24/08/2015 - MORGAN FUELS DOWN SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP – SECOND ROUND
REDS THWART ‘DUFF FINISH TO ADVANCE
ROSTREVOR 0-15 – 1-11 CLONDUFF
By Kieran McNally
at St. Mary’s Park, Burren
Youth and experience came together in; at times, stunning fashion, as Rostrevor found the scores to edge out Clonduff in a championship thriller at Burren on Monday night. The Reds kept their nerve in a tight finish fining the necessary scores to seal a place in the quarter finals with Adrian Mackin’s 57th minute point securing a one-point success. In fairness, the result was richly deserved for a Rostrevor side that bossed the majority of the game; however, a late resurgence from Gearoid Adams’ side nearly paid dividends for Clonduff, as they could have forced extra-time. Conor Doyle and Adrian Mackin shared ten Rostrevor points between them, as Rostrevor paraded a very strong blend of young talent and seasoned campaigners throughout the park and Stefan White will be extremely pleased to see that starting to pay real dividends on the pitch.
Current minor stars Conall Gordon and James Rice have enjoyed productive first seasons in the senior setup and the former swung over a tremendous point from the right wing in the opening minute with his very first touch. Jonathan Parr doubled the lead from the placed ball, as Rostrevor started well. Clonduff responded in those initial stages and Henry Brown laid on the chance for Paul Lively to narrow the deficit before Barry O’Hagan notched a free to level the scores on 9 minutes. Adrian Mackin helped Rostrevor back into the lead with an excellent point; the first of many, before Conor Doyle ran free to side-foot over his first of the evening.
Mackin’s range was certainly in, as he drilled over another fine effort to push the lead out to three points with a cutting move involving Jonathan Connolly, Conor Magee and Jarlath Farrell presenting the industrious Shaun Parr with the chance to extend the lead further; 0-6 to 0-2 by the 22nd minute. Barry O’Hagan was on the mark for Clonduff to keep his side in touch, but the opening half belonged to Rostrevor and John Fegan’s free; along with an absolutely superb individual effort from Conor Doyle had the Reds into a five-point interval lead.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-08 – 0-03 CLONDUFF
Clonduff needed to gain a foothold in the contest and Arthur McConville’s ability to find more space in the second half was part of a process that saw the screw turning for them in the final third. He arrowed over a point for the Yellas upon the restart, but Rostrevor were still buzzing at the other end and that duo of Mackin and Doyle sent over points in quick succession to open up a six-point advantage early in the second half. Barry O’Hagan and Adrian Mackin traded points, as the Reds maintained the gap in the early stages; however, Rian Brannigan’s goal would change the comfort with which Rostrevor had been opeating. Arthur McConville and Aidan Carr were both involved, as the ball was fed through to Brannigan who touched in at the back post. Arthur McConville brought it down to a two-point game with his second point of the night with Seamus Parr’s point-blank save on Conor Doyle keeping Rostrevor from answering back.
Doyle’s nerve was unblemished though, and he sent over a free before getting clear to fist another point, as Rostrevor held a 0-13 to 1-6 lead entering the final quarter. Four answered points from Clonduff arrived by the 53rd minute to level; however, as the Yellas momentum started to rise. Arthur McConville’s free started the purple patch with the lively Stephen McConville firing over two neat scores before Jason Brown sent over an excellent free from the left side to restore parity for only the second time. Rostrevor deserve a lot of credit for the manner in which they battled back against the tide to wrestle the initiative back. Conor Magee fired over the lead score for the Reds in the 54th minute, but they saw that cancelled out by an Arthur McConville point from close to the left end-line, as both sides spent time on the attack. Chances were missed at either end in an engaging finish to the match, but it was Conor Doyle who filtered possession for Adrian Mackin to send over what turned out to be the winning score with three minutes left to play. Rostrevor advance to the quarter finals of the championship with this fine victory, as Clonduff will now face Ballyholland in the qualifiers. There is no doubt that Stefan White and his backroom team’s attention will turn to an important league encounter with Castlewellan on Friday night, as it should do for the time being, but there will be much satisfaction taken from Rostrevor showing their quality in Monday’s game to progress.
ROSTREVOR SCORERS; Adrian Mackin (0-5), Conor Doyle (0-5 1f), Shaun Parr, Conall Gordon, Conor Magee, Jonathan Parr and John Fegan (0-1 each).
CLONDUFF SCORERS; Rian Brannigan (1-0), Arthur McConville (0-4), Barry O’Hagan (0-3 1f), Stephen McConville (0-2), Paul Lively and Jason Brown (0-1 each).
14/08/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY THIRTEEN
CLARKE CALLS IT FOR FORD AT THE FINISH
BRYANSFORD 1-10 – 0-12 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Chris Clarke was the late match-winner, as Bryansford dramatically escaped with two league points after a stirring display from Rostrevor at St. Patrick’s Park on Friday night. The Ford were put under immense pressure by the relegation threatened Reds and whilst Rostrevor did produce a good performance, they were left to ponder the effects of another defeat placing them in the unenviable position of needing two wins from their last two games and results elsewhere to fall into place.
In truth, it was a game that Rostrevor didn’t deserve to lose such was their contribution to the contest and they will look back at a match-defining goal from Philip Bonny midway through the first half, as a key moment. Both teams hit early wides with John Fegan, Danny Savage and Chris Brannigan among those to see attempts drift past the post before Peter Brannigan opened the scoring in the 7th minute. The sides traded scores in the opening quarter with the excellent Conall Gordon providing Rostrevor’s first point after Shaun Parr’s pass, before Chris Clarke and Niall Farrell exchanged points to leave the scores level by the 16th minute; 0-2 to 0-2.
The game would follow an end-to-end pattern for its duration, so it transpired that the game’s only goal would have a large bearing on the outcome and it arrived with Philip Bonny finishing to the corner after a swift move upfield from Bryansford moments after Farrell’s point. Rostrevor were unlucky to lose Conor and Christopher Magee in the opening half also, but they continued to contest with Damian Magee finding his range to narrow the gap. Philip Bonny restored the advantage on the run before a free from David McKibbin brought the lead to four points. However, the Reds finished the half stronger with Shaun Parr breaking through a number of challenges to send over the bar before Conor Fegan’s free ensured a two-point deficit at half time.
HALF TIME – BRYANSFORD 1-04 – 0-05 ROSTREVOR
Chris Clarke extended the Ford’s lead within a minute of the restart with Jonathan Parr being forced into a point-blank save moments later, as Rostrevor came under some early second-half pressure. Having withstood that early barrage, the Reds settled back to their task with Damian Magee on target before Shaun Parr pointed from a rebound after he raced clear on goal following a misplaced ball from net minder Mark Reid. Conor Maginn fisted between the posts, but Rostrevor would link together another brace of points to level the scores by the 48th minute; Jonathan Parr and Conor Fegan both firing over from placed balls.
Bryansford were always quick to find the spare man on their kickout and their swift transition from defence to attack granted them a huge chance with Danny Savage’s pace giving him a one-on-one chance with Parr. However, Parr stood up well to deny Savage the luxury of space to aim at and his effort crashed off the upright and out. Rostrevor countered and the ball was sent over the bar at the other end with Jordan Fegan placing the visitors ahead for the first time; 1-6 to 0-10. Savage equalised from a free on 54 minutes, but Rostrevor regained the lead moments later through Conor Doyle. Another point from Danny Savage brought the Ford back onto level terms with four minutes remaining. The Reds continued to take the game to the Newcastle side though, and Conall Gordon did well under pressure to push Rostrevor back in front in the 58th minute. Chris Clarke levelled entering stoppage time in what was an agonising finish for Rostrevor, as Jonathan Parr saw a 45’ drift wide before Clarke fired over Bryansford’s winning point. The Reds were given one last chance to salvage a draw with a last-ditch free from range, but in similar circumstances Parr was unlucky to see the ball drift to the right of the posts on the final whistle. It’s on such fine moments that league points are won and lost, and Rostrevor will look back on a number of games this season where points have evaded the side. If anything it grants optimism in approaching the championship games, but league salvation now hinges on victory against Castlewellan and Longstone; coupled with some assistance elsewhere.
BRYANSFORD SCORERS; Philip Bonny (1-1), Chris Clarke (0-4), Danny Savage (0-2 1f), Conor Maginn, David McKibbin and Peter Brannigan (0-1 each).
ROSTREVOR SCORERS; Conall Gordon (0-2), Damian Magee (0-2), Shaun Parr (0-2), Conor Fegan (0-2 2f), Conor Doyle, Jonathan Parr, Jordan Fegan and Niall Farrell (0-1 each).
10/08/2015 - MORGAN FUELS DOWN SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP – FIRST ROUND
REDS ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP TRAIL
ROSTREVOR 1-12 – 0-09 RGU DOWNPATRICK
By Kieran McNally
at St. Patrick’s Park, Newcastle
Rostrevor progressed to the second round of the senior championship with an excellent first-half performace paving the way for a comfortable victory over RGU Downpatrick at Newcastle on Monday night. The Reds; boosted by fine performances from Christopher and Conor Magee, Jordan Fegan and Conor Doyle among a host of others, made reasonably light work of the RGU challenge to complete their second victory over the East Down men for this season. Clonduff await Rostrevor in the next stage of the championship, as two old foes renew acquaintances in a couple of weeks’ time.
The Hoops were coming into the contest on the back of a league win at Kilcoo, so confidence would have been higher than it had been for most of their season. However, Rostrevor were quick to take the initiative and never really looked like heading for the qualifiers beyond the opening quarter; despite a late charge from RGU. Conor Magee enjoyed an excellent hour in the earlier meeting between the two sides in June and indeed he was early to find his range with the opening score inside the first minute. Conor Doyle pointed from a free soon after to double the lead; following a foul on the lively Shaun Parr. Anthony Doherty did reply for the Hoops, but further points from Magee and Doyle had Rostrevor into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the end of the opening quarter.
Anthony Doherty’s impressive free-taking brought RGU’s second point on 17 minutes; however, Rostrevor would go on to dominate the rest of the first-half and comprehensively put Downpatrick to the sword. Conor Doyle sent over from the left side after a neat lay-off from Jordan Fegan before the latter struck for the game’s only goal in the 22nd minute. It came as little surprise that Doyle claimed the assist, laying off to the fleet-footed Fegan after Shaun Parr had broken the ball well. Fegan’s finish was excellent; tucking the ball past Jonathan Deeny with aplomb. Damian Magee and that man Conor Doyle both found the target with fine efforts, as Rostrevor raced into an eight-point lead; 1-7 to 0-2, with the interval approaching. Doherty closed the scoring for the opening half with his side’s third point, as Downpatrick struggled to gather any meaningful momentum.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 1-07 – 0-03 RGU DOWNPATRICK
The second half never really caught fire until RGU found some late rhythm to give themselves a glimmer of hope entering the final stages, as faint as it was. Conor Magee fired over his third of five points in the 33rd minute with the Anthony Doherty and the hard-working John Fegan trading frees, as the Reds remained in control. Jordan Fegan’s undoubted pace came to the fore with an excellent individual run creating the space for Conor Magee to angle over another score for Rostrevor to open up a 1-10 to 0-4 lead entering the final fifteen minutes.
Possibly, Rostrevor took their foot of the gas in the closing stages; however, credit must go to the RGU for the manner in which they performed in bringing the gap down to four points entering stoppage time. Anthony Doherty’s fifth free started the mini revival, before the Hoops first score from play arrived in the 53rd minute to close the gap to seven points. Indeed, the fact that Rostrevor kept their opponents scoreless from open-play for that long once more emphasises the fine defensive work from all of the defensive players; including the evergreen Jarlath Farrell with the youthful Jonathan Connolly and Conall Gordon also among those to impress. Three further scores without reply provided in the main by Johnny Bell and John Shields brought the score down to 1-10 to 0-9 with a minute to play. However, as the Hoops began looking for the imposing figure of Michael Magee on the edge of the square with more urgency, they found themselves exposed with points from Jordan Fegan and Conor Magee sealing a comfortable victory for Stefan White’s Reds. They now go on to face Gearoid Adams’ buoyant Clonduff, as RGU slip into the qualifiers to face Longstone in a winner-takes-all contest.
ROSTREVOR SCORERS; Jordan Fegan (1-1), Conor Magee (0-5), Conor Doyle (0-4 2f), Damian Magee, and John Fegan (0-1 each).
31/07/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY TWELVE
PARR SURGE CHARGES REDS SURVIVAL BID
ROSTREVOR 1-13 – 0-03 ANNACLONE
By Kieran McNally
Shaun Parr was in scintillating form, as Rostrevor picked up a valuable win in their quest of safety at the expense of an increasingly doomed Annaclone at Pettit Park on Friday evening. The Reds’ ace hit 1-6 on the night with his first-half goal; in particular, setting the hosts on their way after a cagey opening. Annaclone; on the other hand, whilst being rather competitive, were all together much too wayward and kicked themselves into a hole against some very resolute Rostrevor defending. Indeed, the visitors’ failure to score from play on the night really tells the whole story of a very comfortable evening for Stefan White’s men.
Annaclone’s difficulties were not easily identifiable in the opening quarter, as they held their fair share of possession and maintained a foothold in the contest. Kevin Anderson was the first man to raise a white flag also, as Rostrevor held onto the ball with no real finishing product in the initial exchanges. Jordan Fegan eventually equallised after a prersistent build-up from the hosts and whilst Shaun Parr pointed after a neat pass from John Fegan in the 12th minute to put his side in front, the Reds were profligate to say the least with Anthony Donnan, Jonathan Parr and Conor Doyle all missing chances to provide a larger early advantage.
It would ultimately come good though and in the 23rd minute, the corner was turned. Jordan Fegan broke well from midfield using his pace to get away before slipping the ball to Shaun Parr; who finished the ball low past ex-Rostrevor; and 1998 championship winning, net minder Christopher McCartan. That was the key moment in the match, as two further points from Parr and a well-taken score from Conor Doyle extended the Reds’ lead before the interval with Colm Fegan’s response providing little respite, as Rostrevor carried a six-point lead into the break.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 1-05 – 0-02 ANNACLONE
Little resistance was provided in the second-half, as the Reds kept their visitors on the back-foot for the duration. Shaun Parr was superb in front of the posts with three points in succession only serving to emphasise Rostrevor’s position. Annaclone’s woes at the other end were being exposed, as a mixture of long-range kicking and dropping fruitless passes onto the edge of the Rostrevor square provided little success. The comfort at which Rostrevor remained in control of the match ensured a rather drawn-out and generally pedestrian conclusion to the hour.
Conor Doyle fired over a brace of points to open up an eleven-point lead by the 49th minute, as the Clone could only muster a single close-range free to put themselves on the second-half scoreboard at least ; 1-10 to 0-3. The gulf between sides in the top division can often be blurred by a number of minute; yet significant, variables. It sometimes beggars belief how performances vary and how individual incidents can just determine how competitive a team is on one night, as opposed to others. On this night, Annaclone just couldn’t register and they were made to pay. John and Conor Fegan tagged on frees with Conor Doyle’s fourth point of the evening wrapping up a good evening for him, and even more so for Rostrevor who climb back out of the automatic relegation zone for now, following Longstone’s narrow defeat at home to the Reds’ next league opponents Bryansford. Longstone do still retain that game in hand, but with both sides in a final-day collision course; points are so priceless now. The sides in the places immediately above the dreaded bottom-six may just take a look over their shoulders because that gap may still be bridged entirely. Attention swiftly focuses to the opening game of the Down championship with Rostrevor and Downpatrick facing off next Monday evening in Newcastle. Annaclone minds will also shift to what is sure to be a tense fare with an already relegated Liatroim Fontenoys side, who for all that will be buoyed by their late great win against neighbours Castlewellan.
ROSTREVOR SCORERS; Shaun Parr (1-6 1f), Conor Doyle (0-4), Jordan Fegan, John Fegan and Conor Fegan (0-1 each).
ANNACLONE SCORERS; Colm Fegan (0-2 2f) and Kevin Anderson (0-1f).
24/07/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY ELEVEN
REDS MOVE INTO RELEGATION ZONE
GLENN 0-13 – 0-10 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Glenn took vital strides towards next season’s division one setup with a generally untroubled victory over a labouring Rostrevor side at John Martin Park on Friday night. The hosts led from the first minute to the last and despite a late attempt to snatch something from the game at the end, the Reds were made to rue dismal wides and some poor decision making at key times as they slipped to yet another damaging loss. Rostrevor are now in a race against time to keep themselves in the top flight, as there can be no confusion relating to their requirement to pick up wins prior to what is beginning to look like a survival showdown with Longstone In the final game.
This contest never really looked like going anyway other than the eventual outcome with Rory Millar’s early brace setting Glenn up for an evening on the front foot. Shaun Parr and Mattie Bagnall traded frees before Anthony Donnan hit a superb score for Rostrevor to leave them a point in arrears on 7 minutes. However, Donnan’s score was a rare highlight for the Reds in the opening half, as John Kennedy’s Glenn side dictated the pattern of the game with their patient and disciplined defensive play. Quick on the break, they added a string of unanswered scores to emphasise their superiority on the pitch.
Gerard Bagnall and Rory Millar sent over two excellent points within moments of each other before a further fine score from Shay Millar had Glenn into a four-point lead approaching the end of the opening quarter. Damian Magee did respond for Rostrevor, but Mattie Bagnall and a great individual effort from Gerard Bagnall ensured a comfortable 0-8 to 0-3 lead. Shaun Parr and Mattie Bagnall swapped a pair of frees in the closing stages, as the gap remained intact until the interval.
HALF TIME – GLENN 0-09 – 0-04 ROSTREVOR
Rostrevor needed to raise their game in the second half and indeed they did improve after the break; however, they just didn’t get the breaks they needed against a Glenn side that never really put the game to bed. Shaun Parr saw an early chance come off the upright, as luck contrived against the visitors. Shay Millar extended the Glenn lead in the 34th minute, but Jonathan Parr and Conor Doyle raised white flags inside a minute to boost Rostrevor. The Reds were hindered at times due to their insistence on allowing meaningless possession against them; particularly in a losing position, as it really allowed for the pressure to mount on their late resurgence.
Gerard Bagnall and Mattie Bagnall found the target at the end of patient build ups to make that approach seem futile, and whilst Conall Gordon replied with a very well-taken point entering the closing minutes, Mattie Bagnall’s free helped Glenn into a six-point lead with seven minutes left on the clock; 0-13 to 0-7. It was only really then that Rostrevor began to impose themselves on Glenn and they nearly managed to recover a point from the game at the death. Niall McParland and Liam Bagnall; among others, had been largely on top in the middle third but that grip loosened, as Rostrevor battled in vain. Shaun Parr combined with Jordan Fegan to narrow the deficit before Jonathan Parr added another free to his tally. Conor Doyle tagged on a point from the dead ball in the 57th minute to leave the Reds in search of a parity restoring goal; which nearly arrived in stoppage time with Shaun Parr having a close range effort blocked in the crowded goalmouth. As it transpired, Glenn claimed two priceless points to move to the verge of safety, which is very credible considering their rapid rise to the top flight in recent years. For Rostrevor, there are four big games ahead, starting with the visit of Annaclone in a game which will likely lead to the ultimate relegation of the loser, so it is time to get results.
