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.