by Geordie McGuckin
All County Football League Division One
Casement’s 0-10 Rossa 0-15
Rossa have not been seen at their best this term but all that was seen to change on Sunday when the Shaw’s road side travelled down into the South West and returned with a full return of the points on offer with a victory gained over the in-form Casement’s men.
The Bannsider’s having remained unbeaten in their previous three outings and looking likely to make the A section after the ‘cut’ did look like favourites going into this game, but although they started well enough and led in the early stages the Shaw’s road grew in stature as the game progressed and at conclusion they had an impressive five point winning margin.
An Intriguing contest at the excellent O’ Cahan Park complex as the in-form Casement’s lined out against a Rossa side which had failed thus far to collect a point in previous excursions into the South West this season.
The manager of the city outfit did have several regulars back in harness for this one however, and with such as Colm Fleming, Michael Armstrong and Deaglain Murphy now included in the start list this was perhaps a cause for optimism.
Casement’s fresh from an impressive share of the spoils and a drawn affair with the Johnnies up at Corrigan the Bannsider’s were quickly into stride and giving early employment to the scoreboard attendant.
Mark Mc Aleese who fetched the initial throw in raced away through the middle to split the posts seconds in and the home side nearly snatched a goal shortly afterwards via Niall Mc Keever.
The big man rose highest to fetch in the middle in the fifth minute and as the Rossa defence seemed flat footed he raced through to blast towards goal.
Young county minor keeper Michael Burns stood tall in defiance between the visitor’s posts to deny the incoming Mc Keever but Michael Kelly was quick to gather the deflected leather and promptly return between the posts.
Rossa were looking off the pace a little in the early minutes and although a Michael Armstrong sixth minute point opened their account the home side had dominated particularly in the central zone where Niall Mc Keever reigned supreme and another fetch by him preceded and indiscretion to halt progress and as Michael Kelly clipped the award between the posts it was 0-03 to 0-01 to the Portglenone men who appeared to be in control.
Rossa having taken a time to get it together in the pristine confines of a manicured Casement’s arena looked for a score to settle, and indeed when the ever lively Sean Pat Donnelly punished an indiscretion on Deaglain Murphy in the 15th minute the Shaw’s road men began to settle.
Looking to find the corners with most approaches where the fleet footed Donal Armstrong and Murphy were mostly out in front and such a delivery from Sean Finch to the former saw the number 15 claim the leather to place Michael Armstrong for a point and they were on terms.
Rossa had seized initiative and they were in the lead by the 18th minute as the impressive Michael Armstrong fired over again and ensure they had nicked the advantage at 0-04 to 0-03.
Casement’s were back abreast again shortly thereafter as Paddy Kelly was not hard pressed to send a 40 metre free between the posts following a foul on Ryan Carey, but back on the offensive came the Rossa men as Richie Gowdy drove forward to be illegally halted in transit an allow Colm Fleming to despatch the resultant free between the posts.
Full forward Fleming was asked to assume place kicking duties again shortly afterwards and again accurate in his role as he despatched a ‘45’ on the same direction to see the visitors a couple of points ahead.
Mark Mc Aleese claimed one back for the Bannsider’s but the Rossa men were busiest in the closing minutes of the half and although Declan Doherty did make intervention to deny Deaglain Murphy as the corner man bore down on his posts, when Sean Pat Donnelly chipped a 30 metre free over the bar in the 30th minute to punish a foul on roving corner back Adrian Orchin the visitors led 0-07 to 0-05 as the short whistle sounded.
The home side started the second period with intent but having been forced to recall Niall Mc Keever to the bench with hamstring problem dominance in the central zone could be in some jeopardy.
The Bannsider’s were first to register as Michael Kelly added a 33rd minute point but a similar return at the other end by Sean Pat Donnelly a minute later restored the Rossa two point advantage.
Similarly when Ciaran Mc Kenna came dashing up the right wing to grab a super point to reduce the deficit to the minimum again the Rossa men soon posted reply in kind via the quicksilver Sean Pat Donnelly’s ever accurate boot.
The last quarter arrived and still the tit for tat trend continued and a Michael Kelly 47th minute point brought swift reply in kind a couple of minutes later as Stephen Beatty raced up the right hand side to split the posts.
Rossa were standing tall and defiant in defence and continued to thwart the ambitions of the home side as the sought breakthrough and quick in the counter with Sean Finch in the vanguard of such actions, and it was the wing half back’s surge which opened the way for Deaglain Murphy to raise white and ensure a three point lead at the 51st minute.
Replacement Niall Kelly posted a reply to ensure the home side reduced the deficit again but back came the visitors to the offensive with Stephen Beatty claiming the kick out before racing forward to fire the ball over.
The city men were dealt a blow in the 55th minutes as the previously impressive Sean Finch saw black with the previously recalled Michael Armstrong returning to the fray.
Finch had posted a huge shift prior to the enforced departure but the visitors were not to be shaken off the scent of victory and a couple of points which followed from Armstrong’s previous replacement Thomas Morgan looked to have settled the issue.
The late replacement was sent on his way to raise white for his initial 57th minute score by a delivery by hard grafting Stephen Beatty, and when Adrian Orchin made intervention at the other end to send clearance to Donal Armstrong the corner man proceeded to send Morgan in for another.
The die was well cast at such juncture and although a Paddy Kelly point followed for the home side they really required a goal to offer hope and indeed the Rossa men had he final say as an injury time Stephen Beatty point ensured the point were destined to belong to the Rossa men as they crossed the finish line at 0-15 to 0-10.
Michael Burns, Conor McGowan, Ciaran Orchin, Adrian Orchin, Niall Crossan, Richie Gowdy, Sean Finch, Stephen Beatty (0-03), Gerard Walshe, Sean Pat Donnelly (0-04), Michael Armstrong (0-03), Darren Grego, Deaglain Murphy (0-01), Colin Fleming (0-02), Donal Armstrong.
Thomas Morgan (0-02) for M Armstrong
Michael Armstrong for S Finch (black card)
Jack Morris for A Orchin
Ryan O’ Neill, Declan Doherty, Ronan Delargy, Shane Delargy, Niall Delargy, Stephen Kelly, Ciaran Mc Kenna (0-01), Niall Mc Keever, Mark Mc Aleese (0-02), Tiarnan Tierney, Michael Kelly (0-04), Ryan Carey, Coary Mc Laughlin, Paddy Kelly (0-02), Michael Hagan
Dermot Mc Aleese for N Mc Keever
Adrian Kearney for C Mc Laughlin
Ryan Mc Guigan for D Doherty
Niall Kelly (0-01) for S Kelly