GLENN SCORERS; Matthew Bagnall (0-5 3f), Gerard Bagnall (0-3), Rory Millar (0-3 1f) and Shay Millar (0-2).
ROSTREVOR SCORERS; Shaun Parr (0-3 1f), Jonathan Parr (0-2 2f), Conor Doyle (0-2 1f), Conall Gordon, Anthony Donnan and Damian Magee (0-1 each).
03/07/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY TEN
SAVAL FORM CONTINUES DESPITE BLACK FRIDAY
ROSTREVOR 2-11 – 3-12 SAVAL
By Kieran McNally
Three black cards in an action-packed first half failed to derail Saval, as they held on in an extremely open league encounter at Pettit Park on Friday night. Kealan Rice, Daniel McCarthy and Finn McAvoy were all dismissed in the opening thirty minutes, but Saval were able to capitalise on being handed the initiative with a fortuitous sixth minute goal to push on and build a handsome lead to defend in the second half. Rostrevor’s initial attempts to impose their will on the game were notable; however, it all counted for little as they were left to chase the game beyond the opening ten minutes after their early dominance was cancelled out.
The Reds started positively and were the only side on the scoreboard in the first five minutes with three unanswered points. Caolan Mooney’s right wing run presented him with a good scoring chance in the 2nd minute; which he took with aplomb, with Damian Magee doubling the lead moments later. Mooney sent over from a central position on 5 minutes to further emphasise Rostrevor’s good start, but all that work was harshly undone inside the next minute of play. Daniel McCarthy pointed from the left side to bring Saval into the game before Niall Madine’s dropping point effort somehow found its way past Ciaran Sloan and into the corner of the net. The Coalpit Road side were quick to further punish Rostrevor with a second goal almost immediately. Oisin McAvoy was the scorer; receiving possession after fine work on the left wing to drive the ball to the right corner of the net. Points from Pat Havern and Kealan Rice extended the lead to six points by the 10th minute; 2-3 to 0-3.
Saval lost Daniel McCarthy to their first black card of the evening before Rostrevor; who had been playing reasonably well up until that stage, registered their first goal in the 12th minute through Piaras Kane. The finish was excellent; turning well to race through and drill the ball low to the net. However, Niall Madine’s growing influence and burly strength in the final third was starting to turn the general tide in Saval’s favour. Pat Havern’s brace put Saval into a five-point lead, before Madine broke the ball down for the same man to pierce a shot into the bottom left corner. Rostrevor were less clinical at the other end; with Conor Doyle having a shot well saved and Conor Magee blazing an effort wide after a fine run into the Saval defence. They did reduce arrears before the break though, as Saval’s disrupting black cards to Finn McAvoy and Kealan Rice allowing the Reds to outscore their visitors; three to one, in the closing stages of the half. Two frees from Caolan Mooney and a good point from Damian Magee for Rostrevor with Ryan Rice providing Saval’s response, as they carried a six-point advantage at the interval.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 1-06 – 3-06 SAVAL
Shaun Parr narrowed the gap instantly with a smart turn and finish with Pat Havern free restoring the lead for Saval. Rostrevor were made to rue their missed chances on the night with Conor Doyle seeing a goal chance tipped fantastically onto the post in the 34th minute, but Saval were unlucky also; Ronan Digney pulling an effort wide when well placed. Piaras Kane and Daniel Hughes traded points, but any chance that Rostrevor had of winning the contest were fading away with time, as they could only break even in the third quarter. Corey McCullough sent over a high point for Saval to bring a seven-point lead with Niall Madine’s double ensuring a very comfortable lead entering the final five minutes; 3-11 to 1-8.
Stefan White’s Reds were very competitive until the final minute though, and they managed to stage a late revival to leave themselves in with a shout at the very end. Shaun Parr, Adrian Mackin and John Fegan all registered points before the 60th minute to bring the gap down to six points, with Piaras Kane pulling on a breaking ball to crash in an injury time goal to close the deficit further. However, the kickout went to Saval and Calum Lennon sent over the insurance point with the final kick to ensure that Saval kept their impressive season on track with another win. Rostrevor’s road to the finish is now filled with a battery of must-win fixtures with the vitally important visit to Glenn after the season break giving the side an opportunity to rise out of the play-off spot, and that fixture has the making of a cracker given Glenn’s exploits since their return to the top flight last season.
ROSTREVOR SCORERS; Piaras Kane (2-1), Caolan Mooney (0-4 2f), Shaun Parr, (0-2), Damian Magee (0-2), John Fegan and Adrian Mackin (0-1 each).
SAVAL SCORERS; Pat Havern (1-4 3f), Niall Madine (1-2), Oisin McAvoy (1-0), Ryan Rice, Corey McCullagh, Calum Lennon, Daniel McCarthy, Kealan Rice and Daniel Hughes (0-1 each).
19/06/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY NINE
YELLOW WARNING FOR SLUGGISH REDS
CLONDUFF 1-10 – 0-08 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Clonduff were always in control, as they took firm control of their division one status with a five-point win over Rostrevor at a wet Pairc Cluain Daimh on Friday night. Geairoid Adams’ Yellas were able to capitalise on an impressive start to keep the travelling Reds on the back foot for the duration of the contest, with Stephen McConville’s 42nd minute goal putting the contest beyond all doubt. As far as Clonduff performed without their county players, Rostrevor were poor and seemed to struggle with the unpleasant conditions; providing their most disappointing display of the season.
The hosts; sitting reasonably comfortably in the top half, were able to gather momentum without much resistance in the opening quarter and showed the greater clinical edge from the beginning. Stephen McConville raced through for the game’s opening point on 3 minutes and that was an early sign of things to come. Barry O’Hagan’s quality in the attack was evident throughout and he was always on point to receive possession and carry his threat to the Reds’ defence. He posted a high point before converting a free to extend the Clonduff lead to three points. Stephen McConville tagged on the Yellas’ fourth unanswered point, before a shot-shy Rostrevor opened their account through Damian Magee.
Rostrevor were finding it difficult to retain possession and were often guilty of poor handling, as they struggled to cater for the wet surface. Jordan Fegan came closest to making a real impression for the visitors on the scoreboard and could count himself rather unlucky to see his close-range attempt scrambled wide. Finbar McConville sent over an excellent score to re-establish Clonduff’s four-point lead with Barry O’Hagan tucking over from the right side to stretch the advantage further; 0-6 to 0-1. The Reds were in need of some inspiration and a brace of rangy efforts from Declan Magee and Jonathan Parr did bring some hope, but Shane O’Hagan’s fine point ensured the Clonduff were well in control at the turnaround with a four-point gap between the sides.
HALF TIME – CLONDUFF 0-07 – 0-03 ROSTREVOR
The nature of the game insisted that a goal on either side would have a major bearing on the outcome and as long as Rostrevor remained within sight, they still had a chance of grinding out a result. Conor Doyle pointed from a free in the opening minute of the second half to close the gap, but it was Clonduff that found the vital scores. Barry O’Hagan restored the lead and had Jonathan Parr to curse for thwarting himself and Stephen McConville from finding the net on 39 minutes with the Reds keeper making a superb double save. However, Rostrevor gifted the latter with a goal moments later to put Clonduff clear. McConville receiving possession after some slack defending to drive the ball to the top left corner; putting the hosts into a commanding 1-8 to 0-4 lead.
Jonathan Parr narrowed the deficit with his second long-range kick of the night with Rian Brannigan fisting over a response from Clonduff. The Reds were able to link together three points without reply through Conor Doyle, Anthony Donnan and John Fegan to give them a reason to send in the hopeful long balls in the closing stages, but there was no real substance to their punts as Clonduff eased home. Stephen McConville capped an excellent night in the final minute with another score to seal a five-point win for the Yellas. Rostrevor will be disappointed to have fallen short of their recent standards; particularly up front, with this meek performance just placing some added impetus into their home encounter with Saval at the start of July. The further the season advances, the more games will fall into the must-win category, but sitting in tenth position; just clear of the automatic relegation spots, the pressure cooker hasn’t been turned on quite yet for the Reds. Although, failure to add to seven league points as the season enters its final third would certainly turn up the heat.
12/06/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY EIGHT
RISING REDS LOWER THE BANNA
ROSTREVOR 1-15 – 1-05 CLANN NA BANNA
By Kieran McNally
Rostrevor continued their recent upsurge in form with a facile victory over struggling Clann na Banna at Petit Park on Friday evening. Following a start to the season which brought little reward for positive impressions, the Reds have been able to place together back-to-back wins in recent weeks and push themselves into the top ten. Caolan Mooney fired in Rostrevor’s goal in the early stages of the second half, but the game was fading away from the Banbridge side long before that, as the hosts raced clear in an extremely one-sided opening half. Indeed, the margin of victory would have been much greater, if Rostrevor; who were amusingly sporting an impromptu inside-out jersey, had taken a battery of other chances on the night. However, the two league points are all important.
The Reds started with real urgency and should have raised a green flag inside the opening minute, as Clann na Banna’s defence struggled with the movement of Rostrevor’s inside men. Conor Fegan dragged a shot wide of Michael McAllister’s post, but was soon on target as he added a good point to Caolan Mooney’s rangy effort to open up an early two-point lead. John Fegan saw his goal-bound effort splendidly tipped wide, as Rostrevor’s initial attempts to pull away were often thwarted by a mixture of lax finishing and top class shot-stopping. Despite this though, they were able to tag on points to back up their unquestionable supremacy and Tomas Mulholland’s point earned a three-point cushion by the 8th minute.
In fairness to Clann na Banna, their insistence on playing a quick passing game was heartening to see and they did not come to Rostrevor to sit back and defend. This often left them very open to swathes of Rostrevor offence, but Ruairi Gillen’s free did bring them some respite in the 11 minute. The remainder of the first half belonged to the hosts, as the ease with which the Reds were able to mount attacks finally beared consistent fruit. Conor Fegan fired over his second point of the evening with Richard Reynolds’ free extending the lead to four points; 0-5 to 0-1. Jordan Fegan stretched the advantage with a well-taken score before Reynolds tagged on his second free to put Rostrevor in charge on the scoreboard; opening up a six-point lead approaching the break. Damian Magee’s left-sided point and John Fegan’s effort ensured a comfortable gap was between the sides as they entered half-time and at that stage it was apparent that there was only going to be one winner in this contest.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-09 – 0-01 CLANN NA BANNA
Richard Reynolds pushed the lead to nine points from the dead ball in the 33rd minute before Rostrevor put the game conclusively to rest, five minutes into the second half. It was mostly down to the pace and persistence of Caolan Mooney, as he latched onto the breaking ball with his blistering speed getting him there before the outrushing Michael McAllister to finish to the net and open up a 1-10 to 0-1 lead. Conor Doyle entered the fray to send over a point from range, before Malachy Magee brought an end to Clann na Banna’s continued woe; applying the finishing touches to point after a patient build up. That score appeared to give the Scarva Road men some confidence and they were able to add to their tally with some more conviction in the closing stages. In fact, they were given a huge boost in the 42nd minute with Rory Hill slamming a low effort past Jonathan Parr after finding himself in a rare pocket of space. It is also worth commenting on the impressive exploits of Jonathan Parr between the Rostrevor posts, as he rose to prevent certain points in either half, as it seemed that gravity was also on the side of the hosts on this occasion.
Declan Magee and Richard Reynolds sent over points to keep the Rostrevor scoreboard ticking over with Dean Lennon weighing in with a point for the Banbridge club. Piaras Kane pointed via the woodwork, as the sides traded scores in the closing minutes with Jordan Fegan also on target for the Reds, as Clann na Banna never gave in with two further points adding weight to their tally. The full-time whistle arrived with Rostrevor comfortable ten-point winners and surging into 9th place in the league standings for the time being at least. The Reds visit to Clonduff will be keenly contested; one would imagine, as both sides strive for two more points to push them further away from the sizeable relegation picture. Clann na Banna will hope to draw on some home comforts for their must win game against in-form Ballyholland, as their new place in the top flight becomes increasingly precarious.
03/06/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY SEVEN
REDS POINTING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
RGU DOWNPATRICK 0-11 – 0-16 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Rostrevor moved above RGU Downpatrick in the league standings with this comfortable victory at Pairc Tómas Ruseil on Wednesday evening. The Reds were able to link together the points to ensure that their early season impressions were finally rewarded with a second league win and quite a vital one it could turn out to be. Conor Magee, John Fegan and Shaun Parr; among others, were all in superb form throughout the hour, as Stefan White’s side took advantage of the starred fixture to punish the Hoops and ease to a five-point win in the county town. Impressively, Rostrevor had nine different scorers on the night with all of their points coming from play.
This contest represented the first in a series of an upcoming series of high-pressure tests for both sides and the two points were really needed to provide a platform on which to build for the second half of the season. Downpatrick’s chief scoring threat of the night came in the form of Michael Magee at full-forward and his accurate frees; in particular, kept the hosts in the game for long periods. He fired over the opening point of the night in the 2nd minute, but a left sided response from Rostrevor’s Damian Magee; followed by Jonathan Parr’s 45-yard free, ensured that the Reds were able to settle early. The majority of the first half was played at a hectic pace with both teams enjoying scoring opportunities, so it came as little surprise that neither could initially take control of the scoreboard.
Michael Magee brought the scores level, before a chain of four points; shared between the same man and Rostrevor’s excellent Conor Magee had the scores at 0-4 each by the 22nd minute. The winning of the contest for Rostrevor came in the closing stages of the opening half, as they were able to string together a five out of the final six points before the short whistle. John Fegan set them on the way with an effort from range before another fine score from Conor Magee doubled the advantange. Damian Magee sent over a near replica of his earlier point in the 27th minute and; whilst Eoin Boyle did respond for RGU, a further score from Conor Magee and a fisted point from Sean Cooper had the Reds leading by four at the interval.
HALF TIME – RGU DOWNPATRICK 0-05 – 0-09 ROSTREVOR
Rostrevor’s gradual influence at midfield was starting to tell with possession being filtered through the middle third with some ease beyond the opening quarter of the match and that trend continued in the second half, as the Reds really ought to have put their hosts out of sight. Conor Doyle was integral as two scores arrived early on the restart; as he set Jordan Fegan through for a point before linking well with John Fegan, as the latter popped over from close range. Neal Cunningham sent over a free to keep the Hoops alive, but Conor Magee restored the six-point lead with a well-taken point. Despite being in control at this stage, Rostrevor were guilty of missing chances that may have come back to haunt them with two fisted efforts missing the target when potential goal chances were on; indeed one such effort from Jordan Fegan dipped below the crossbar.
It did seem for a moment that Downpatrick were maybe going to capitalise on these missed chances with two frees; from Michael Magee and Neal Cunningham, dragging the deficit back down to four points with fifteen minutes left to play; 0-8 to 0-12. However, Rostrevor were able close out the game in the closing quarter and ease to victory. Conor Fegan found the target, quickly followed by Conor Doyle’s deserved point in the 52nd minute, as the Reds moved clear again. Michael Magee responded, but John Fegan’s third point of the evening; this time from an extremely tight angle, restored a six-point lead. Eoin Boyle and Tomas Mulholland swapped points towards the end of normal time, as the clock breezed down to a rather comfortable Rostrevor win; despite Michael Magee’s late consolation free. Stefan White’s men thoroughly deserved the victory on the night and it perhaps provides some reward for what had been a season of near-misses to this point. Next Friday’s home encounter with newly-promoted Clann na Banna represents the next opportunity to get league points on the board, however, it is a must win clash once more with both teams looking for their first brace of wins. RGU visit a confident Ballyholland Harps side.
22/05/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY SIX
LOW-FLYING MAGPIES DO ENOUGH
ROSTREVOR 0-10 – 2-08 KILCOO
By Kieran McNally
Kilcoo were able to strike when it mattered most, as their fourteen men staggered to victory in front of a sizeable crowd at Pettit Park on Friday night. Daryl Branagan’s red card epitomised what was quite a hard-hitting encounter in Rostrevor, but it served as a motivation for a Kilcoo side that markedly improved after the incident; holding Rostrevor scoreless from play from that moment early in the second half. Rostrevor will be disappointed with the defeat considering that they were the better side on the balance of play, but they were nullified by a combination of tight defending, clinical finishing and merciless cynicism, on occasion, as Kilcoo ensured that they won at all costs on the night.
The general level of performance from Stefan White’s Reds this season has been satisfactory to say the least, but it hasn’t always garnered the deserved reward. Despite providing stiff opposition to three of last year’s championship semi-finalists in recent weeks, the results have fallen narrowly short and Friday’s match arguably demonstrated that most, as Rostrevor retained an element of control in possession but were caught cold with sucker-punch goals at key moments. The Reds started well with points from Christopher Magee, Jonathan Parr and Caolan Mooney forging an early lead; Paul Devlin’s free being the sole response. However, Kilcoo’s quality and contingent of county stars ensures that they are never out of a match for any period of time and Ryan Johnston and Paul Devlin found the target to level the scores by the end of the first quarter; 0-3 to 0-3.
The match was to hinge on a number of calls from Kieran Trainor in the middle with the Longstone referee having a testing hour; most of which he conducted in an adequate manner. Paul Devlin and Damian Magee were both subjected to black cards for unnecessary body charges to supporting runs within three minutes of each other, as Trainor correctly stamped his authority. Indeed, both players were having an impact for their sides with Magee arrowing Rostrevor back into the lead moments before his dismissal. Conor Fegan doubled the advantage from a grounded free in the 18th minute, but just when it seemed as though Rostrevor were going to build upon what had been an impressive influence on the contest, Ryan Johnston took the game by the scruff of the neck; striding through the centre to drive in a ruthless goal for Kilcoo. It had come largely against the run of play at that stage and Rostrevor were soon to regain the lead with Conor Fegan and an individual point from Caolan Mooney recovering a one-point lead for the Reds approaching half-time. Martin Devlin sent over from the right side to equalise for Kilcoo in first-half stoppage time, as the teams entered the break on level terms.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-07 – 1-04 KILCOO
Tomás Mulholland added another point to his impressive collection this season upon the restart, as Rostrevor restarted with a continued urgency. Caolan Mooney’s pace in the middle and attacking thirds had been causing real problems for Kilcoo and Daryl Branagan paid the price for petulance in the 32nd minute, as his vicious high forearm charge on the surging Mooney earned him an early bath and gifted Rostrevor a numerical advantage for the second-half. Conor Fegan sent over from the placed ball to give the Reds a two-point lead; 0-9 to 1-4, but from that point on it was an ultra-defensive Kilcoo that found the all-important scores. Felim McGreevy capitalised on a quick free to close the gap to a single point before a period of thirteen minutes without a score ensued. Jonathan Parr needed to stand up to Anthony Devlin’s close-range shot with Christopher Magee diving to block the follow-up, but allowing for that moment, Rostrevor really should have added to their lead, as attack played defence.
