ACHL DIVISION 1
Rossa 0-3 Loughgiel 6-33
Loughgiel await official confirmation that they are Division 1 champions for 2017 following this facile victory over a depleted Rossa side at Shaw’s Road on Wednesday night. While there was never any doubt about the result of the game, there was a bit of confusion as to how Cloughmills withdrawal against Cushendall might affect the final placing’s
Both sides went into Wednesday night on equal points but the Shamrock’s had a superior points difference and were also a couple of points ahead of the Ruairi Ogs on head to head from their two games having won a game each.
Whatever the technicalities, the North Antrim side began and ended Wednesday’s game fully focused and determined to rack up a big score should they need them and that’s exactly what they did as they took the game to Rossa right from the throw in.
Seamus Dobbin from play and Barney McAuley from a free got them on their way before Shan McGrath fired home their opening goal in the 6th minute. McGrath and McAuley continued to keep the scores coming with Donal McKinley and Eddie McCloskey adding to their ever increasing total.
By the 16th minute the Shamrocks led by 1-12 to 0-2 with McGrath adding four further points and Eddie McCloskey 0-2, Barney McAuley 0-2, Donal McKinley and Mark McFadden all on target. The home sides scores came from Odhran McVicker and Paul McGreevey and they were giving it everything they had to repel the constant flow of Loughgiel attacks with goal keeper, Gavin bell standing tall.
The veteran keeper pulled off a couple of unbelievable stops before being beaten for a second time when Shay Casey bundled the sliotar over the line with 17 minutes gone and It was as good as over, even at this early juncture.
There was to be no let-up however as Shan McGrath and Eddie McCloskey continued to torment the Rossa defence with corner man McGrath un-playable with his pace and positional sense and the flying corner forward added a further 0-4 before the break with McCloskey 0-4 and Shay Casey 0-2 and Dan McCloskey leaving it 3-19 to 0-2 at the short whistle.
As the rain came down at the start of the second half there was to be no respite for a beleaguered Rossa side as Colin Braniff replaced Gavin Bell in goals but straight away the visitors hit the attack button again with Shan McGrath starting where he had left off with a couple of early points.
Skinner Laverty announced his arrival with another as a Loughgiel side showing a number of half-time changes continued to rack up the scores. Rossa did manage to reply through the impressive Aodhan O’Brien with a fine point but it was to be their only score of the half.
Three more from McGrath and points apiece from Ryan McKee, Dan McCloskey and Skinner Laverty saw Loughgiel move 31 points ahead by the 28th minute as an outclassed Rossa continued to battle bravely to stem the tide but with little success.
Man of the match, McGrath brought his personal tally to 2-10 with goal number four in the 22nd minute and further goals from Joey Scullion and Dan McCloskey and points from Skinner Laverty, Joey Scullion 0-2 and Dan McCloskey concluded the scoring.
As a game this was a no contest with Rossa withholding all their duel players with a Football Championship game to come against Cargin on Friday night. The visitors cannot be blamed for the quality of the opposition however and on this form it would have taken a good side to live with them.
The played at a high tempo throughout, never allowing the opposition time to dwell on the ball and they moved the sliotar around intelligently and at great pace when they had possession themselves. On the night they were a side without a weakness with Shan McGrath outstanding and Barney McAuley, Eddie McCloskey, Damon McMullan and Mark McFadden to the fore in an excellent all round team performance.
Gavin Bell had a fine first half in the Rossa goals, despite conceding three and Kevin McDonnell, Aodhan O’Brien, Christopher McIlhatton, Gerard Walsh and Odhran McVicker gave it everything on the night.
Rossa: Gavin Bell, Ciaran Murphy, Kevin McDonnell, Eamon Lindsay, Danny Murray, Oisin McVicker, Aodhan O’Brien: P McGreevey, Christopher McIlhatton, C McComish, Aidan Carabine, Conor Murray, Matthew Devlin, Gerard Walsh, Odhran McVicker. Subs: Colin Braniff, Mickey Kettle.
Loughgiel: DD Quinn, Paul Gillan, Neil McGarry, Ronan McCloskey, Tony McCloskey, Damon McMullan, Odhran McFadden, Mark McFadden, Seamus Dobbin, Barney McAuley, Eddie McCloskey, Donal McKinley, Dan McCloskey, Shay Casey, Sean McGrath. Subs: Ryan McKee, Caolan Blair, James McNaughton, Declan Laverty, Joey Scullion.
Referee: Darren McKeown (St. Gall’s)