopher and Sean Magee; the former was black-carded late on. The introduction of Micheal Mackin in an attempt to wrestle the breaking ball statistics back in the hosts' favour was also crucial at that point. However, the three attacking minor changes were the main catalysts for victory. Firstly, Conor Doyle brought an end to a nervy ten minute spell without either side scoring with a fine solo effort before the match-winner arrived. Again, much of the praise must go to the tenacity of Rostrevor with the breaking ball as Padraig McGrath emerged from a cluster of yellow and white jerseys. He worked his possession well with Jordan Fegan's assistance before coolly slipping the ball under Gary Haughian and into the net with five minutes remaining. Five points ahead, it seemed as though Rostrevor would comfortably collect their points, however Clonduff applied serious late pressure in a grandstand finish. Patrick O'Hagan benefitted from two panicked challenges; sending over frees to narrow the gap to three points entering stoppage time before the big chance came and went. It seemed like a mis-placed shot at first that was dropping to the right and wide, but Arthur McConville stole in at the back post to stretch a palm at the loose ball only for Tony Fearon to get his body in the way and bat the ball out for a 45'. Aidan Carr converted the resulting kick, but that was the moment when Rostrevor's win was sealed. It was a fantastic finish to a very enjoyable night's entertainment at Pettit Park and one that the Reds might look back on with a real smile at the end of the season, as for now it has secured a second straight win at the start of the league campaign.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Christopher Magee (BC - 58), Michael Boyle, Sean Magee, Conor Magee, Niall Farrell, Richard Reynolds (0-1), Shaun Parr (0-4), Conor Fegan, Brian Keenan, Anthony Donnan, Adrian Mackin (0-2). Subs used; Padraig McGrath (1-0), Conor Doyle (0-3), Shane Murney (BC replacement), Micheal Mackin, Damian Magee and Jordan Fegan.
11/04/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY ONE
REDS LEAVE IT LATE TO FINISH OFF FONTENOYS
LIATROIM FONTENOYS 1-06 - 0-14 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Rostrevor were made to sweat before churning out a five-point victory against a Liatroim side that seemed to be beaten on more than one occasion at Fontenoy Park on Friday evening. The Reds opened up six and seven point leads at different stages of this opening contest, but struggled to put their hosts away with Gerard McAnulty's second-half penalty and the momentum that came with it leaving Rostrevor teetering in the closing stages. It took three late points to finally decide the contest in the Seasiders' favour, but it was much more difficult in the end than would have been expected in a dominant opening half. The woodwork had its role to play in Rostrevor's nerves perhaps with three first-half rebounds frustrating Adrian Mackin, although he did finish top-scorer on the night with six points.
The first black card of the league season arrived on 4 minutes with Liatroim's Stephen O'Higgins receiving his marching orders for a body charge on the industrious Brian Keenan. Micheal McCartan replaced the departing O'Higgins, but the early change did seem to have an effect on what was a laboured opening half from the hosts; which was compounded by an excellent display from the visiting Reds in the first thirty. Adrian Mackin provided another exhibition of score-taking for his side and capitalised on a foul on Jordan Fegan to send over the opening score in the 5th minute. Liam Doyle provided the solitary response for Liatroim with a score that represented much of the Fontenoys' initial play, as they were forced to recycle possession time and time again before the veteran fired over. Jordan Fegan restored the Rostrevor advantage in the 10th minute before Mackin missed a glorious chance; smashing a close-range effort off the crossbar, as Liatroim struggled with Rostrevor's runners from deep.
It was really during the second quarter in which the Reds set the foundations for their victory, with an unanswered scoring burst that left Liatroim with it all to do. Conor Fegan shot over from 45 yards on 19 minutes to extend the lead with Adrian Mackin hitting another effort off the upright before converting the rebound to open up a three-point advantage. The hosts' tenacity hadn't its usual bite at this stage of the contest with Rostrevor cutting through their defence frequently. Mackin drilled a low effort between the posts before rounding Paddy Joe McComiskey to tap over his fourth of the night to leave the Reds with a five-point lead entering the closing stages of the half. Shaun Parr dropped a fine point over the bar with a minute remaining, as Rostrevor headed into the interval with a handsome lead despite Adrian Mackin seeing an unbelievable third shot rebounding off the woodwork.
HALF TIME - LIATROIM FONTENOYS 0-01 - 0-07 ROSTREVOR
Liatroim's re-emergence for the second-half was instant and they switched their performance through the gears to slash Rostrevor lead in half within six minutes. Darren O'Higgins found the target from their opening attack of the half with Micheal McCartan sending an effort over his shoulder moments later to give the hosts some much needed hope. Liam Doyle's free brought the Fontenoys closer on the scoreboard before Rostrevor found a nerve-settling Shaun Parr score to bring the lead back out to four points after a defensive lapse from Liatroim. The same man sent over a point from a Jordan Fegan lay-off with the latter splitting the posts after Mackin's free, as Rostrevor led 0-11 to 0-4 approaching the final quarter.