There was a cynicism creeping into the visitors’ game and you could sense the souring of the contest in the final fifteen minutes, as Dominic McEvoy sent over a leveller before Jerome Johnston took advantage of a dubious free in the right corner of the park. It did appear that Johnston had made his decision to go down before Jarlath Farrell’s expected challenge arrived. That gave Kilcoo the lead for the first time, as Rostrevor’s failure to press on when on top caught up with them. Conor Laverty’s performance in the second half was most telling for Kilcoo, as his razor-like sharpness and intelligent link play often set the Magpies on their way. He was integral to their match-winning second goal in the 52nd minute, as he dropped behind to collect James McClean’s clever break to race clear and feed possession to Jerome Johnston who clinically buried the ball into the far corner of the net. Laverty added a score to push the Magpies into a five-point lead with Conor Fegan’s free as a consolation for Rostrevor in the closing minutes. The game was littered with pullbacks thereafter, as Kilcoo set about refusing attacking opportunities to their hosts in a fragmented finale.
15/05/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY FIVE
FEGAN FREE EARNS LATE POINT
CUMANN PHEADAIR NAOFA 2-09 – 1-12 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Conor Fegan sent over an equalising free with the final kick of an absorbing derby, as Rostrevor battled bravely to prevent defeat under trying circumstances at Moygannon on Friday night. The Reds appeared to be on their way to victory after seizing control of the match in the closing stages of the opening half, however, Shaun Parr’s black card and a gallant Warrenpoint response meant that it would be the visitors that would need the late heroics to claim a share of the spoils.
The opening quarter set the tone for an unpredictable evening with some splendid scores, two penalties and a blistering tempo. Conor Doyle was in tremendous first-half form and opened the scoring on Rostrevor’s first foray in ‘Point territory; thumping over a superb point from the right. Equally as impressive was Jamie Grant at the other end of the park with his impactful running and power causing all sorts of trouble. He was involved as Aaron Magee levelled the side in the 5th minute before having an even more telling contribution two minutes later. The impish Niall McGovern fashioned a pocket of space at the end of another burst up field by an incisive Blues, with his low drive being parried into the path of Grant; who in turn slammed the ball into the roof of the net for an early ‘Point advantage. However, such was the nature of the early stages that the lead was soon cancelled out. Conor Doyle doubled his tally on 9 minutes with his flair inside creating an opportunity for Caolan Mooney whose attempt was deemed to have been blocked by the foot of Conor D’Arcy with Ciarán Branagan awarding a Rostrevor penalty. Conor Fegan made no mistake from the spot, sending D’Arcy in the opposite direction and putting the Reds in front; 1-2 to 1-1. It didn’t take long for the Warrenpoint to respond with a penalty of their own in the 14th minute and no matter how fortunate the award may have been for an unchallenged infringement off the ground, Niall McGovern’s finish was clinical to the corner.
Warrenpoint’s early success had been symbolised by their tireless running with Ryan Mallon and Ryan Boyle being ably assisted by Sean Gallagher and Donach McAleenan among others, but for the remainder of the opening half, Rostrevor were completely on top. Jonathan Parr’s 45-yard free narrowed the gap before a good point from Richard Reynolds brought the sides level in the 17th minute; 2-1 to 1-4. Conor Fegan was vital to Rostrevor throughout the hour and he fired over from range to give his side the lead with a well-taken brace from Conor Doyle; and further score from Richard Reynolds placing the Reds into a four-point lead by the 28th minute. Ryan Boyle surged up-field to score the Point’s first point in sixteen minutes on the cusp of injury time, but it was Doyle’s free that closed the scoring at the end of an enthralling opening half of action.
HALF TIME – CUMANN PHEADAIR NAOFA 2-02 – 1-09 ROSTREVOR
Rostrevor’s lead had been richly earned and their growing dominance had been very evident, however, that was all to change with an unfortunate black card to the influential Shaun Parr in the opening stages of the second half. It was clear as to the incident that caused Parr’s dismissal, but perhaps slightly unlucky given the pace at which the game was moving and other infractions during hour. Despite this, Conall Gordon’s introduction onto the senior scene for Rostrevor; in place of Parr, was very promising indeed, as well as that of James Rice who also made an impression. It did take time though for the Reds to recover from the black card and the initial period after that moment really brought the Blues into the game and forced the eventual draw; one would feel. Donach McAleenan pointed from a free to close the gap to three points before a quick-fire link of four more unanswered points from the hosts; taken in the most clinical manner, saw Warrenpoint burst back into the lead by the 42nd minute. Ryan Magee and Ryan Mallon brought the deficit down to one with Donach McAleenan’s second point being immediately followed by Niall McGovern’s fisted effort, as the Blues took a 2-7 to 1-9 lead.
The momentum at that stage was with the hosts and the manner in which they brought the game to Rostrevor was most impressive. The introduction of John Boyle was key to their revival, as his strength in the midfield area was among the factors that ensured a mountain of possession for Warrenpoint in the third quarter. The Reds were in desperate need of a settling score and it eventually arrived on 46 minutes with another of Rostrevor’s purposeful substitutions on the night; Jordan Fegan, squeezing an equalising effort between the posts under immense pressure. The stage was set for a grandstand finish and it was all of that in an end-to-end, and at times, ferocious finale. Conor Fegan’s free placed Rostrevor back into the lead in the 51st minute and he saw a potential match winner drop off the upright minutes later, before Caolan McLaughlin levelled from close range. The pattern of play was rather fragmented in the closing stages with both sides being guilty of fouls and indiscretions out of danger, but it was certainly frantic. Vital interceptions at both ends of the park and pressured wides followed before Aaron Magee manoeuvred space to send over an excellent point in stoppage time to push the ‘Point onto the verge of victory. It seemed to be slipping away from the visitors until Liam Fegan sent Rostrevor on a last-ditch counter-attack from deep resulting in Jordan Fegan being pulled to ground. His brother, Conor, curled over the resulting free to leave the neighbours on level-terms with Ciarán Branagan’s whistle greeting the kick-out.
10/05/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY FOUR
REDS OFF THE MARK AS LIATROIM LOSE GROUND
LIATROIM FONTENOYS 0-04 – 0-11 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Rostrevor produced a workmanlike performance to pull away from a disappointing Liatroim Fontenoys in swirling wind and rain at Fontenoy Park on Sunday afternoon. The Reds needed to show patience against the breeze in the opening half and built on a single-point advantage at the interval to surge clear in the second half; restricting the Fontenoys to a last-minute point as the rain pelted down and the storm clouds gathered around the hosts’ season. Stefan White’s Rostrevor will now aim to build on their first success of the season to battle for the top ten.
Liatroim’s struggles appear to be entrenched in the extent to which they are without experienced campaigners, with the absence of Liam Doyle, Aidan O’Prey and Patrick Pearse McCartan; among others, ensuring that a youthful team take to the field and find it difficult to compete for the entirety of matches. Transitional perhaps; but it is that kind of squad development that unfortunately will be pushed to its limits in then testing season that lies ahead. Martin Doyle sent over the opening point for the hosts with an early free from the right with Rostrevor finding it difficult to shoot into an unpredictable breeze. Tomás Mulholland levelled the scores with a high effort, before Conor Doyle pointed from the dead ball to put the Reds in front on 11 minutes.
The conditions weren’t particularly conducive to an entertaining spectacle, but the general proximity of the sides in the opening half ensured that it had its moments. William McCartan benefitted from PJ Davidson’s turnover to equalise, before Conor Fegan’s free restored the Rostrevor lead; 0-3 to 0-2. One would have felt that Liatroim’s failure to build some sort of lead with the first half wind eventually manifested itself in a difficult second, but it wasn’t for the want of trying and Jonathan Parr had to be alert in the Rostrevor net, as he parried Martin Doyle’s snapshot wide in the 22nd minute. That same man did equalise four minutes later, but Rostrevor’s Conor Doyle tucked over a close-range point before the interval to grant Rostrevor a one-point lead at the turnaround.
HALF TIME – LIATROIM FONTENOYS 0-03 – 0-04 ROSTREVOR
The importance of winning this match was certainly of the highest regard considering that the two sides were without wins in any of their three opening games, even allowing for some of the tougher games that are likely to arrive this season being played out in the previous weeks. However, the Fontenoys were running out of steam in the second half and Rostrevor steamrolled their way to a comfortable victory. It did take seven minutes for the Reds to open up a two-point lead for the first time with Sean Cooper finishing after good build-up from Caolan Mooney and Shaun Parr. Conor Doyle extended the lead on 40 minutes with patient Rostrevor play resulting in another point for Cooper, three minutes later. Conor Doyle scored an excellent curling point from the right side as Rostrevor began to move clear from Liatroim; opening up a five-point lead entering the final fifteen minutes.
Jonathan Parr came upfield to send over from a 45-yard free with a further point from the dead ball arriving off Conor Doyle’s cultured left boot. On occasion, the Reds were maybe a touch selfish in the final third and their scent for goals prevented them from building an even greater advantage, as they overplayed the ball at times. However, Caolan Mooney scored a point on the run in the 54th minute to place Rostrevor into an eight-point lead; 0-11 to 0-3. Liatroim’s long-suffering supporters were granted some respite in the final minute with Darren O’Higgins sending over a late free, but it was always going to be a red day in East Down. Before the game, it was certainly billed as an early season-definer and Rostrevor’s win was as important, as any they will collect over the course of what is sure to be an arduous campaign. However, performances have warranted this win and continued work will ensure much more.
08/05/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY THREE
BRIDGE HOLD NERVE TO SNATCH POINTS
ROSTREVOR 1-09 – 0-14 MAYOBRIDGE
By Kieran McNally
Mayobridge survived goal chances and a second-half dismissal to grind out a two-point victory at a frustrated Rostrevor on Friday night. The early development of Stefan White’s Reds seems to be showing signs of promise despite the side’s winless start to this campaign and; whilst the visiting ‘Bridge left with the points, one can only imagine that replicating displays such as this will grant Rostrevor much belief in their battle to avoid the gaping relegation zone. However, it would be advisable to start gathering points in the pivotal second part of the weekend’s double-header at another one of those sides struggling for early points, Liatroim Fontenoys. For Mayobridge, this was an important win, as it was their first of the season but also the manner of it will grant a degree of relief among other things.
The impact of Conleth O’Hare at centre-forward for Mayobridge may have been the vital input for the win, as the prolific forward was at the hub of the majority of their attacking play; with the addition of Kevin O’Rourke in the front line providing a further platform. It was Mayobridge that started well on the night with O’Rourke sending over two frees in the opening five minutes. Caolan Gallagher extended the lead from the left side before Shaun Parr opened the Rostrevor account in the 9th minute. Conor Doyle’s left-footed free narrowed the gap to a single point, but Mayobridge were more efficient in the opening twenty minutes and forged back into the three-point advantage again; Conleth O’Hare and Corey Quinn on target.
The first half followed the pattern of both sides having five minutes on top before finding themselves under the cosh and Rostrevor responded to Mayobridge’s period with another two points to bring the game back to the minimum margin by the 21st minute. Conor Fegan worked a quick free well with Caolan Mooney before firing over and Tomás Mulholland angled over a superb point from the right side to leave the scores at 0-5 to 0-4 in favour of the visitors. It was then; naturally, the Bridge’s turn to reply and it was that double act of O’Hare and O’Rourke that found the scores to restore the earlier lead. The closeness of the first half was slightly skewed by the fact that Mayobridge had enjoyed the initial period of dominance with three points, however, the teams would enter the break on level terms with Conor Magee firing in a superbly taken goal on the cusp of first half stoppage time. Caolan Mooney’s low crossed pass was helped on to Magee by the very hard-working Conor Fegan, and the Rostrevor midfielder tucked the ball past CJ Barr and into the top right corner. The Reds nearly had a quick second goal, but were unfortunate as Tomás Mulholland’s poked effort drifted wide in the dying moments of the half.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 1-04 – 0-07 MAYOBRIDGE
The final endeavours of the opening period were indicative of the frustration that Rostrevor would feel at the end of the game, as they would spurn chances to put Mayobridge definitively on the back foot. Conleth O’Hare and Conor Doyle; excellently, traded scores in the early moments of the second half before the game changed in a matter of minutes. Firstly, Tomás Mulholland; who had an effort saved from Barr seconds earlier, received a black card from referee Ferghal Laverty for a trip on Conor Garvey before Mayobridge lost Conor Fitzpatrick to a second yellow card, granting Rostrevor with a numerical advantage for the final twenty-five minutes. Conor Fegan placed Rostrevor into the lead for the first time on 38 minutes, but despite a wealth of possession, they were caught on the break and punished with three quick scores by O’Rourke; twice, and Quinn to ensure a two-point Mayobridge lead entering the final quarter; 0-11 to 1-6. Rostrevor’s response did arrive though, and they were able to level the contest by the 50th minute with John Fegan and Conor Fegan both sending over points, but Mayobridge’s efficiency in the final third was the key element in keeping them ahead despite having fewer men. Again, it was a quick brace of scores defying the Reds’ general control in the middle third of the pitch with Conleth O’Hare and Adrian Barry landing the scores to push the Bridge in front by two, once more.
The final stages belonged to Rostrevor and if only some added composure at the right moment, they certainly would have won this match. Richard Reynolds received possession in the 53rd minute and closed in on goal; opting to fist over to decrease the margin back to one point. Perhaps in hindsight; given the wonderful thing it is, he may have gone low against the exposed CJ Barr, or flicked it across to Conor Doyle on the edge of the square. It was a big chance for Rostrevor, but they were a point better off for it. Mayobridge though, were now intent on taking their time over every small stoppage in play and using their seasoned experience in some areas to retain possession. It did have its desired effect and the Bridge deserve their due credit for closing out the game under pressure. However, there must be a greater allowance for time added on in these instances because there appears to be no consideration given to the period in which the ball is not in play this season; and Rostrevor can feel slightly aggrieved. Having said that, they did have their chances and one; in particular, that really got away. Caolan Mooney was instrumental in sparking a surge upfield with Brian Keenan filtering the ball through to Piaras Kane, as the Reds found themselves close to goal with men over. However, the chance went begging and Kevin O’Rourke’s late free ensured a two-point win for Mayobridge. Promising for Rostrevor in terms of performance, but that needs to be rewarded with tangible points on the board with Liatroim being a massive game at this early stage. Mayobridge hope to build on this hard earned win when Bryansford visit.
02/05/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY TWO
BURREN SINGING IN THE RAIN
BURREN 2-14 – 3-06 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Burren’s festival may have been ongoing over the weekend, but it was their marquee forward; Donal O’Hare, that edged his side to a five-point success over an encouraging Rostrevor in a captivating contest at rain-soaked St. Mary’s Park on Saturday evening. The evidence would suggest that the hosts were somewhat flattered with the margin of victory, but deserving of at least a win nonetheless, as their scoring power was the telling difference; particularly from O’Hare and his fantastic tally of 1-9. Having said that, Rostrevor were superb at times; providing much promise, with three excellent goals providing encouragement and the performances of players in key areas leaving the eventual feeling that the Reds were perhaps a little unlucky not to expand upon their early supremacy in the contest.
The opening quarter was end-to-end, and the pattern of play saw both sides mount their own menacing attacks with success. Eamon Toner and Conor Fegan traded early points with the game sparking into life in the 6th minute with the first of some truly stunning goals finding the target; Burren taking the early initiative. Cathal Foy was the scorer, as he carried possession out of a ruck on the 45-yard line to pace through and curl a tremendous effort into the corner of the net despite Jonathan Parr’s best attempts. However, and despite that setback, Rostrevor were coming out on top at midfield with the pairing of Caolan Mooney and Tomás Mulholland providing a platform for a series of Reds’ breaks. Mooney surged forward to fist over with Donal O’Hare’s free restoring the three-point Burren lead in the 10th minute; 1-2 to 0-2.
John Fegan’s contribution at centre-forward was extremely impressive for Rostrevor; particularly in the opening half and he was twice involved, as the Reds took control of the match entering the second quarter. The midfield duo were again key with both finding the net in quick succession. Caolan Mooney’s pace was a vital factor in allowing him to race clear; playing a quick return pass with John Fegan before expertly placing the ball into the bottom corner on the stretch to equalise. O’Hare gave his side the lead once more with a free, but the ball was in the back of the Burren net once again in the 17th minute; this time through Tomás Mulholland. John and Conor Fegan combined near the right end-line to find the well-placed Mulholland, who finished the ball to the net first-time with a fine palm. Conor Magee chiselled over a point from the ground to give the Reds a 2-3 to 1-3 on 22 minutes; but despite the same man almost finding the net with an audacious lob against a struggling Burren defence, Ryan Treanor and Donal O’Hare each registered scores to ensure that the hosts were only a point in arrears at the break.
HALF TIME – BURREN 1-05 – 2-03 ROSTREVOR
Conor Fegan nudged Rostrevor into a two-point from the placed ball on the restart, but the gradual reclaiming of the contest from Burren started to manufacture, and Donal O’Hare; ably assisted by Ryan Treanor’s effectiveness as target-man, was at the fulcrum of everything positive in their attacking play. O’Hare sent over two points to level the scores by the 34th minute before he found the net to place Burren into a three-point lead; all of a sudden it had seemed. The goal had Burren etched all over it with a swift short-passing move resulting in the ball being touched to the net by O’Hare from close in. The hitman extended the lead to four points in the 37th minute to put the Reds’ backs to the wall, but the response eventually came, and it was sensational in its delivery. Conor Fegan showed well to receive Liam Fegan’s pass, before feeding possession inside to the onrushing Tomás Mulholland who showed composure of the highest order to crash a precise shot into the far corner of the net for his second goal of the match.
This narrowed the deficit to a single point; 2-8 to 3-4, but Rostrevor would never retake the lead, as Burren found the scores to seal back-to-back wins. Ryan Treanor settled the Burren nerves with an individual fisted point on the left side with Cathal Foy pointing from O’Hare’s lay-off to open up a three-point advantage. Donal O’Hare’s second-half performance was of the highest quality, and it was really his accuracy that pushed Burren over the line. His free and a fisted point from Eamon Toner gave the hosts a five-point lead and; whilst Jordan Fegan’s impulsive point and a free from Conor Doyle brought the Reds back into contention, Donal O’Hare ensured that the final difference would be five, with two more frees. Despite the defeat, Stefan White would have been reasonably content with the Rostrevor performance, but he will also know that points are important at this stage of the season. Mayobridge are the visitors on Friday night. Burren, on the other hand, are away at in-form Ballyholland.
27/04/2015 - DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY ONE
RUSHE HOUR FOR HARPS AS REDS FALL SHORT
ROSTREVOR 1-11 – 2-09 BALLYHOLLAND HARPS
By Kieran McNally
Tiarnan Rushe was the excellent match-winner, as Ballyholand survived a late onslaught to squeeze home by the narrowest margin at a showery Pettit Park on Monday evening. For the majority of this contest, it was a well-drilled and intense Harps side that made all the impressions on the pitch, but as their defensive wall formed, their control vanished and they were rather relieved to hear the final whistle in the end. Much of their success was owing to an imposition on Rostrevor’s ability to play and on their greater strength around the middle strength, but the vital component had to be the contribution of the teenager Rushe, with his haul of 2-2, and the overall mobility and flair in his play steering his side over the line.
Rostrevor; on the other hand, may not play as horridly for the rest of the season than they did in the opening half, as Ballyholland took advantage of a hesistant performance to build an impressive lead. To be fair, the Harps were superb in comparison and took most of the chances that came their way. Perhaps, it was the physical nature of the front eight for Ballyholland that made the most telling contribution, as the Reds struggled to penetrate through midfield for much too long. Conor Doyle’s free on 6 minutes was Rostrevor’s only contribution in the opening quarter as Stephen Poacher’s men ran riot. Joseph Murphy’s free levelled proceedings before the opening goal arrived in the 12th minute to set the pace. Tiarnan Rushe was the scorer; capitalising on a forced turnover in the attacking third to race clear with the ball at his feet before calmly slotting past Jonathan Parr to the left corner. That moment really provided the spark for Ballyholland to take control with Rushe being denied a second goal by Parr almost instantly before Paul and Joseph Murphy widened the gap with a quick brace of scores by the end of the first quarter.
Rushe’s free extended the lead to six points, as a visibly more driven Harps side started to move through the gears. Conor Fegan replied with a free of his own for the labouring Reds, but they were never settled into a rhythm long enough to trouble Ballyholland in the first thirty minutes. As a result, Ballyholland were able to extend the advantage to seven with their robust play fashioning another two points from play; Joseph Murphy’s effort particularly eye catching. Conor Magee sent over Rostrevor’s first point from play after 25 long minutes, but it was to get much worse before it got better for the Reds. Tiarnan Rushe’s movement and link play was making him a constant menace around the 45-yard line, but he picked the right moment to move further forward to devastating effect; forcing in his second goal in the 27th minute. Ronan Murtagh played a key role, with his teasing ball meeting the fist of Rushe before looping into the net; despite the best efforts of Christopher Magee and Jonathan Parr. Damian Magee pointed from the left side for Rostrevor approaching the half-time whistle to narrow the gap, but an eight point deficit would prove difficult to recover from in the second half.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-04 – 2-06 BALLYHOLLAND HARPS
Something needed to happen for Rostrevor to change the momentum in the contest and perhaps in the final analysis, some may find sympathy for the Reds in the manner in which their gallant comeback ran out of time. Ballyholland were maybe partially to blame for their near collapse in the second half, as they reverted to an ultra-defensive model midway through the half and lacked effectiveness in their attempts; instead inviting pressure. The introductions of Caolan Mooney and John Fegan added some much needed strength in the battle for midfield with increased possession and greater efficiency on breaking and dropping balls; with Conor Mackin’s arrival helping in that regard, finally allowing for Rostrevor to garner some form. Conor Doyle also saw much more of the ball and he traded scores with Tony Havern in the early stages of the half, before the Reds finally took over against the retreating Harps. Shaun Parr arrowed over from range with Christopher Magee’s central effort and a Doyle punch closing the gap to five points entering the final quarter; 2-07 to 0-08.
Rostrevor were now playing all of the football; in stark contrast to the opening 40 minutes, and Stefan White’s opening game at the helm was starting to show signs of turning in his favour, but the tempestuous nature of a rather disjointed second period stemmed the flow on occasion. Conor Fegan sent over another well-taken free before Shaun Parr found himself in a pocket of space in the 52nd minute to surge through on goal; however his attempt was crucially parried by Colm Keenan. That was a big moment, as the deficit would have been cut to a single point with all of eight minutes left. Conor Fegan’s next free did bring Rostrevor to within three points in the 54th minute, but a fantastic point from Rushe provided respite for the Harps and kept the Reds at bay. Conor Doyle and Niall Mulvanney traded frees in 58th minute of play to leave the gap at four points before Rostrevor finally breached the Ballyholland defence in the final minute of normal time. Caolan Mooney’s powerful running had its part to play as the Down star manufactured his own space to drift a pass onto the hands of Conor Doyle on the edge of the square, who did well to maintain control of the dropping ball to wriggle free and tuck the ball into the net from seven yards. However, there was no time left to get an equaliser, as Ronan Barry’s final whistle arrived soon after condemning Rostrevor to a rare opening day defeat. Ballyholland’s attacking performance in the opening half probably merited the victory, but they were made to sweat and Rostrevor may well feel aggrieved not to have taken at least a point at the end of the contest. The Reds must now recover to face Burren on the road on Saturday evening; Ballyholland continue their campaign with a trip to Liatroim on Thursday night.
ROSTREVOR SENIOR FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW 2015
Changes will be a common theme over the next few months and the key to progress will depend; almost exclusively, on the ability to make the most of change or to survive it. Firstly, it is important to recognise the efforts and memorable moments within Gerard Colgan's four seasons as manager; including qualifying for the championship semi-final in 2011, league wins against Bryansford, Mayobridge, Burren and Castlewellan at Pettit Park and the dramatic high-scoring success against Clonduff in the 2012 championship, and the club wishes Gerard every success in his future and expresses many thanks for the dignity and professionalism that he brought to the role. Indeed, there were some difficult periods and disappointing outcomes, but that's the nature of sport. The arrival of Stefan White adds a freshness to the set-up and possible impetus for the players to make impressions and to snap out of the relative stagnation that has typified recent seasons. It's time to stand up and re-establish some form of presence in the grander scheme of things in Down football and that begins on Monday night when Ballyholland Harps visit Pettit Park for the opening game of the season.
Reshuffling the league set-up has been one of the main talking points during the off-season and now that the race for the top ten places (or eleven depending on whichever way you choose to look at it) is due to start, the time for talking is done. If we consider performances in the top-flight in the past two decades at least; including the ill-fated finish to the 2011 campaign, Rostrevor have consistently managed to finish in the top eleven. In fact, the outcome has generally exceeded that. So, is there anything to necessarily fear from the change? Last season's finish of 10th; whilst being reasonably underwhelming, would be enough to secure a place in a twelve team league next year, as would 2013's 11th placed finish; depending on the result of a promotion/relegation playoff, so the overall picture is a decent one. Seven home fixtures out of fifteen provides somewhat of a mini setback because home comforts tend to serve the Reds quite well compared to relatively sketchy away form. Perhaps, this is what makes the game against Ballyholland an extremely important one. Securing a victory against Steven Poacher's men would give Stefan White, his management team and his players, the perfect start to their season and provide a platform on which to build a successful campaign. One would imagine that seven wins would be enough to finish out of trouble in October and it is games such as those at home to teams that are likely to battle alongside the Reds that will be important in gaining those wins. Last season, Rostrevor's survival depended on results against those that finished below; with five out of six league wins coming against the teams placed 11th to 16th. Therefore, it may be these games that are important again. The task for Stefan and his Reds is to dictate their own destiny.
The championship has also been subject to a change with the qualifier format being reintroduced from 2012 and the guarantee of two games at least in the premier competition. RGU Downpatrick provide rather stern opposition for the Reds in the first round, with the most recent championship encounter between the two clubs coming four seasons ago, when Rostrevor claimed a three-point win to progress to the last eight en route to an eventual semi-final defeat against Burren. It's quite difficult to predict what may happen in the championship this season until the early form is determined, however, with the existence of a second chance in the early stages, the aim should be to qualify for a quarter-final in some way or another. Once there, anything can really happen but it does really depend on desire and having the motivation to do well. Much of that probably relies on league form and the overall feeling that is created in the camp throughout the season with performances and results.
Excitement is also in the air with the return of ex-Collingwood and current Down star Caolan Mooney sure to add much to the Rostrevor challenge this season and his presence back in the camp will provide optimism. It is fantastic to have him back in the squad. Rostrevor's attacking options appear very strong going into the year with Mooney joining the likes of Conor Doyle, Adrian Mackin, Shaun Parr, Conor and Jordan Fegan; as well as the potentials arrivals of Piaras Kane and others likely to add much in the attacking third. It is also worth adding that the Reds can also reap the benefits at midfield with Conor Magee being a vital member of what has become a number of possible pairings for the Reds in 2015. Defensively, Jonathan Parr's return strengthens the options between the posts along with Tony Fearon and Brendan O'Hare, with Darren McIlhenny, Liam Fegan, Christopher Magee and the experienced Jarlath Farrell among those likely to feature throughout the season.
Changes in personnel, changes in league structures, changes in championship formats and changes in approach all make for a very fresh and renewed outlook for 2015 and beyond. Rostrevor's place in the top flight post-2015 is likely to be secured on recent form and given the injection of new ways of thinking and of playing quality also, the hope would be that the club can and will finish in the top-half; provided that there is a serious desire to put Rostrevor's name closer to where it should be in relation to a general discussion of senior football within the county.
Best wishes to Stefan White, Aidan Murray, Brian Cole, Kevin McGrath, Liam Sloan, Raymond McNally and the entire panel of players that will take the field for Rostrevor's senior footballers in the coming season.
Ballyholland Harps (h)
Liatroim Fontenoys (a)
RGU Downpatrick (a)
Clann na Banna (h)
06/12/2014 U21BFC Final
SLUGGISH REDS LOSE OUT AT THE DEATH
ROSTREVOR 2-04 - 1-12 CARRYDUFF
Carryduff were the deserving winners at the end of Saturday night's curtain-raiser, yet needed to depend on a late unanswered scoring surge to see them to the title. Sean McGonigle's goal in the final minute of normal time was the decisive moment in a match that lacked intensity and appeared to pass time, if nothing else, but all that will not matter to the delighted North Down club who continue to gather momentum as a force in the county.
Rostrevor were slow to start and really laboured in the creation of chances at the top-end of the pitch with the injured Caolan Mooney's inclusion in the inside-line perhaps hampering their creativity further outfield. Indeed, it took ten minutes for the Reds to raise a white-flag through Conor Doyle's free, but Carryduff's better incision in attack had allowed them to make the early running prior to Doyle's score; James Guinness and Sean McGonigle grabbing points for the victors. Jack Brennan's high effort doubled the 'Duff's lead on 11 minutes; 0-3 to 0-1, but Rostrevor were able to seize the initiative in the 18th minute with Conor Doyle influential once more. Finding himself in acres of space, the impressive Doyle cut inside to feed the well-placed Lee Clerkin, who in turned palmed the ball high to the net. Caolan Mooney tucked an effort between the posts with Guinness and Clerkin trading scores,as Rostrevor maintained the advantage until the half time interval.
HALF TIME - ROSTREVOR 1-03 - 0-04 CARRYDUFF
Despite this first-half lead, Rostrevor never really pushed on and Carryduff were able to regain their control of the contest in the third quarter. James Guinness was their main outlet and he fired over two points either side of an effort from Ryan McKee to restore a one-point lead for the 'Duff. McKee added another in the 38th minute before Caolan Mooney's free narrowed the gap on 40 minutes. Connolly had all the space in the inside the Reds defence to help his side back into a two-point advantage five minutes later, but they would have to fight hard to the finish, as Rostrevor found a second goal with ten minutes remaining.
Piaras Kane was the scorer with quite literally his first touch, toe-poking Caolan Mooney's low shot to the net, after persistent running from the ex-AFL player. However, the Reds never seemed likely to win the match and Carryduff finished with 1-3 without reply to finally take the title. Sean McGonigle equalised with a well-taken free with Guinness doing likewise to give his side the lead in the 58th minute. All notions of a Rostrevor victory were ended moments later with McGonigle slipping the ball under Aidan Magee to open up a four-point lead. James Guinness would cap a man-of-the-match performance with his sixth point in stoppage time; which was lengthy due to a number of unfortunate injuries. Not quite the ending that Rostrevor had in mind for their on-field season, but it was always going to be difficult against a Carryduff side that housed Down players at minor and under-21 level.
12/09/2014 - ACPRFC FINAL
SECONDS SILENCE THE BRIDGE
ROSTREVOR 1-11 - 1-09 MAYOBRIDGE
The Seconds made a piece of history on Friday night as they became the first Rostrevor team to win the Premier Reserve Championship. Played in good conditions under lights at Pairc Esler the Reds got off to a flying start to race into a 5-1 lead with scores from Micheal Mackin (2), John Fegan, Colm Clerkin and Richie Reynolds. Rostrevor were well in control with Martin Grant bossing the middle and Joe Morgan picking up a lot of loose ball during the first ten minutes. The Bridge began to edge back into the game however and rattled off three unanswered scores before one of their main men Darren Mynes received a black card for a cynical challenge on the sideline. This didn’t seem to stop the Bridge however as despite some super defending from James Rice and Kevin McGrath, as well as a great save from Brendan O’Hare they managed to draw level soon after. Rostrevor responded with two scores of their own before the break and looked like they would go into half time in the lead, however with just seconds of the half remaining, Mayobridge full forward Conall Poland somehow wriggled through a raft of Rostrevor tackles and slotted the ball into the bottom corner. This was a sucker punch for the reds who found themselves a point down at 1-5 0-7 at the break.
The Reds came flying out of the traps again in the second half and levelled the game almost straight away with a score from Colm Clerkin. This was followed soon after by a great goal from the evergreen Dermot Mackin. Just like the semi-final his runs had been causing havoc all night, and just like the semi-final he finished this one off to put the reds three points in front. Rostrevor further stretched their lead to five points after a wonderful long range point from the impressive Conall Gordan, and an acrobatic effort from Colm Clerkin. The Bridge were finding it hard to cope with Rostrevor’s strong running game, with Brian Keenan and Joe Morgan to the fore, as well as endless running from Conall Gordan from corner back. Mayobridge did manage to pull two scores back either side of another Clerkin free before Brendan O’Hare received a black card with five minutes remaining. Minor Aidan Magee deputised in goal, acquitting himself very well in the nervy remaining minutes. The Bridge did manage to tag on another two scores but couldn’t find the goal they needed in injury time, despite launching several high balls towards the Rostrevor square. Shane Murney was a rock at fullback snuffing out a number of those Bridge attempts while Kevin McGrath as usual lead by example putting his body on the line and another old hand John Fegan distributing the ball well in throughout the game. In truth it was a great team effort from all involved and a very deserving win from the better team on the night.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare (BC), Conall Gordan (0-1) Shane Murney James Donaghy, James Rice Kevin McGrath Dermot Mackin (1-1), Martin Grant Declan Magee, Richie Reynolds (0-1) Brian Keenan Joe Morgan, John Fegan (0-2) Colm Clerkin (0-4) Micheal Mackin (0-2) Subs used: Aidan Magee (BC Replacement), Nick Murray, Gareth Caufield
29/08/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY FIFTEEN
REDS FINISH WITH A WHIMPER AS SAVAL SECURE SAFETY
SAVAL 1-12 – 1-06 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Saval retained their division one status with considerable ease; defeating an already-safe Rostrevor at Nan Sands Park in Friday evening’s final league match. Daniel Hughes’ first-half goal helped Darren Quinn’s men into a comfortable six-point interval lead with the remainder of the contest going largely according to plan as the Reds’ fight back fell short. Rostrevor will be ultimately satisfied with their position in the table, however, there has been no identifiable indication of real progress and that will bring a degree of discomfort in the close-season.
Rostrevor were the better side in the early moments of this contest and were able to forge into the early lead; firing over two of the opening three points. Despite this, Saval grew into their stride and kept the Reds scoreless for the remainder of the opening half. In what has been a trend in the past fortnight, the seasiders failed to score beyond an early brace and the concession of a goal didn’t help with Daniel Hughes getting onto the end of Kealan Rice’s pass to palm the ball into the net in the 10th minute.
Niall Madine was in superb form throughout the contest with his strength causing problems in the final third. He sent over two points by the 12th minute to extend the Saval lead; 1-3 to 0-2. Rostrevor struggled to take the chances that they were creating with Damian Magee firing wide after a quick free from Adrian Mackin; when he may have opted to take aim at the posts. Daniel McCarthy pointed in the 18th minute, as Saval continued to build their lead. Tomas Mulholland, Adrian Mackin and Conor Doyle were all off target in this period for the misfiring Reds. Another brace from Niall Madine pushed Saval into a seven-point lead approaching half-time with Tomas Mulholland narrowing that gap after fine play by Conor Doyle before the interval.
HALF TIME – SAVAL 1-06 – 0-03 ROSTREVOR
Anthony Donnan finished from Shaun Parr’s lay-off to close the gap to five before adding a free; giving the Reds hope. However, Saval’s response was quick with scores from Madine and McCarthy restoring the advantage by the 39th minute. Rostrevor were becoming more clinical in the second period though, and they forced in a goal on 41 minutes to provide a possible spark for a revival; Niall Farrell scrambling in after Adrian Mackin’s teasing ball. Both teams missed chances to grab the next score with frees going wide before Farrell sent over a point for Rostrevor to narrow the deficit to two points in the 50th minute. However, instead of pushing on and perhaps securing that important top-half finish, Rostrevor wilted in the final stages and Saval staged the grandstand finish.
Fergal McConville scored an excellent point with Madine sending the ball over via the crossbar, as Saval moved into that important four-point lead by the 52nd minute. The Reds were running out of steam and the hosts surged towards safety and, in the end, a very content position heading into their championship quarter-final with Longstone. Hughes and Madine tagged on late scores for Saval as they closed out their victory with a flourish, as Rostrevor finish their season for another year without ever really seeing it take off. Safety does bring a certain relief and optimism with it; both sides will be feeling that after this campaign.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Brendan O'Hare, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, James Donaghy, Shaun Parr, Declan Magee, Damian Magee (0-1), Tomas Mulholland, Conor Doyle (0-1), Niall Farrel, Brian Keenan, Anthony Donnan, Tony Fearon, Adrian Mackin.