It was then that the contest took an enormous shift in momentum for Liatroim as Liam Morgan wriggled in between Reds' keeper Tony Fearon and full-back Darren McIlhenny, with the Rostrevor defender being adjudged to have denied Morgan from grabbing a goal in the process of taking him down. McIlhenney received a black card; replaced by Shane Murney, as Gerard McAnulty sent the resulting penalty into the left-hand corner to reduce the lead in the 43rd minute. The match belonged to the Fontenoys thereafter with the hosts attacking relentlessly against a largely stubborn Reds defence. Darren O'Higgins' free and a point from PD Savage left Liatroim within two points of their once runaway leaders by the 47th minute and they had four great opportunities to narrow, and overturn, that deficit in the closing ten minutes. However, these were wasted with William McCartan, Darren O'Higgins and Savage all being guilty of poor misses when well placed to score. Liatroim didn't take those potentially match-winning points, but Rostrevor did in the final minutes to galvanise their lead and earn a deserved win on the balance of play. Adrian Mackin sent over the important score under severe pressure to open up a three-point lead with two excellent scores by the introduced Anthony Donnan sealing an opening-day victory for Rostrevor. Gerard Colgan and his men will be delighted with a superb opening 40 minutes in the testing surrounds of Liatroim, and there is plenty to take from this win away at one of those sides that kept the Reds company over the last campaign. Liatroim will need to ensure improvements in their coming fixtures and they certainly won't want to require late season victories to save themselves at the end of the season, but they displayed enough to suggest that might not necessarily be the case. Fontenoy Park is not an easy place to get a result and that will help Liatroim as the season goes on, but Rostrevor left the same venue with a fantastic win.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny (BC - 42), Jarlath Farrell, Christopher Magee, Michael Boyle, Sean Magee, Conor Magee, Niall Farrell, Richard Reynolds, Shaun Parr (0-3), Conor Fegan (0-1 '45), Brian Keenan, Jordan Fegan (0-2), Adrian Mackin (0-6 2f). Subs used; Shane Murney (BC replacement), Anthony Donnan (0-2), Damian Magee, Padraig McGrath and Miceal Mackin.
06/04/2014 ACPRL Rostrevor 1-05 Kilcoo 1-11
The seconds took on Kilcoo in Pettit Park on Sunday afternoon, with both teams fielding strong line ups it had all the makings of a great game. Kilcoo were the better side in the opening ten minutes and edged in front, but the reds got off the mark with a fine score from the returning Shane Murney. A well taken point by Anthony Donnan followed by a great team goal finished off by Sean Mackin had Kilcoo on the back foot. Further points from Donnan and Richie Reynolds (2) had Rostrevor in a strong position at half time leading 1.04 - 0.03. The second half proved to be a lot different, with Kilcoo now dominating around the middle and using their strong running game effectively they hit five unanswered points in a row to take the lead. Indeed a Conor Fegan free in the second half was as good as it got for the Reds as they struggled to repeat their excellent first half performance. Despite Kilcoo coming good in the second half to take the points, there were many positives to come from Rostrevor's performance - their intense tackling and pressure in the first half limited Kilcoo to shooting from range, something which will surely be replicated and improved on as the season goes on. In addition to this the presence of a number of returning faces was good to see - with Niall Farrell making his welcome return to the fold as well as Sean Mackin and Shane Murney included in the starting XV.
Rostrevor: Tony Fearon, Kevin McGrath, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Aidan Clarke, Gareth Clarke, Martin Grant, Niall Farrell, Declan Magee, Conor Fegan (0-1), Shane Murney, Brian Keenan, Richie Reynolds (0-2), Sean Mackin (1-0), Anthony Donnan (0-2). Subs Used: Sean Magee, Miceal Mackin, Paudie McGrath, Turlach Murphy
Rostrevor - 2014 Senior Football Preview
In many ways, the coming campaign will be the most important for Gerard Colgan and his backroom staff, as consolidation in the first division must now be replaced with a tangible sign of progress in the team's performance at the top table. In terms of league position, an 11th placed finish in 2013 was very welcome in the context of the season as it happened, with the spectre of possible relegation haunting the Reds for most of the year. It was only with four consecutive wins at the end of the league programme, that Rostrevor were able to keep themselves in senior football for the coming season and it will certainly be within the remit of management and the players to ensure that points are accumulated in a much more consistent manner, home and away, to give us all a more comfortable summer.