DOWN PRFC SEMI FINAL REPLAY
SECONDS SECURE FINAL SPOT
ROSTREVOR 5-07 KILCOO 2-14
A gutsy late fightback from the reds was enough to see them 0ver the line against a good Kilcoo side in this semi final replay. Indeed the reds were 4 points behind with ten minutes left but managed to claw their way back into the game not for the first time. The game began much the same way as the first match with Kilcoo quickest out of the blocks racing into a 7 point lead without reply in the first ten minutes 1-4 to no score. The reds couldn't stem the flow of the opposition attacks and were struggling to get to grips with the long ball in to Kilcoo's nippy front men. However two goals in the next five minutes from the boot of Dermot Mackin put the reds right back in the game. Mackin driving up the field from half back exchanged passes with brother Micheal to rattle in the first, quickly followed by a great flowing move involving the mercurial Piaras Kane who offloaded to Reynolds who in turn sent Mackin through on goal, still with a lot to do however he slipped it into the bottom corner. A free from Colm Clerkin leveled the proceeding and scores from Richie Reynolds and Piaras Kane put the reds in front. Rostrevor were well on top at this stage another flowing move involving Kane, Mackin and the impressive Joe Morgan ended with Kane rattling the net to increase the lead. Kilcoo managed two further points before the break but the running of Brian Keenan, Joe Morgan and Dermot Mackin was causing havoc. Unfortunately Rostrevor lost their main man Kane to another bad hamstring injury before half time which was a big blow. HT 3-03 1-06
John Fegan was introduced for Kane and added a different dimension to the reds game with his strong running and ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play. Indeed it was an exchange of passes between Reynolds and Fegan which resulted in the former getting the Reds opening score of the second half. Kilcoo began to come into the game again, breaking out several times to land six consecutive scores. With Kilcoo on top and two points in front it looked ominous for the reds with only a long range Fegan free added to the scoreboard ten minutes into the half. Another Kilcoo goal midway through the half further stretched their lead. Four points down Conal Gordan blazed over for Rostrevor who looked dead and gone at this stage. However after good work from Fegan to set up Reynolds for goal his shot was blocked and fell to Gordan who made no mistake and slammed the ball home to level the tie. This initiated a frantic last 8 minutes with Kilcoo twice being denied goals after great blocks from Dermot Mackin and Brendy O'Hare in the Rostrevor net. With five minutes left Brian Keenan latched onto a long ball in and as he tried to get his shot away was dragged to the ground with the referee signalling a penalty. Richie Reynolds slammed the ball home to put Rostrevor in the lead once again and set up a nail biting last few minutes. Kilcoo were driving forward again but managed just two more scores either side of a Dermot Mackin point with Rostrevor holding on to win by two points and advance to the final! A superb all round performance from young and old alike. Conal Gordan was excellent in defence (and attack!), with golden oldie Dermot Mackin influential, as well as Joe Morgan and Brian Keenan. John Fegan held the ball up well and his experience proved vital in the second half. A special mention to Piaras Kane who hauled the reds back into the game before going off injured in the first half.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Conal Gordan (1-1) Caolan Magee James Donaghy, James Rice Shane Murney Dermot Mackin (2-1), Nick Mills, Martin Grant, Richie Reynolds (1-2) Brian Keenan Joe Morgan, Piaras Kane (1-1) Colm Clerkin (0-1) Micheal Mackin. Subs: John Fegan (0-1)
DOWN SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GROUP A - MATCHDAY THREE
BRIDGE BLITZ DISAPPOINTING REDS
MAYOBRIDGE 1-15 – 0-06 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Mayobridge cruised through to the quarter-finals of the championship with a comfortable victory against a lethargic Rostrevor at Pairc Esler on Friday evening. The Bridge will be pleased to have negotiated the remainder of the group after their opening defeat at the hands of Kilcoo; with the considerable ease with which they have done, providing an indication of the quality they will bring to the knock-out stages. Yes, the Reds were ponderous and laborious in moving the ball throughout the contest, but this was a good Mayobridge display despite the fact that there was never really a need to move out of second gear.
The Bridge forced their way into control inside the opening five minutes with three rapid unanswered scores. Caolan Gallagher was clinical in the front six for the victors and he fired over two of those points either side of a Ryan Brady effort. Rostrevor, in a similar manner to their initial response against Kilcoo, replied to narrow the gap with a well-taken effort from Conor Doyle and a free from Adrian Mackin. However, the remainder of the half also had a miserably familiar feeling to it for the Reds with score after score from Mayobridge ending any hopes of progression before half-time.
Kevin O’Rourke angled over a good point for Mayobridge before Rostrevor lost the important Christopher Magee to injury; adding further to their task. Conleth O’Hare’s strong run resulted in a fifth Mayobridge point on 12 minutes with a brace of scores from the impressive Gallagher leaving Mayobridge in a comfortable position; leading 0-7 to 0-2 with ten minutes remaining in the first half. Rostrevor had their chances in the opening half, and were able to cause some moments of panic in the Bridge rearguard with Shealan Strain being forced into possession on occasions, but he was always assured and it was difficult for the Reds to break through. Miceal Lively and Conor Gribben were able to put together points between lengthy periods of stalemate as the interval drew near, and while those periods had been generous to Rostrevor in a territorial sense; their finishing product was non-existent. Ryan Brady dealt the devastating blow to the Reds prior the break with his sharpness allowing him to ghost onto a loose breaking ball to slam to the net in the 29th minute. Conleth O’Hare ensured an eleven-point advantage at the interval; indeed, the same tally that Rostrevor faced during the Kilcoo intermission in the previous game. Mayobridge were bossing it.
HALF TIME - MAYOBRIDGE 1-10 - 0-02 ROSTREVOR
Rostrevor were able to mount a short comeback on the restart and it did momentarily provide some hope amongst the despair for their support, as four unanswered points in seven minutes brought them into a more manageable, if largely unlikely position from which to trouble the Bridge lead. Adrian Mackin fired over on two occasions with Shaun Parr and Conor Doyle also on target. Indeed, those three players were the only Reds scorers in their final two games of this year’s championship. The momentary respite was eventually overpowered by Mayobridge and they were composed enough to see out the win without any difficulty from that point. Brendan Coulter was often the springboard for Mayobridge’s attacking play alongside Conor Garvey, and it was the former all-star that stopped Rostrevor’s revival in the 38th minute. Goals were really needed to effectively close the gap, but Jordan Fegan and Conor Doyle; despite going close, could not breach Strain in the Bridge goals. Caolan Gallagher (2), Ryan Brady and Adrian Barry were all scorers for Mayobridge in the final stages, as the match crawled towards its finish. The Bridge now await the draw for the quarter-finals with Rostrevor looking to their final league game in Saval with the hope of possibly helping their championship prospects with a credible top-8 finish, but there would be a few requirements needed to ensure that eventuality; including a rare away win. Mayobridge’s season may only be beginning.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Martin Cole, Niall Farrell, Christopher Magee, Damian Magee, Tomas Mulholland, Sean Cooper, Shaun Parr (0-1), Conor Fegan, Anthony Donnan, Conor Doyle (0-2 1f), Adrian Mackin (0-3 2f). Subs used; Colm Murney, Jordan Fegan and Conor Magee.
DOWN SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GROUP A - MATCHDAY TWO
HOLDERS PROGRESS WITH GAME TO SPARE
KILCOO 2-12 – 0-07 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Jerome Johnston was in superb first-half form, as Kilcoo surged past Rostrevor at Pairc Esler to book their place in the quarter finals of the championship. Johnston sent two goals past Tony Fearon in the opening fifteen minutes to knock the heart out of a spirited Reds performance and to set up a comfortable victory for the Magpies. Kilcoo will now be certainties to top the group with Rostrevor gearing up for a knockout clash with Mayobridge on Friday evening with the winner progressing alongside Jim McCorry’s men.
Kilcoo’s victory over Mayobridge in the first round of fixtures put them in the driving seat in the group and they set about their task in formidable fashion with two scores in the opening three minutes. Conor Laverty fired over from the opening attack before Jerome Johnston opened his account with a good score. Rostrevor’s response was initially very good and, despite playing into a strong breeze, they were able to level the scores by the 10th minute; Conor Doyle and Shaun Parr finding the target.
However, the match was decisively forced in Kilcoo’s favour with two quick-fire goals from Johnston by the end of the opening quarter. Both goals were taken with a dead-eye ruthlessness as the Magpies bludgeoned through the Reds defence to give the marksman the chance to send the ball across Tony Fearon to the corner of the net; both goals in similar fashion. From there, Kilcoo were rampant in the first-half with Rostrevor wides being punished by scores from James McClean, Paul Devlin and the strong running Ryan Johnston, as the Magpies carried an eleven point lead into the break.
HALF TIME – KILCOO 2-07 – 0-02 ROSTREVOR
In the second half, Rostrevor were able to quell Kilcoo with increased effectiveness and will be satisfied that no further goals were conceded, and indeed that the final scoreline perhaps gave a fairer indication of their battling qualities throughout the contest. Gerard McEvoy and Shaun Parr swapped early scores in the second half with a brace of frees from Darragh O’Hanlon adding to the Kilcoo lead. Rostrevor would rally though, and an improvement in physicality in the final quarter brought some success with it, as too often in the earlier stages, the Reds may have been accused of respecting the county champions.
Adrian Mackin fired over a free before Shaun Parr closed the gap further with a good point in the 45th minute. Tony Fearon made a good save to deny Ryan Johnston from crashing in an effort from range, at the expense of a point, before two points from Mackin brought the deficit back to ten points entering the final ten minutes. Despite Rostrevor’s failure to lie down in the second half, for which they should be granted some credit, they could never really effect Kilcoo’s overall dominance and Paul Devlin’s late free completed a professional night’s work for the reigning champions, as they march on. All eyes in this group will now turn to Friday night and the winner-takes-all encounter between Rostrevor and Mayobridge for the second-place. The Bridge will be fancied to join Kilcoo in the quarter-finals, but certainly Rostrevor have it in them to upset the applecart; and there tends to be one big season-defining performance in Gerard Colgan’s Reds. It is a big ask though.
ROSTREVOR SCORERS; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Martin Cole, Gairiad Clarke, Christopher Magee, Damian Magee, Tomas Mulholland, Conor Doyle (0-1), Shaun Parr (0-3), Conor Fegan, Sean Cooper, Anthony Donnan, Adrian Mackin (0-3 1f). Subs used; Niall Farrell and Jordan Fegan.
10/08/2014 - PRFC SEMI FINAL
REDS AND 'PIES WILL GO AGAIN
ROSTREVOR 2-08 - 0-14 KILCOO
A super second half comeback from the Seconds ensured a replay will be needed to decide who will advance to the final. In the first half Kilcoo, playing with the wind, dominated the game with the reds kicking possession away on several occasions. The Magpies raced into a three point lead and were picking up all the breaking ball around the middle enabling them to set up a barrage of attacks on the Rostrevor defence. Dermot Mackin and Anthony Donnan were on the scoresheet for the reds to bring it a bit closer, but a lack of urgency and poor handling in dreadful conditions was letting the team down. Kilcoo tagged on a few long distance frees however even with Brian Keenan and Miceal Mackin responding, it still left seven points between the sides at the break, 0-11 to 0-4. The Second half began in much the same vein and it got worse for the reds when Captain Kevin McGrath was very harshly red carded for what the referee saw as 'dangerous play'. Rather than drop the heads, the reds battled on and managed to claw themselves back into the game. Piaras Kane was causing havoc up front, with Miceal Mackin battling as hard as ever. It was the latter who got the first goal after good work by the former to set him up. A sideline by Donnan followed, as the reds slowly closed the gap. Kilcoo added a free and then had a point blank one on one saved by Red's keeper Brendy O'Hare. Indeed the defence was to the rescue again as Dermot Mackin cleared what looked like a certain goal off the line. The second goal came from another sideline ball, this time Donnan dropped it shorter and Nick Mills got his fist to the ball which guided it into the bottom corner. Further scores from Kane and Mackin drew the game level, with Kilcoo edging ahead with a few minutes left. Rostrevor then had O'Hare to thank again as he tipped another one on one strike on to the post and collected the rebounding ball. There was one last push in the red's side however as Miceal Mackin floated the ball over from 30 yards out under immense pressure to draw the game.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Conall Gordan Shane Murney James Donaghy, James Rice Kevin McGrath Dermot Mackin (0-1), Nick Mills (1-0) Martin Grant, Brian Keenan (0-1) Declan Magee Joe Morgan, Piaras Kane (0-1), Anthony Donnan (0-2), Micheal Mackin (1-3)
08/08/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY FOURTEEN
GAME OVER FOR LISH AS REDS SEAL SURVIVAL
TULLYLISH 0-11 – 0-15 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
The trapdoor opened on Tullylish’s return to the top flight, as Friday’s defeat against Rostrevor at a sunny Pairc na nÓg consigned them to relegation; whilst ensuring the Reds’ survival with a game to spare. Throughout this season, Francie Poland’s men have always been competitive and it proved to be the case again in Lawrencetown with Rostrevor needing a final-quarter burst to shake off the hosts. The importance of the result from a Rostrevor perspective cannot be understated, as having the luxury of being able to focus on the championship fortnight without the possibility of being drawn into the relegation picture at the end of the month.
Following the last-gasp championship victory over Tullylish in June, the Reds were under no illusions as to the task that would greet them and it became evident that it was going to be as uncomfortable as that night in Burren. It was Tullylish that had the opening chance of the contest immediately after the throw-in with John McAreavey firing wide of the post when charging through on goal. Rostrevor’s response eventually arrived in the seventh minute with Conor Doyle finding the target from a free. Anthony Donnan turned well to double the lead moments later, but the ‘Lish were on terms by the 10th minute of play. Seamus O’Hare was able to race through to score a point with Joe McDermot firing over from the centre. However, an in-form Anthony Donnan sent over two points of the highest quality to restore the advantage, as Gareth Johnston’s reply ensuried that Rostrevor had a single point lead at the end of the first quarter; 0-04 to 0-03.
The pattern of the first half was to continue with both sides cancelling each other out to enter the interval on a level footing. Adrian Mackin got on the end of a flowing move to extend the Rostrevor lead with Fionntan O’Dowd closing the gap within moments. Mackin was starting to find his form and continued on a self-scoring spree with Rostrevor’s next three points; two of those coming from the placed ball, with scores from John McAreavey and Kevin McCartan keeping Tullylish in touch. Those scores proved important in allowing the Lawrencetown men to equalise before half-time with back-to-back points; Kevin McCartan tucking over his second point from play and McAreavey sending over a free in the third minute of stoppage time to tie the scores at eight points each.
HALF TIME – TULLYLISH 0-08 – 0-08 ROSTREVOR
Niall Donnelly surged forward to give Tullylish the lead on the restart with a superb point with Anthony Donnan ending seven subsequent minutes of stalemate to level the scores in the 38th minute with a left-footed free. Both sides were labouring at this point with their respective aims from the contest possibly playing a role in forcing errors to creep into their play, as the third quarter was; predominantly, a period of lockdown. Brian Keenan and John McAreavey traded points in this spell with neither team seeming capable of securing dominance; particularly with a tiring Tullylish claiming the majority of possession at midfield only to run into difficulty in the final third. In that regard, it did seem that Rostrevor were the fresher side and that would eventually tell, as Tullylish’s grip on the first division finally loosened.
Tomás Mulholland put Rostrevor in front in the 48th minute with an Adrian Mackin free and a hooked point by Conor Magee placing the Reds into a three-point lead for the first time. It became evident that Rostrevor were not going to lose this game unless Tullylish could fashion a goal from somewhere and they did try with the introduction of Patrick McKiverigan granting them a viable target-man, but the delivery needed to be perfect and the Reds’ defence coped without any major difficulties. Conor Fegan’s tremendous placed ball from the 45-yard line pushed Tullylish further back with John McAreavey’s late point being cancelled out by another super effort from Adrian Mackin in the closing seconds, as Rostrevor celebrated securing their place at the top table for another year. For Tullylish, their final game against Longstone will be their last of this stay in the first division, as they make the step down to what could prove to be a reasonably unpredictable second tier in 2015.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Martin Cole, Gairiad Clarke, Martin Grant, Conor Magee (0-1), Tomás Mulholland (0-1), Conor Doyle (0-1f), Shaun Parr, Conor Fegan (0-1 45'), Brian Keenan (0-1), Anthony Donnan (0-4 1f), Adrian Mackin (0-6 4f). Sub used; Kevin McGrath.
03/08/2014 - ACPRL DIVISON ONE
SUPER SECOND'S SECOND HALF
BRYANSFORD 0-14 - 2-11 ROSTREVOR
A spirited second half performance was enough to see the Seconds over the line and continue their good form before next week's championship semi final. The reds had struggled to get to grips with the game in the first half and only for the running game of the younger players and a few frees they would have been well behind at the break. Bryansford were well on top in the opening 15 mins and had gone into a 4 point lead, however Piaras Kane, Sean Cooper and Miceal Mackin were to the fore in the first 30 minutes for the reds - a well worked goal involving the players mentioned was finished off by Mackin as he palmed the ball past the keeper from close range after a pass from Cooper. Piaras Kane was showing well in the full forward line and knocked over a couple of points himself as the reds clawed their way back into the game. A long range free followed by a couple more from Richie Reynolds before he hobbled off left the sides level at the break 0-8 - 1-5. In the second half Rostrevor began much the same as they left off with Bryansford having the upper hand, however arguably the turning point of the match was when Bryansford were awarded a penalty early in the second half which was expertly saved by Brendy O'Hare and seemed to give the whole team a lift. Rostrevor began to dominate more around the middle and were breaking up the field at pace with Joe Morgan, Miceal and Dermot Mackin all carrying the ball well. Rostrevor won a penalty of their own midway through the half after Brian Keenan was fouled, which was dispatched by Miceal Mackin. Further scores from Miceal and Dermot Mackin as well as the impressive Piaras Kane put the reds in control of the game and they pulled away towards the end. Bryansford were always a threat going forward but the Rostrevor defence led by Kevin McGrath and Gairiad Clarke stood strong to see the game out. There were also great performances from James Donaghy and Liam Fegan as well as the other younger players mentioned previously.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Kevin McGrath, Liam Fegan, James Donaghy, Declan Magee, Gairiad Clarke, Dermot Mackin (0-1), Martin Cole, Martin Grant, Richie Reynolds (0-3), Sean Cooper (0-1), Joe Morgan (0-1), Piaras Kane (0-3), Tomas Mullholland, Miceal Mackin (2-2) Subs: Brian Keenan and James Rice
01/08/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY THIRTEEN
HOOPS EASE PAST REDS
ROSTREVOR 0-07 – 1-09 RGU DOWNPATRICK
By Kieran McNally
Michael Magee tapped in a late goal, as RGU Downpatrick strolled to a deserved success in Rostrevor on Friday night. The Hoops were full value for their win with their hosts demanding vast improvement in their two closing league games to ensure that they are comfortably placed at the end of the season. Performances in the approaching championship matches would most certainly be helped by league safety being in the bag prior to them; and the trip to the sinking Tullylish on Friday evening will be Rostrevor’s chance to achieve this. However, an infectious work-rate and an undying willingness to fight for the cause will dictate that the ‘Lish provide an obstinate challenge despite their woes. Downpatrick’s season has been largely successful, on the other hand, although it will take an almighty effort to save their championship.
The opening half in this contest was an extremely drab spectacle with defences reigning supreme on a damp evening. Peter Telford’s opening minute free was well-taken, as was Shaun Parr’s excellent equalising score, but a plethora of missed chances and a failure to judge the underfoot conditions; among other things, meant that Michael Magee’s free on 9 minutes only had two more points attached to it before the interval. Those were both scored by Sean Bell for RGU, as they carried a three-point lead into the break against a Rostrevor side that could only register one point in the first half for the second consecutive fixture.
However, as stated it was the errors in the first half that provided much of the talking points with both sides being guilty of poor wides from infinitely scorable efforts and poor foot-passing crippling a number of positive attacking plays. It was an evening in which defences were to praise for the manner in which they forced mistakes with Damian Branniff and Conall McNabb for the visitors; and Rostrevor’s Liam Fegan and the consistent Jarlath Farrell among those to perform for their sides. The game did open up in the second half, despite this, and it was the Reds who seemed to be growing into the contest on the restart.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-01 – 0-04 RGU DOWNPATRICK
Shaun Parr brought Rostrevor’s second score with a fine effort with Damian Magee firing over to close the deficit to a single point by the 36th minute of play; 0-03 to 0-04. The Reds continued to improve and were level on 39 minutes with Conor Doyle striding onto Adrian Mackin’s break to snap over a point from the right wing. The Hoops were dominating the midfield section though, and their wealth of secondary possession allowed them to eventually regain the initiative. Michael Magee drilled over from the centre with frees from the same man and Conor McGrady reopening a three-point lead for Downpatrick by the end of the third quarter; 0-04 to 0-07.
Adrian Mackin had been suffering a largely uncomfortable night in the Reds attack, but he narrowed the gap with a free in the 49th minute before another burst by the more physical RGU conclusively took the game away from Rostrevor. The Hoops tagged on two further points before the game-clinching goal arrived in the 58th minute; Michael Magee rounding Tony Fearon to place the ball into the net. Rostrevor kicked the final two points of the match from Conor Fegan and Conor Doyle, but they were no more than consolation points, as RGU eased to their third consecutive league win.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Martin Cole, Gairiad Clarke, Declan Magee, Niall Farrell, Tomas Mulholland, Damian Magee (0-1), Shaun Parr (0-2), Conor Fegan (0-1), Jordan Fegan, Conor Doyle (0-2 1f), Adrian Mackin (0-1f). Subs used; Christopher Magee, Padraig McGrath and Anthony Donnan.
25/07/2014 - ACPRL DIVISION ONE
SECONDS KEEP UP TITLE CHASE
ROSTREVOR 5-13 - 2-06 CASTLEWELLAN
The Seconds put the previous evening's Senior defeat behind them to impressively beat Castlewellan and keep their league challenge very much alive on Friday night. Going into the match both teams sat on 14 points just behind leaders Kilcoo and Mayobridge, although the former having played three games more. An early goal from Castlewellan did not unnerve the young reds as they managed to rack up three well worked goals in the first half coming from the impressive Piaras Kane, Sean Cooper and a screamer from young pretender Kevin McGrath. The goals set the reds up for the rest of the game as they added several points in the first half from Miceal Mackin, Richie Reynolds, Liam Fegan and Shane Murney. The second half saw more of the same with two further goals added, once again both goals were cracking efforts and once again Piaras Kane was on the end of one, with Nick Mills smashing home the fifth. The second half also saw the introduction of Joe Morgan and James Rice as the younger (minor) players are slowly introduced to the Senior fold. A great all round performance from the reds which leaves them third in the table, one behind Mayobridge who have a game in hand (but still to play Rostrevor) and three behind Kilcoo with two games in hand.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Kevin McGrath (1-0) Shane Murney (0-1) Martin Grant, James Donaghy Gareth Clarke Dermot Mackin (0-1), Nick Mills (1-0) Liam Fegan (0-1), Richie Reynolds (0-6 1f) Sean Cooper (1-1) Caolan Magee, Miceal Mackin (0-3 1f) Tomas Mullholland Piaras Kane (2-0) SUBS: Joe Morgan, James Rice
24/07/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY TWELVE
SHORTY’S MEN ‘WELLAN CONTROL
CASTLEWELLAN 1-12 – 1-08 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Castlewellan strengthened their grip on third place with a deserved victory over Rostrevor in Thursday night’s league encounter at St. Malachy’s Park. The Town were in general control of the scoreboard for the majority of the contest with their visitors making their job rather easy with wayward shooting and indecision in the first half limiting their chances of success. Despite the final scoreline painting a rather close game, Castlewellan were maybe more than worthy of a four-point win with a late run of scores from Rostrevor taking some of the shine of the Town’s success.
On the balance of play, this match had the potential to be a high-scoring thriller, but there was only one team showing any ability to take scores and that was the hosts. Both sides enjoyed much possession inside the final third, but wastefulness cost Rostrevor dear as they had played themselves out of the contest by half-time. Castlewellan were not perfect either in that regard with Liam McKibbin’s miss in the opening minute being a sign of things to come. The Town took seven minutes to find the target; going on to register the first three points of the evening from Damien McGrady, Luke Toner and Fintan McGreevy. Rostrevor’s sole response in the opening half came from Conor Doyle’s 15th minute free, as their lack of cutting edge thwarted them throughout that period.
Castlewellan, on the other hand, were able to convert more of their chances to accumulate a comfortable interval lead. Liam McKibbin fired over a fine effort with McGrady grabbing his second score in the 21st minute after the ball broke to him on the 21 yard line. Matthew Stratton and Damien McGrady sent over scores either side of a free from Fintan McGreevy to open up a seven-point lead, as Rostrevor struggled to take advantage of a number of forays into the Castlewellan rearguard; failing to close the deficit sufficiently to complement their stronger second half display.
HALF TIME – CASTLEWELLAN 0-08 – 0-01 ROSTREVOR
Conor Doyle pointed from the dead ball within a minute of the restart with Fintan McGreevy cancelling that effort out with a similar score. Conor Fegan and David Gilmore; tremendously, traded points with Fegan’s second free leaving the scores at 0-10 to 0-4 in favour of Castlwellan on 41 minutes. Paddy Boyle drilled over from close range to extend the Town advantage once more, before Damien McGrady finished Cahal Crilly’s lay-off to the net after a swift move through the Reds defence. That score put the debate to rest, as Castlewellan eased to the points despite a late Rostrevor resurgence.
Shaun Parr fired over the Reds’ first point from play in the 50th minute with a snapshot from Conor Doyle finding the target moments later. Doyle put seven points between the sides on 53 minutes with this third point of the evening with Cahal Crilly responding for a Castlewellan side that were seeing out their win in second gear. Conor Fegan fired over from play with his shot leading to a consolation goal as the clock winded down to sixty minutes. Tomas Mulholland appeared to get on the end of Fegan’s delivery to divert the ball into the corner of the net for the final score of the game, but his presence alone may have caused for the ball to find its own way. Either way, Rostrevor were at a four-point deficit at the full-time whistle; which given the situation at the end of the third quarter, may not be as damaging as earlier thought. The visit of RGU Downpatrick will represent the next chance for Rostrevor to all but seal their first division status, with Castlewellan’s trip to Tullylish providing them with a big opportunity to close in on the play-off.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Martin Cole, Gairiad Clarke, Declan Magee, Conor Magee, Tomas Mulholland (1-0), Brian Keenan, Shaun Parr (0-1), Conor Fegan (0-3 2f), Sean Cooper, Conor Doyle (0-4 3f), Richard Reynolds. Subs used; Damian Magee and Shane Murney.
20/07/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY ELEVEN
REDS PLUCK HARPS WITH FINAL CRESCENDO
ROSTREVOR 1-14 – 0-11 BALLYHOLLAND HARPS
By Kieran McNally
Rostrevor delivered in the closing stages to deal Ballyholland another disappointing defeat in their bid for survival at Pettit Park on Sunday afternoon. The onset of the Fiddlers’ Green Festival in the village could not detract from the importance of this contest for both sides with league points being urgently required to settle nerves. As it transpired, 1-4 without reply; in the final ten minutes, from the hosts dictated that Ballyholland would be bereft of festive spirit at the end of an engaging hour. The result leaves Rostrevor within a victory; one would imagine, of securing their top flight status for 2015, with Ballyholland’s games in hand becoming more important with every passing week.
Rostrevor’s recent slip from the top half of the table had brought some mild concern with it, but they performed admirably after soaking up some incredible second-half pressure from Steven Poacher’s men. Conor Fegan put the Reds in front with his first score in an impressive performance, but the talented Tiarnan Rushe and a free from Patrick Quinn had Ballyholland ahead by the sixth minute. Rostrevor were on top in the opening stages for the most part, however, and were able to overturn the deficit quickly with points from Adrian Mackin, Damian Magee and Conor Fegan opening up a two-point advantage and defying the defensive acumen for which Ballyholland are renowned. Joseph Murphy fired over from the left side to narrow the deficit, but the Reds continued to dominate events on the field.
Conor Fegan raced onto Adrian Mackin’s break to shoot over from close range with the pacy winger involved again, as Conor Doyle skied an effort between the posts when well placed in the 22nd minute. Ballyholland can become a very difficult preposition when they are in front, so it could be taken as little surprise that the Reds were intent on imposing themselves on the scoreboard in the first half. Adrian Mackin extended the lead to four points in the 28th minute, but the visitors managed to grab the final two scores of the half with Patrick Quinn firing over a great point and Tiarnan Rushe fisting between the posts after Kieran Murphy’s 45’ dropped into the packed goalmouth in the final minute.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-07 – 0-05 BALLYHOLLAND
Despite having the majority of the attacking play in the opening half, Rostrevor were not necessarily in a safe position in the match, as the danger of a scoring burst from the capable Ballyholland forwards was very evident. So much so that the scores were level inside two minutes of the restart with Patrick Quinn on target from the dead ball before a superb individual effort from Tiarnan Rushe tied the game. Shaun Parr provided an immediate response for the Reds with a typically piercing left-footed drive from Conor Doyle restoring the two-point lead for the hosts on 35 minutes. Patrick Quinn and Conor Doyle traded scores before the match; simmering to this point, boiled over. Quinn brought his side back to within one point before the relatively quiet Ronan Murtagh provided a glimpse of his class to break clear from Darren McIlhenny and race through from the right wing to earn the Harps a 41st minute penalty. This was a definitive moment at an important stage of the match, and it was Brendan O’Hare who emerged the hero; diving to his left to divert Rushe’s penalty wide of the post. In the final analysis; that save was massive. Kieran Murphy equalised from the resulting ’45 yard free, before Ronan Murtagh capitalised on a misplaced kick-out to send Ballyholland into a 49th minute lead; 0-11 to 0-10.
In all truth, it was little more than what they deserved at that point as they had been probing in the second half; enjoying lengthy spells of patient possession against a stubborn and generally disciplined Reds defence. That would have been the consensus had the game finished at that point, however, the hosts buried that suggestion in the closing stages; blitzing Ballyholland in superb fashion to claim the points. Conor Doyle’s free equalised for Rostrevor on 50 minutes with Damian Magee turning to convert a sweet score from the left side three minutes later to put Rostrevor in front. Liam Fegan found himself in an advanced position to tuck over a point before Conor Magee slammed an effort between the posts from the centre to open up a late three-point advantage for the visibly fresher Reds; displaying the fine work being done by Martin McAleenan in that regard. The Reds’ supporters would have been contented with the result as it stood, but Conor Magee had other ideas; putting the finishing gloss on the victory. Minor player Piaras Kane claimed the assist, as his attempted shot dropped short with Magee’s fist beating that of Kieran Murphy and sending the ball to the corner of the net. It is of the highest importance that close encounters swing in your favour in this division and Rostrevor can be pleased that; once again, they found the late scores to seal the points. Ballyholland’s road to safety has just become that bit rockier.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Brendan O’Hare, Liam Fegan (0-1), Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Christopher Magee, Gairiad Clarke, Declan Magee, Conor Magee (1-1), Tomas Mulholland, Damian Magee (0-2), Shaun Parr (0-1), Conor Fegan (0-3), Jordan Fegan, Conor Doyle (0-4 2f), Adrian Mackin (0-2 1f). Subs used; Piaras Kane and Sean Cooper.
02/07/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY TEN
MCARDLE GOAL TIPS THE BALANCE FOR BURREN
BURREN 1-14 – 2-08 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Shay McArdle’s goal at the end of the third quarter proved ultimately decisive, as an understrength Burren side edged past Rostrevor in Wednesday evening’s league encounter at St. Mary’s Park. The Reds were left to rue poor decision-making and misdemeanours at vital times in a defeat that saw their chase for comfort in the first division suffer another slight dent; despite a fair degree of control. Indeed, Burren’s wealth of county experience has its pitfalls for the club in terms of maintaining league challenges but four straight wins will leave the club in high spirits entering the closing stages of the campaign.
Rostrevor were seemingly well on course to basically satisfy their urge for continued top-flight football for the following season in the opening quarter with two early goals in an impressive burst. Niall Farrell and Brian Grant traded scores before a mazy run from Jordan Fegan ended with the youngster driving the ball high to net in the third minute for an immediate advantage. A brace of Conall McGovern frees closed the gap to a single point by the 7th minute, but Rostrevor’s strong start continued with their second goal coming after 11 minutes. Adrian Mackin was the scorer; latching on to a piercing drive from Martin Cole to turn inside and slam a deflected drive to the net. Conor Magee scored a good point to extend Rostrevor’s lead in the 15th minute.
However, despite a continued approach to their running game with Jordan and Conor Fegan both prominent; Rostrevor failed to register another point in the opening half. It was a slow recovery from the Burren men with the sides going in to the interval on level terms with five unanswered points from the hosts in the second quarter. McGovern notched his third free of the night with Eamon Toner pointing from close range before fisting an effort wide when well positioned, as Burren’s momentum gathered. Darragh Murdock sent over a fine point with Eamon Toner capitalising on a defensive lapse to bring the deficit down to one point. Conall McGovern’s free levelled the scores in first half injury-time.
HALF TIME – BURREN 0-08 – 2-02 ROSTREVOR
Shaun Parr sent over from the right side in the 33rd minute with a fisted effort from Cathal Foy equalising for the hosts once more. Parr responded with a similar effort before Foy replied with a second point signalling his growing influence in the middle third. Neither side were able to stamp their authority on a cagey third quarter, but it was Rostrevor that tagged on two scores in succession to take some initiative. Shaun Parr ‘s left footed and a persistent effort from Adrian Mackin gave the Reds a platform on which to build entering the final quarter, but that platform was rapidly taken apart.
Brendan McKernan found the target immediately with an excellent effort from the outside of his right boot before Shay McArdle did well to level the scores for the fifth time in the 46th minute. It was the next score from the dangerous corner-forward that did the real damage to Rostrevor moments later, as he judged the breaking ball superbly in the final third to slip an effort past Tony Fearon and into the net. It appeared quite unlucky for Rostrevor to find themselves in the position of being behind for the first time, as they had maintained a more assured performance than their counterparts and they did look like overturning the three-point deficit with Damian Magee and Adrian Mackin scoring from frees to narrow the gap to a single point, but petulance when in the ascendancy cost the Reds in the dying stages and points from the youthful pairing of Ryan Trainor and Brendan McKernan consigned Rostrevor to a sixth league reversal of the season.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Turlach Murphy, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Gairiad Clarke, Martin Cole, Declan Magee, Niall Farrell (0-1), Conor Magee (0-1), Damian Magee (0-1 f), Shaun Parr (0-3), Conor Fegan, Anthony Donnan (BC), Jordan Fegan (1-0), Adrian Mackin (1-2 1f). Subs used; Liam Fegan and Padraig McGrath (BC Replacement).
REDS SQUEEZE PAST LIATROIM
ROSTREVOR 3-13 - 3-11 LIATROIM
The seconds advanced to the last 16 of the championship with a hard earned victory over a stubborn Liatroim side in Pettit Park on Sunday. A very entertaining, high scoring game saw this mix of youthful an experienced reds take the decisive scores to put their name in the hat for the next round. The line up saw a return to action for Dermot Mackin, who lined out at half back and rolled back the years with darting runs up the field on several occasions (although they weren't so quick going the other way!). Minors Piaras Kane and James Donaghy also started the game and acquitted themselves very well once again. Goals in the first half from Kane and Anthony Donnan (pen) set the reds on their way as well as a couple of well taken points from Mackin and Colly Clerkin saw them lead 2-7 1-7 at the break. A Dermot Mackin goal just after half time seemingly put the game out of sight but Liatroim clawed themselves back into it with two more goals of their own as the sides traded point for point in the second half. The reds edged out 'the fonts' in the end however and will look forward to their last 16 match at the end of July.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Kevin McGrath, Liam Fegan, Gareth Caufield, James Donaghy, Aidan Clarke, Dermot Mackin, Shane Murney, Declan Magee, Brian Keenan, Colm Clerkin, Miceal Mackin, Sean Mackin, Anthony Donnan, Piaras Kane. Subs: James Rice
20/06/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY NINE
RUTHLESS GLENN STUN REDS
ROSTREVOR 1-08 – 2-12 GLENN
By Kieran McNally
Glenn produced an almost flawless second half performance to claim a richly deserved victory at Pettit Park on Friday night. The well-drilled visitors systematically tore Rostrevor to pieces in the closing stages and the manner of the Reds’ defeat to newly-promoted, if quite impressive, opposition is particularly worrying on home soil. This success for the John Martin side was largely down to the energy and the inconsistencies in their tempo that frustrated Rostrevor. Liam Bagnall’s engine throughout the park; allied with the finishing of Matthew Bagnall and Shay Millar in particular boosted the winners, but in truth it was an excellent team performance from a side proving their worth in the top flight.
The main issue from a Rostrevor perspective would have been costly errors at poor times leading to the concession of another two desperately poor goals despite the clinical manner in which the chances were taken. Anthony Donnan scored points either side of a Shay Millar effort with Adrian Mackin’s first of the evening pushing Rostrevor into a two-point lead by the 9th minute, but a defensive lapse moments later had Glenn in front. Matthew Bagnall was the beneficiary; gaining possession close to goal before slotting past Brendan O’Hare.
Shay Millar extended the lead in the 11th minute with Christopher Magee responding with a straight drive between the posts to leave the visitors in a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Glenn did a marvellous in nullifying Rostrevor; who seemed to miss the potent Conor Doyle in their attack, as they failed to make sufficient inroads over the hour. The remainder of the opening half belonged to both defences and whilst Glenn did step it up in the second half; they were having similar woes to Rostrevor in an attacking regard in that initial period. Raymond Quinn and Adrian Mackin traded scores before the interval, as the Reds laboured to catch Glenn; who carried the smallest of leads into the break.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-05 – 1-03 GLENN
An excellent score from Adrian Mackin levelled the contest in the 32nd minute with Ronan Millar and Mackin swapping rapid efforts in the 36th minute before the first of two blistering patches from Glenn put Rostrevor on the back-foot for the rest of the match. Matthew Bagnall sent over a trio of points in the space of three minutes to open up a lead of that margin before being involved once more in forcing home the side’s second and more decisive goal. Bagnall made shockingly simple progress inside from the right touchline to fist inside to the corner-back Conor Shields, whose scuffled effort was bundled into the corner of the net from five yards. Rostrevor needed something to similar to the effort that saw them squeeze past another promoted side in last week’s championship opener and whilst they made a strong start to doing just that; they tried to force the issue too much and ran out of ideas very quickly against their tenacious leaders.
Damian Magee’s free cut the margin to five points before Adrian Mackin got on the end of one of many punts into the Glenn defence to finish the ball to the back of John O’Hare’s net and really give his side hope with some twelve minutes remaining. However, further leakages and defensive sloppiness told the tale for the Reds. Shay Millar capitalised on a momentum-shifting error on the 40-yard line to point with three further scores putting the contest beyond doubt as Glenn romped clear with Raymond Quinn and the superb Matthew Bagnall among the scorers. Disappointing defeat for Rostrevor in the context of their season, but Glenn can continue with their high satisfaction at what is turning out to be an odds-defying return to the top flight.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Brendan O’Hare, Turlach Murphy, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Christopher Magee (0-1), Niall Farrell, Gairiad Clarke, Conor Magee, Damian Magee (0-1 f), Jordan Fegan, Shaun Parr, Conor Fegan, Anthony Donnan (0-2), Conor Mackin, Adrian Mackin (1-4 1f). Subs used; Martin Cole, Padraig McGrath and Brian Keenan.