Friday 11th April will mark the beginning of the season with a trip to Liatroim Fontenoys and with both sides enduring long spells without victory during the 2013 campaign, it carries massive importance even at this stage. Rostrevor hold the upper-hand in recent seasons with two wins and a draw in the sides' three previous meetings, so the Reds will enter as favourites for a narrow win on the road. The Fontenoys' case is never helped by the injury problems that fall upon stars such as Liam Doyle, and the emigration that has hit the club and; whilst a home fixture against a team that spent most of the 2013 season in close company with them at the foot of the table should offer optimism, it is difficult to envisage anything else than another flirtation with the drop. The Reds move beyond that game into a home encounter with Clonduff and a trip to Longstone; and these are all winnable games for the side, so one could imagine that after three or four games, the potential of this league season will really come into focus. Seven home fixtures out of fifteen represents a slight handicap, to an extent, especially given our away results in this division since 2011; and home games will be important as always. The boost that playing at a well-attended Pettit Park gives to Rostrevor has always been massive and it is never an easy place to come for visiting sides; adding some away points to that should see the Reds safely into the top half of the table this year. Results away to the likes of Bryansford, Burren and Castlewellan will probably determine the Reds' ability to split the leading pack, but if Rostrevor are tucked in behind the top four or five in the division, then there would be a degree of satisfaction to take from that. Consistency remains the key to progress in that regard because Rostrevor should be challenging for honours at all times.
The onset of the championship in the summer will hopefully greet Rostrevor in a much more settled and confident mood than last season. The group stage probably arrived at the wrong time last year with league performances dropping to a level at which they were really affecting the belief within the panel leading to leads being surrendered against Mayobridge and Saval amidst spells of unanswered scoring punishment. That remains amongst one of those areas to improve upon, as that resulted in the majority of the club's league defeats last season also. The victories at the back-end of the campaign were more like a Rostrevor that could progress in a championship format because they were all must-win encounters against difficult opposition that were in search of points also. It remains to be seen where Rostrevor, or anyone else, can go in the championship this season, as it all comes down to form at the end of the day. Being in the third pot makes it more difficult than it otherwise would be, but outside of the top pot, it is a case of who dares wins. Recent years have brought semi-finals and quarter-finals in the senior championship and the very least of Rostrevor's ambition should be to appear in the last-eight with an eye on pushing on; it's all about momentum though.
The season also brings with it departures and arrivals in terms of players. We wish John Fegan well in his new role as Attical's manager in the second division, as well as his brother Joseph as he lines out for RGU Downpatrick in the coming season. Nicholas Mills' return adds some welcome height to the middle and provides another county minor championship winning option to the panel. Niall Farrell looks set to make his return from Aghaderg in a move that strengthens our defensive numbers and experience with the attacking threat of Miceal and Conor Mackin both featuring in pre-season games. One of the enduring highlights of the 2013 campaign was the emergence of young talent to complement the established names. Tomas Mulholland's growing confidence at midfield and the mercurial talent of Conor Doyle in the front-six has been excellent for the team moving forward. Jarlath Farrell, Colm Murney, Shaun Parr, Conor Magee, Brian Cole and Adrian Mackin have always provided a strong foundation and with the expected injection of the 2013 minor champions into the panel boosting that, the signs have to be positive. Injuries can play a part in the appearance of the aforementioned players every season, however, the players are there to force through a successful campaign. It needs to be a successful campaign in one way or another.
Felix Darby Cup 03/04/2014 Glenn 2-12 Rostrevor 3-07
The Thirds played their first game of the season in the re-fixed game against Glenn on Thursday night. This was the first group game of the Felix Darby Cup. A slow start from Rostrevor meant they went in at half time trailing 0-2 - 2-8 - this left them with alot to do in the second half. However a powerful second half performance from the reds pulled the deficit back, but were ultimately edged out by a stronger Glenn side on the night by 2 points.
Rostrevor: Eoin Caughey, Mark McEvoy, Martin McGivern, Darren Farrell, Damien Keenan, Eddie Magee, Barry Og McConville, Fintan McBreen, Chris McConville, Gerard Farrell, John Fegan, Ciaran Cole, Lee Clerkin, Niall Magee, Paul McGrath.
23/03/2014 Seconds beat Liatroim
The Seconds panel who defeated Liatroim in their opening game of the season. Final score Rostrevor 4-18 Liatroim 1-03.
Rostrevor: Tony Fearon, Kevin McGrath, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Aidan Clarke, Gareth Clarke, Martin Grant, Tomas Mullholland, Nicholas Mills, Richie Reynolds, Colm Clerkin, Conor Fegan, Brian Keenan, Anthony Donnan, Jordan Fegan. Subs used: Miceal Mackin, Sean Mackin, Conor Mackin, Gareth Caufield
2013 Senior, Seconds and Thirds match reports available here
SENIOR FOOTBALL 2012
View the match reports for Senior, Seconds and Thirds games in PDF format by clicking here.