DOWN SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GROUP A – MATCHDAY ONE
PARR LETS REDS OFF THE 'LISH
ROSTREVOR 1-12 – 2-08 TULLYLISH
By Kieran McNally
Shaun Parr was the right man in the right place, as he palmed a last-minute goal for Rostrevor to finally complete a stuttering comeback in a dramatic finish to their group opener with Tullylish at Burren on Thursday evening. Realistically, a loss to the group minnows would have largely sealed the Reds’ fate in Group A, and for most of the contest it looked as though the men from Lawrencetown were going to earn a famous win as Rostrevor failed to display the necessary hunger to match their opponents for long periods. However, the Reds fought back from six points down in the second half, as Tullylish retreated; inviting Rostrevor onto them and, whilst they arguably deserved a result due to the tenacity and fight they showed throughout, they didn’t do enough either side of their second half goals to really warrant anything.
The difference in the pre-match attitude of both panels was evident as the Tullylish panel stood impatiently waiting for the end of the intermediate curtain-raiser, as Rostrevor were only arriving in behind them and certainly, the alleged decision to warm-up at home before making the short trip did lead to a sluggish opening from the Reds. Despite that, they led twice in the opening ten minutes through fine points from Damian Magee and Jordan Fegan, either side of a Gareth Johnston free. The powerful Johnston was quite difficult to contain at times and he swung over a good point from the right side before arrowing an effort between the posts to place the underdogs in front by the end of the opening quarter; 0-3 to 0-2.
Rostrevor found their largest benefit in running through the centre of Tullylish, but they tended to be too lethargic in the opening half to achieve this on a consistent basis with Conor Magee’s equaliser in the 16th minute providing a rare moment of brilliance for the Reds in that regard. Tullylish, to their credit, were starting to gather momentum and bossed the remainder of the half, Niall Donnelly tapped over a point with Seamus O’Hare, Niall Toner and Fiontann O’Dowd tagging on further scores as Tullylish opened up an uncontested four-point lead by the 23rd minute. To compound the frustration, Rostrevor were missing chances at the other end with wayward efforts and loose passes denying scoring opportunities. Christopher Magee sent over an excellent point from range in the 27th minute to narrow the deficit, but the Reds were struggling when half-time arrived and it was just about to get worse on the restart.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-04 – 0-07 TULLYLISH
Tullylish claimed possession from the throw-in and made tracks up the fired immediately before earning a scorable free; however, the quick-thinking Johnston swiftly offloaded possession to John McKiverigan who played the ball across goal to Niall Donnelly who slammed in a low goal under Tony Fearon. Six points in front of the shell-shocked Reds, Tullylish were potentially on the cusp of a huge championship humbling of proud Rostrevor, but there was an elasticity dragging them back to into their defensive shell. Conor Doyle was having a hard time of it with Barry Priestly, but the star forward got his first point on 34 minutes with Shaun Parr and a further free from Doyle narrowing the gap to three points once more. Rostrevor were injected with a lease of life upon the introduction of Conor Fegan and he was involved, as Shaun Parr went close to finding the net with O’Hagan thwarting him. However, scores from Conor Magee and the brilliant Jordan Fegan brought the Reds to within a point by the end of the third quarter, as tensions started to boil over.
Gareth Johnston pointed on one of Tullylish’s rare second half attacks, but Rostrevor remained in the ascendancy with a high effort from Shaun Parr and a tremendous point from Conor Doyle bringing the sides level in the 52nd minute. From there, it would have been expected that Rostrevor would close the game out to the mercy of their sizeable support and when Adrian Mackin held his nerve to convert a 54th minute free, it seemed as though that was going to be the case, however, Tullylish hadn’t read the script. Amazingly, they went back into a two-point lead within seconds with John McKivergan latching onto the loose ball to drive to the net after Johnston had his initial effort parried by Fearon. Five minutes passed with Rostrevor attempting to point their way back to parity, but with efforts dropping wide; it all became a bit frantic and then came the telling moment in the final minute. Niall Donnelly advanced on the counter towards the Rostrevor posts and opted to go further than just tucking the ball over the crossbar before losing possession. The Reds regrouped and worked the ball wide to Jarlath Farrell who carried it untroubled towards the retreating ‘Lish defence before feeding inside to Shaun Parr who palmed the ball to the roof of the net via Aaron O’Hagan’s fingertips. It was despairing for a Tullylish side that had given everything, but so relieving for a Rostrevor team that must have felt that it was going to be one of those nights. They certainly couldn’t have asked for anyone other than Shaun Parr to be on the end of Jarlath Farrell’s pass, as they start their championship campaign with the most dramatic of wins.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Feraron, Gairiad Clarke, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Christopher Magee (0-1), Niall Farrell, Turlach Murphy, Conor Magee (0-2), Damian Magee (0-1), Jordan Fegan (0-2), Shaun Parr (1-2), Sean Cooper, Padraig McGrath, Conor Doyle (0-3 2f), Adrian Mackin (0-1 f). Subs used; Conor Mackin, Conor Fegan and Martin Cole.
07/06/2014 - PRFC PRELIMINARY ROUND
SECONDS LEAVE IT LATE
ROSTREVOR 1-12 AN RIOCHT 0-12
A freak own goal with one minute remaining proved to be the difference between the two sides at Pettit Park on Saturday evening. In this re fixed preliminary round match, the reds were down to the bare bones due to ineligibility and several injuries, but were still able to field a very strong team which really should have put the kingdom away much earlier - a side which included four players who has started the night previous against Mayobridge and two more who came off the bench. The first half was a tight affair, as was most of the game, with Nick Mills swinging over from distance, adding to earlier scores from Anthony Donnan and Colly Clerkin. An Riocht had chances themselves and managed 3 quick points to bring themselves back into the game leaving the score 0-7 each at half time. The second half continued in the same vein with both sides trading scores before a mass brawl ensued seemingly out of nothing - a player from each side was cautioned as a result. It turned fiesty from here on and one of the kingdom players received two yellow cards in the space of a few minutes, both for late challenges, reducing them to 14 men, much to the displeasure of his management. Despite this they kept in touch with the reds, but then tied at 0-11 each with one minute to go Sean Cooper found himself in space and looked to fist the ball over from an angle to put the reds in front - however his attempt struck an An Riocht defender and then hit their goalkeeper and somehow ended up in the top corner of the net much to the delight of Rostrevor players and supporters! The sides traded one more score each as Declan Magee sailed over his trademark majestic outside of the boot score from 65 yards to wrap up proceedings and set up a date with Liatroim in the first round in a few weeks.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Kevin McGrath, Niall Farrell, Gareth Caufield, Aidan Clarke, Declan Magee, Sean Cooper, Nick Mills, Paudie McGrath, Conor Mackin, Colm Clerkin, Brian Keenan, Jordan Fegan, Anthony Donnan, Miceal Mackin. Subs: Caolan Magee, Dermot Mackin
06/06/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY EIGHT
REDS PAY PENALTY FOR MISSED CHANCES
ROSTREVOR 1-09 – 1-13 MAYOBRIDGE
By Kieran McNally
Benny Coulter was in scintillating form as strong starts to each half saw Mayobridge claim a largely uncomfortable victory at Pettit Park on Friday evening. Rostrevor found themselves ruing two penalty misses in a contest in which they stood up to their visitors for long spells; their only performance complains being an inability to grab early scores and to marshal the free-running Coulter. It provides a very interesting scenario heading into the championship and whilst many would have expected Kilcoo and Mayobridge to progress from Group A; Rostrevor are always viewed as a tricky test and this result and the general flow of the game would suggest that we could be in for some championship turbulence.
The worry for Rostrevor, particularly after capitulations to a degree, against their two title-challenging opponents this season, was that a strong Mayobridge start would trigger the dominoes; and the Bridge got that start. Kevin O’Rourke fired over a third minute free with the lively Caolan Gallagher angling over from close to the endline. Despite the early prominence from the Bridge, Rostrevor had the first of their big goal chances in the sixth minute when the superb Conor Doyle charged up the right side to cross for Paudie McGrath who was denied by the fast-reacting Shealan Strain. The Sky Blues added two further scores by the 10th minute with Benny Coulter; pulling the strings in the Bridge attack, scoring a point from close range and Conleth O’Hare pointing on the run. It took ten minutes for the Reds to raise a flag in both halves but they sent over three points within five minutes to close the gap to one. Adrian Mackin scored from a free whilst a rangy point from Shaun Parr and Tomas Mulholland’s fine effort after great midfield play from Conor Magee had the scores at 0-4 to 0-3 on 16 minutes.
The Bridge were rather wayward at times in the match, but when they did find their shooting boots, there was ruthlessness in their delivery. Jamie Barr and an exquisite effort from the outside of Kevin O’Rourke’s right boot put Mayobridge back into a three-point lead by the 19th minute of play. However, Rostrevor bounced back from this double salvo to drive into the Bridge in the remaining moments of the half. Conor Doyle and Jordan Fegan combined well before Doyle fisted over with the first of their two penalties arriving in the 23rd minute after a flurry of activity in the Bridge defence. Referee Paul Falloon adjudged Adrian Mackin’s goal-bound effort to have been blocked with the foot after McGrath had squared to him, but Mackin’s penalty crashed down off the crossbar with the Reds’ hitman settling for a point from the rebound. Doyle floated over a typically excellent point from the right wing to level the scores in the 25th minute, but O’Rourke’s effort had Mayobridge in the lead as the teams headed for the interval.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-06 – 0-07 MAYOBRIDGE
As was the case in the first half, the first four scores came from Mayobridge. It was Benny Coulter who was the chief tormentor with a blisteringly clinical three minutes putting Rostrevor on the back foot again. Coulter pointed inside a minute of the restart with Kevin O’Rourke’s free pushing the Bridge into a three point lead moments later. Mayobridge then hammered in a goal in the 33rd minute coming through Benny Coulter as he raced onto O’Rourke’s cross-field pass to fist the ball to the roof of Tony Fearon’s net. The same man added a further point to place Mayobridge into a seven-point lead. Rostrevor had the best possible response to this early blitz with Conor Magee benefitting from a piercing run from Tomas Mulholland to slam a low drive to the net in the 40th minute; but it was unfortunately with a more sizeable deficit between the teams than would have been desired. Shaun Parr and Sean Cooper were both on target as the match entered its final quarter ensuring that Rostrevor only trailed by two points; 1-10 to 1-8.
It seemed that Mayobridge’s scores were always the first to arrive and they were able to keep Rostrevor at arm’s length at various times. Points from Kevin O’Rourke, Caolan Gallagher and Benny Coulter gave the visitors a five-point lead by the 50th minute and it became reasonably clear that Mayobridge were going to be taking the points at the end of a difficult hour. However, further doubts were cast over that result, as John Caldwell attempted to intercept a pin-point Conor Doyle pass only to throttle into the back of the well-placed Conor Magee for a second Rostrevor penalty in the 56th minute. Adrian Mackin’s woes were compounded though, as his right-footed shot bolted wide of the left-hand upright. Conor Doyle’s late free was the final score of the evening, as Mayobridge held on for a sixth win in eight league matches and their fourth consecutive win against Rostrevor. The Reds will feel quite optimistic about future challenges granted they can maintain this level of fight in their performance, so there is plenty to please the respective supporters after this game. The championship roars into action for both sides this coming week with Rostrevor and Tullylish meeting on Thursday and Mayobridge locking horns with Kilcoo next Sunday evening in Group A. Rostrevor will certainly be fancied to beat Tullylish in their opening game with the Magpies getting the nod ahead of Mayobridge, but the championship is never that predictable.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Gairiad Clarke, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Christopher Magee, Niall Farrell, Sean Magee, Conor Magee (1-0), Tomas Mulholland (0-1), Sean Cooper (0-1), Shaun Parr (0-2), Jordan Fegan, Conor Doyle (0-3 1f), Adrian Mackin (0-2 1f). Subs used; Conor Mackin and Anthony Donnan.
01/06/2014 - ACPRL DIVISION ONE
SECONDS OVERCOME SAVAL
ROSTREVOR 2-16 - 3-08 SAVAL
The seconds gained revenge over Saval for the away defeat a matter of weeks ago. Indeed it was a much improved performance from that game and again despite several players missing for various reasons, the reds were able to field a strong side with a mix of experience and youth. The returning Piaras Kane struck two well taken goals in the first half to put Rostrevor on the front foot, and the running of Conor Fegan along with first time ball into Kane and Donnan was causing havoc for the Saval defence. Scores from Micheal Mackin, Conor Mackin, Nick Mills, Gareth Clarke and Fegan had the reds well in control by the break. Despite conceding sloppy goals in the second half to leave Saval within a few points, the reds always looked like scoring when they ventured up the field. A couple of well taken scores by Tomas Mullholland, others from Conor Mackin and Piaras Kane as well as two frees from Colm Clerkin saw the game wrapped up and Rostrevor taking the two points.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Kevin McGrath, Liam Fegan, Turlach Murphy, Aidan Clarke (BC), Gareth Clarke, Declan Magee, Nick Mills, Niall Farrell, Conor Mackin, Tomas Mullholland, Conor Fegan, Micheal Macking, Anthony Donnan, Piaras Kane. Subs: Colm Clerkin, Gareth Caufield, Conor Fegan (BC Replacement)
30/05/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY SEVEN
EFFICIENT REDS HOLD THEIR NERVE
ANNACLONE 0-11 - 0-14 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Rostrevor provided the greater precision to stay ahead of Annaclone in Friday's league encounter and climb back into the top half of the table. In many ways, the efficiency of Rostrevor's front-six far surpassed that of their hosts and their defending was markedly improved from their two previous outings. Annaclone trailed from the second minute of this clash and never caught the Reds on the scoreboard despite a valiant fight-back in the latter stages. The victory is a welcome one for Rostrevor, as they seek to gather some momentum approaching the championship and there will be a level of satisfaction gained from the manner in which the Reds coped under late pressure from their pressing hosts.
Rostrevor had already conceded a goal before they registered a score in each of their last two league games, so they were intent on starting well and Conor Magee fired over the opening point after ninety seconds. The Clone were enjoying enough possession in the opening quarter to trouble Rostrevor, but a combination of rabid defending and some miserable kicking was to be their initial downfall. The Reds doubled their advantage when Jarlath Farrell ventured up-field to finish off a patient team move in the 11th minute. Padraig McGrath was utilised as an effective target man and he got himself on the scoresheet on 14 minutes; sending over from close-range after some neat play from Conor Doyle and Gairiad Clarke. Kevin Anderson closed the gap with side's opening point in the 16th minute.
Adrian Mackin provided an immediate response from the placed ball with Conor Magee getting his second point of the night with a piercing shot from a central position. Anderson replied for the hosts in the 21st minute with a left-sided free, but Rostrevor were well on top throughout the first half and Conor Doyle's free cancelled out that effort. The Reds were five points up when Adrian Mackin won possession from a loose pass to fire over on 26 minutes. A brief spell of attacking quality from Annaclone in the closing moments of the half saw excellent points from Rory Simpson and Aidan McIlroy, but it was Rostrevor that finished the half stronger; Adrian Mackin sending over a brace in stoppage time to secure a five-point interval lead.
HALF TIME - ANNACLONE 0-04 - 0-09 ROSTREVOR
Annaclone were very much the victim of an efficient Rostrevor display throughout the field from the first minute, but they were to find success in the second half as the game opened up in their favour. Kevin Anderson and Adrian Mackin traded frees at the beginning of the half, but an improving 'Clone were able to cut the deficit to three by the end of the third quarter. Colm Fegan sent over from the dead ball on 37 minutes with Conor McConville adding a fine score from the right wing three minutes later to narrow the lead. Kevin Anderson's fourth free left Annaclone trailing by two before Shaun Parr squeezed over a fantastic effort from near the side-line to keep Rostrevor in some degree of control entering the final fifteen minutes.
Ronan McConville swivelled to angle over a point to close the gap to two points once again, but it always seemed to be the case that when Annaclone got back to within striking distance; the Reds were able to grab another inspirational score. This time it was Conor Fegan who superbly fired over from the 45-yard line to regain the three-point advantage. However, Annaclone's reasonably vocal support were starting to sense that opportunities would arise in the dying moments of the game and they attempted to will their side on. It appeared to be working well, as Aidan McIlroy converted a great point before finding himself in a surprise pocket of space to add another with nine minutes remaining to leave Rostrevor living on their nerves with the minimum between the sides. Despite giving it an almighty effort though, Annaclone couldn't restore parity and the Reds closed out the game with the quiet efficiency that was evident earlier in the contest. Adrian Mackin; scorer of so many vital steadying scores for Rostrevor, engineered some space to send a high effort between the sticks before Padraig McGrath capped a fine performance with his second point following a cross-field pass from Conor Mackin. On balance, it was a fair result on the night and Rostrevor certainly deserved the points for their more purposeful approach over the hour. Annaclone will possibly rue a number of missed chances in the opening half; especially after a strong showing earlier in the week against Bryansford. Gerard Colgan and the rest of Rostrevor's squad and supporters will be undoubtedly satisfied with their results against those sides that surround them in the table. However, aspirations of grandeur would hope of gaining a scalp of some sort as the weeks progress. The home game against title-challengers Mayobridge presents the latest chance to gain one and the mentality needs to be right to secure a positive result; which is certainly not beyond Rostrevor.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Gairiad Clarke, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell (0-1), Christopher Magee, Niall Farrell, Sean Magee, Conor Magee (0-2), Tomas Mulholland, Sean Cooper, Shaun Parr (0-1), Conor Fegan (0-1 f), Padraig McGrath (0-2), Conor Doyle (0-1), Adrian Mackin (0-6 3f). Subs used; Turlach Murphy, Conor Mackin and Declan Magee.
26/05/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY SIX
CLINICAL CHAMPIONS LAY DOWN MARKER
ROSTREVOR 1-07 - 3-13 KILCOO
By Kieran McNally
Three first half goals told the tale of this league encounter, as Kilcoo's killer-instinct pulled them away from Rostrevor before any contest could really materialise. Jim McCorry's men came to the South Down venue having dropped a home point against Loughinisland in their previous starred outing, however, there were no worries here as they raced out of sight before the referee's short whistle. It was quite a frustrating night for Rostrevor, as they had actually started the game in decent fashion; but their failure to capitalise on decent play left Kilcoo with the opportunity to forge the early impressions on the scoreboard to silence the home side.
Darragh O'Hanlon opened the scoring in the first minute with a straightforward free conversion; potentially opening the door for a cakewalk for the visitors, however, given a greater level of efficiency up at the top end from Rostrevor, it may not have necessarily been the case. Jordan Fegan raced on to a loose ball after brave play from Christopher Magee; only to see his high drive smash down off the crossbar in the 5th minute to foreshadow the night for the Reds. Ryan Johnston doubled the Kilcoo lead from range with Paul Devlin tagging on a third by the 10th minute. Rostrevor for all that were playing reasonably well and battling for every ball quite gamely, but the next score was a hammer blow with Anthony Devlin strolling in to slam a near post effort past Brendan O'Hare. Conor Magee finally gave his side something to cheer on the scoreboard with a 13th minute point from the left.
Dominic McEvoy extended the lead for Kilcoo before the second of those game-killing goals from the Magpies. It was Darragh O'Hanlon who finished the ball to the net; breaking into space to drive a deflected effort into the left-hand corner. Paul Devlin's second point put the visitors into a ten-point lead with Martin Devlin sidestepping O'Hare to tuck in a third goal on 24 minutes, as Kilcoo threatened to run riot. Ryan Johnston and Killian Laverty added points either end of a quick double from Shaun Parr and Adrian Mackin, as Kilcoo held a thirteen-point lead at the interval.
HALF TIME - ROSTREVOR 0-03 - 3-07 KILCOO
The second half was a formality in terms of the match, but Rostrevor were able to gain some rewards on the scoreboard that were so poorly lacking in the opening half. Paul Devlin fired over the first point of the half on 33 minutes, but Conor Doyle's right footed effort and a point from Adrian Mackin kept the visitors from gaining any sort of momentum as McCorry started to empty his bench. Paul Devlin's free and a further brace of Kilcoo scores were answered back by a fine individual effort from Shaun Parr, as Devlin and Mackin traded points with the match entering it's final moments.
The Reds were markedly similar in their performance and overall approach against Bryansford and the alarm bells must certainly be ringing for a change in mentality when the big teams are in town; especially given the presence of Kilcoo in Rostrevor's championship group. Conor Magee's fisted consolation goal will have provided some respite on a difficult night; both on and off the field, for the Reds. Perhaps, they are very much in line with where the expectancy lay at the very beginning of the season and that is a positive. However, the visit to Annaclone on Friday evening does represent one game in which a win would be needed. Both sides face off in the lower reaches of mid-table with victory possibly signalling an upwards burst in terms of fortune. Having said that, the winner's enclosure at Pairc Esler; seems a fair distance from Rostrevor given the previous two league games as they occurred. Players are finding their feet and returning from absences; and various other things; however, the frequency with which good solid performances can be delivered is being disrupted by that and consistent form never really seems to be achievable. It's very much a case of 'on to the next one' for Gerard Colgan's men on Friday night.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Brendan O'Hare, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Christopher Magee, Niall Farrell, Sean Magee, Conor Magee (1-1), Tomas Mulholland (BC), Brian Keenan, Shaun Parr (0-2), Conor Fegan, Anthony Donnan, Conor Doyle (0-1), Jordan Fegan. Subs used; Adrian Mackin (0-3 2f), Conor Mackin, Padraig McGrath, Sean Cooper and Turlach Murphy. BC Replacements - Nicholas Mills.
23/05/2014 - ACPRL DIV 1
RED'S COMEBACK CRUSHES CLONDUFF
ROSTREVOR 0-15 CLONDUFF 1-10
The Seconds produced a remarkable second half display to turn this game around at Pettit Park on Friday night against a strong Clonduff side. With a number of players missing for various reasons, Rostrevor were still able to name a strong looking side themselves which shows the depth of the squad which hasn't been there over the last few seasons. Clonduff raced into a 5 point lead early in the first half with a couple of well taken frees from needless fouls and a freak goal from 30 yards out to lead 1-2 0-0 after ten minutes. Indeed it wasn't to get much better for the reds in the first half as they struggled to get possession around the middle and only managed to register 3 points in the first half hour, leaving Clonduff in a commanding position at the break leading 1-8 0-3. The second half was a different story altogether with the Reds dominating proceedings from start to finish - Niall Farrell and Nick Mills were beginning to dominate the midfield, with Turlach Murphy leading by example picking up a lot of break ball from half back. The reds weren't long racking up the scores with the returning Conor Mackin (2), brother Miceal, Tomas Mullholland and Sean Cooper firing over points early on. Clonduff had no answer to the sea of red driving forward at speed - indeed Rostrevor found themselves just the goal behind at 1-9 0-9 with 15 minutes remaining. At this stage they took advantage of an ever fading Clonduff side and hammered over 5 points in a row, two from the boot of Declan Magee, a further score from Conor Mackin as well as Brian Keenan and a wonderful scored from full forward Paudie McGrath. The sides traded one more point each to leave the final score 0-15 to 1-10, a wonderful team effort from the reds to win the game.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Kevin McGrath, Darren McIlhenny, Liam Fegan, Aidan Clarke, Turlach Murphy, Declan Magee, Nick Mills, Niall Farrell, Sean Cooper, Tomas Mullholland, Conor Mackin, Miceal Mackin, Paudie McGrath, Brian Keenan. Subs used: Caolan Magee, Piaras Kane, Gareth Caufield
09/05/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY FIVE
FORD FIND RHYTHM TO CRUSH REDS
BRYANSFORD 3-18 - 1-08 ROSTREVOR
By Kieran McNally
Bryansford were dominant in all departments, as they blitzed Rostrevor to maintain their flawless start under Frank Dawson at St. Patrick's Park, Newcastle on Friday night. There has been no shortage of blistering play from the Newcastle side this season and with Danny Savage orchestrating a clinical front-six; Rostrevor had absolutely no answer. In truth, both sides were without key men with Kalum King and Conor Maginn amongst those missing for the hosts, as a makeshift Rostrevor toiled without Adrian Mackin, Jarlath Farrell and a number of others that tend to steady their ship on nights like this.
Rostrevor had arrived in Newcastle in decent shape having claimed three wins from four at the start of the campaign, but reality often stings and this result will provide a harsh assessment of what needs to be done to challenge. The playing mentality and the ruthless agenda that Bryansford displayed breeds confidence within their ranks and with the Reds dropping men back against the aggressive hosts; there was no perceivable chance of the Reds gaining anything other than humbling defeat, if they failed to start well. As it transpired they didn't, and the Ford raced into a seven-point lead by the 10th minute; despite two superb saves from Tony Fearon. David McKibben opened the scoring in the first minute with Conor Gribben rattling the ball to the roof of the net moments later. Chris Brannigan capitalised on a loose pass to extend the lead with points from Ciaran Brannigan and Danny Savage draining all hope from a lethargic and disappointingly hesitant Reds. Conor Fegan opened their account from the placed ball.
Chris Brannigan and Conor Fegan traded scores before the end of the opening quarter before another surge of Ford scores put the contest to bed at an early stage. McKibben smartly fired over following a neat pick-up with Savage sandwiching another Chris Brannigan score with two good points. Fegan was Rostrevor's main outlet throughout and he managed to score the Reds' first point from play on 22 minutes racing into space to split the posts. David McKibben got on the end of a slick passing move to extend the lead to ten points approaching the interval with a brace of frees from Brannigan leaving Bryansford almost out of sight at the end of a one-sided opening half.
HALF TIME - BRYANSFORD 1-12 - 0-03 ROSTREVOR
Timmy Hanna provided a decent outlet in the full-forward line for the Ford and he pushed the lead out to thirteen points within seconds of the restart, as more of the same seemed to be on its way. Jordan Fegan was unlucky not to find the net moments later for Rostrevor though, with SJ Brannigan making a fine stop. Danny Savage pointed another for the hosts before Conor Doyle tapped over a free for the visitors. Chris Brannigan tucked over from the dead ball on 41 minutes with Tomas Mulholland sending over a very good reply at the end of the third quarter, as Rostrevor put up a decidedly better challenge in the second half. However, despite that, Bryansford's class continued to shine through with an absolutely superb team move finishing with Danny Savage piercing a shot to the right corner of the net before storming clear to shave another effort narrowly over the crossbar to lead by 2-16 to 0-5 with thirteen long minutes remaining.
Rostrevor were well beaten, but were able to improve their own scoring in the closing minutes with Conor Doyle and Conor Mackin both taking good points before the Reds were awarded a penalty. In the true manner of the night as it had been, SJ Brannigan saved the initial spot-kick with Conor Fegan following his initial effort with a high drive to the net. Timmy Hanna replied instantly; rounding Tony Fearon to slot home after fine work, as Danny Savage and Stephen McKibben put the final touches to a dominant display. Shaun Parr scored the final point of the match for Rostrevor via an outstanding goal-line block, but there was nowhere to hide for his side on the open surrounds of St. Patrick's Park. A further symbol of Rostrevor's torment on the night was the award of three black card to important players; Christopher and Conor Magee, and Brian Keenan, as the pace and power of Bryansford proved too much to handle on a number of occasions. The Ford's form rolls on and they are looking as good as ever they have been in recent years, and whilst Rostrevor can be pleased with their general results after five games; this represented the first of the title contenders and it was a test that was horribly failed ahead of the home game with county champions Kilcoo.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Michael Boyle, Christopher Magee (BC), Gairiad Clarke, Shane Murney, Conor Magee (BC), Tomas Mulholland (0-1), Richard Reynolds, Shaun Parr (0-1), Conor Fegan (1-3 2f), Brian Keenan (BC), Conor Doyle (0-2 1f), Anthony Donnan. Subs used; Sean Magee, Jordan Fegan and Declan Magee. BC Replacements - Padraig McGrath, Nicholas Mills and Conor Mackin (0-1).
02/05/2014 - ACPRL DIVISION ONE
SECONDS SECOND HALF SALVO
ROSTREVOR 2-9 BRYANSFORD 1-7
In a season thus far where the second halves have been a struggle for the Seconds, they turned it around on Friday evening with a resolute performance against Bryansford. In a team showing a few changes from the previous two games in the week, it was a tight affair throughout the first half with only a single point being scored in the opening 20 minutes as Bryansford edged ahead. Shane Murney got the Red's first score, and they went in front quickly after with a goal after good work from Conor Fegan to set up Richie Reynolds to finish. Bryansford responded quickly with a goal of their own and went in a point ahead at the break. The second half was where Rostrevor pushed on, with Reynolds equalising, and then edging them in front with a debatable score. A further point from Conor Fegan and a somewhat strange goal gave the Red's a strong footing in the game. Indeed the ball seemed to be carried over the line by the Bryansford defender after good pressure from Aidan Clarke and Conor Fegan and a goal was given. The Red's tagged on a few more scores with Jordan Fegan showing and scoring well when he was introduced after an injury set back to put Rostrevor further ahead, as well as setting up Reynolds on two other occasions. Bryansford came back with a few late points but a fisted score by Declan Magee sealed their fate late on and the Red's won by five.
Rostrevor: Brendy O'Hare, Turlach Murphy, Darren McIlhenney, Kevin McGrath, Aidan Clarke, Gareth Clarke, Declan Magee (0-1), Nick Mills, Niall Farrell, Conor Fegan (0-1), Shane Murney (0-1), Brian Keenan, Anthony Donnan, Paudie McGrath (0-1), Richie Reynolds (1-4). Subs used: Jordan Fegan (0-1), Liam Fegan
30/04/2014 - ACPRL DIVISON ONE
YOUNG REDS LOSE OUT TO SAVAL
SAVAL 0-13 0-6 ROSTREVOR
A second game in four days for the Seconds saw them come up against a bullish Saval side at a windy Nan Sands Park. Indeed it was Saval's use of possession against the wind in the first half which set them up for victory. Rostrevor never really got going in the game and despite a couple of scores from distance in the first half from Micheal Mackin and Anthony Donnan, they found themselves playing catch up as Saval kept the score board ticking over. Indeed Saval lost Liam Turley to a black card towards the end of the first half, and with Thomas Mullholland having to withdraw at half time due to injury, both teams were without key men for the second period - with Saval up by a point. The second half continued in a similar vein, this time is was Saval using the wind to score from distance. Rostrevor worked the ball around well and used the running of Shane Murney, Micheal Mackin, Paudie McGrath and Brian Keenan to try and break down a stubborn Saval defence but it wasn't to be on the night for the reds. They will hope to bounce back with a win at home against Bryansford on Friday night.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Kevin McGrath (BC - 50), Liam Fegan, Turlach Murphy, Aidan Clarke, Declan Magee, Shane Murney, Thomas Mullholland, Declan Ryan, Micheal Mackin (0-2), Paudie McGrath, Sean Cooper, Anthony Donnan (0-3), Sean Mackin (0-1), Gareth Caufield. Subs used: Darren McIlhenney, Nick Mills, Brian Keenan, Colm Clerkin, Jordan Fegan, Richie Reynolds (BC Replacement).
27/04/2014 - ACPRL DIVISION ONE
SECONDS SETTLE FOR DRAW WITH BURREN
ROSTREVOR 1-10 1-10 BURREN
The Seconds played out an entertaining draw with Burren in a sunny Pettit Park on Sunday afternoon. Lining out with a much changed team from the previous two games, the young reds started brightly with Thomas Mullholland and Declan Ryan commanding around the middle and half forwards Sean Cooper and Paudie McGrath working well to get the early ball in. Scores from Patrick McGreevy, two from Thomas, as well as one from Cooper put Rostrevor in a good position midway through the first half. Burren battled back however and scored a goal and missed a penalty before half time. The second half saw Rostrevor edge in front again with a well worked goal finished by Sean Mackin, his third in three games. Shane Murney landed a superb score with the outside of the boot but Burren drew level once again. The reds pushed for a winning score late on but it wasn't to be and the teams shared a point each. The Seconds play again on Wednesday night in the rearranged game away to Saval and again on Friday at home to Bryansford.
Rostrevor: Brendan O'Hare, Kevin McGrath, Liam Fegan, Turlach Murphy, Aidan Clarke, Declan Magee, Shane Murney, Thomas Mullholland, Declan Ryan, Miceal Mackin, Paudie McGrath, Sean Cooper, Patrick McGreevy, Sean Mackin, Gareth Caufield. Subs used: Anthony Donnan, Richie Reynolds, Brian Keenan, Niall Farrell
25/04/2014 - ACFL DIVISION ONE - MATCHDAY FOUR
LATE MACKIN SCORES SINK ISLAND
ROSTREVOR 1-14 - 2-10 LOUGHINISLAND
By Kieran McNally
Adrian Mackin's late composure finally settled an engaging encounter at Pettit Park in which Rostrevor were pushed to the wire by fourteen-man Loughinisland. The Rostrevor forward accounted for his side's last five points, as the Reds struggled to get the better of their lessened, but more physical, visitors for long periods of this contest. Indeed, the Island will feel slightly aggrieved to leave without some form of result because they battled into winning positions throughout the closing stages; only to find themselves overhauled by a Rostrevor side that demonstrated the necessary mettle to earn the spoils.
Loughinisland made the trip to South Down with no points on the board from three outings, but provided many bright sparks in a brave display. Their hardships were evident in the opening quarter, however, as Rostrevor made the more potent start. Conor Doyle swivelled to score the first point of the game in the second minute, and whilst Rory Mason responded for the Island; a fisted point from Doyle and two long-range scores from Richard Reynolds and Conor Magee had Rostrevor well in control. The Blues' case was not helped either by the innocuous behaviour of Ryan Stranney, who received his marching orders for off-the-ball indiscretions in the 13th minute. That immediately made the Loughinisland challenge more daunting, but it was really from this moment onwards that this fantastic match sparked into life, as the visitors stood up to the task with great character. John McCarthy and Rory Mason were both on target for Loughinisland as they trailed by a point at the end of the first quarter.
Rostrevor were evidently struggling to make the most of their numerical advantage with their play often stalling in the middle third, however, they were to find the net after some outrageous defending from Loughinisland in the 17th minute. Christopher Magee was the scorer, and what a finish it was; turning over possession and racing through to crash a misplaced defensive pass into the net off the underside of the crossbar. It was a stunning goal from the wing-back. Jamie O'Reilly and Rory Mason replied for Loughinisland, but these scores were cancelled out by Adrian Mackin's free and a piercing effort from Brian Keenan, as Rostrevor maintained a four-point lead going into the closing stages. The Island were providing obstinate opposition though, and the fourteen men were able to bludgeon their way back onto level terms by half-time. John McCarthy floated an effort inside the left-post before the first of the Loughinisland goals arrived. Jamie O'Reilly was the scorer as he got onto the end of a flowing move to palm a close-range effort past Tony Fearon. The Reds' goalkeeper was called into further action in a superb late burst from the visitors rushing out to block Aidan Nixon's low shot from point-blank range.
HALF TIME - ROSTREVOR 1-06 - 1-06 LOUGHINISLAND
The second half began with a period of stalemate, as both sides missed opportunities to forge into the lead. The frustration that can arise from playing against fourteen players and not maybe dominating proceedings can envelope the game from a team's perspective and Rostrevor appeared incapable at times of pushing past Loughinisland's fewer men. Adrian Mackin put the Reds in front in the 36th minute, but the Island's reply was one that once again provided a major setback for the struggling Reds. Dominic McClements received possession from O'Reilly before sending a low thumping drive past Fearon's fingertips to the left-hand corner for a Loughinisland lead; 2-6 to 1-7. Conor Magee narrowed the deficit momentarily with Peter Cochrane pointing to keep the hosts in arrears entering the tense final fifteen minutes.
Rostrevor were missing chances and there were grimaces amongst the unsettled spectators before a much-needed Conor Doyle point brought the Reds back to within one point. Adrian Mackin's placed equaliser was greeted with relief, as one may have thought that the recovery from the Island goals had been successful, however, the visitors were not finished yet. Declan Corrigan arrowed a point from range to put Loughinisland back in front on 50 minutes with Mackin, now pulling the scoring strings in Rostrevor's front-six, equalising again. Mackin pointed a free to put the Reds into a one-point advantage but this Loughinisland side were ferociously giving their utmost to leave Rostrevor with two league and displayed admirable courage to regain the lead with two quick points. Dominic McClements fired over from the right with the impressive Rory Mason finding the target with four minutes to go. Despite the constant responses from the relentless visitors, Rostrevor were able to fashion the final scores in an exhilarating finish to the match through Adrian Mackin. The sharpshooter fired over a superb leveller for the Reds with his injury time free nudging his side into the decisive one-point lead. Still, there was one more strike from the Blues with Rory Mason thumping a long-range free agonisingly short as Rostrevor just about held on for a third win in four. Jonathan Flynn's extremely late dismissal ensured that Loughinisland finished with thirteen men and no points, which will rest quite badly with Kyran Smyth's men, as the level of performance that they showed in trying circumstances merited more. The Reds though, will be happy with the result as they struggled to deliver the win and looked destined to achieve less for long periods of the second half. Home comforts remain for Gerard Colgan's Reds; that certainly can't be denied.
ROSTREVOR TEAM; Tony Fearon, Liam Fegan, Darren McIlhenny, Jarlath Farrell, Christopher Magee (1-0), Michael Boyle, Gairiad Clarke, Conor Magee (0-2), Niall Farrell, Richard Reynolds (0-1), Shaun Parr, Conor Fegan, Brian Keenan (0-1), Conor Doyle (0-3), Adrian Mackin (0-7 5f). Subs used; Damian Magee, Anthony Donnan and Padraig McGrath.
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 Caufiel
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.