Gweedore’s man of the match, Michael O’Carroll carries the ball out of defence to set up his side’s fourth goal with Rossa’s Michael McGreevey and Cormac McGettigan in persuit.
Bank of Ireland-Paddy McLarnon Cup
Rossa 1-5 Gweedore 4-7
Saturday January 13 By Brendan McTaggart
Gweedore proved a step too far for the all-conquering Antrim champions in Creggan on Saturday afternoon as Rossa bowed out of the Paddy McLarnon Cup at the first hurdle. 11 points separated the sides after the hour and in fairness the Shaw’s Road men can have no complaints. They were beaten by a more physical, slick and overall a better side.
Despite starting the match brightly, the Jeremiah’s will look at the period before and after half time as to where it all went wrong. An early goal in fortunate circumstances from James Connolly put Gweedore on the back foot for the majority of the first half. Despite playing into the wind at the Staffordstown Road venue, Rossa had the lion’s share of possession and while they didn’t convert to points on the board, they were well placed for the majority of the half.
Having taken a knock after a heavy tackle from Odhran McFadden-Ferry early in the half, star forward Dominic McEnhill had to come off the pitch in the 27th minute with suspected concussion and it was seconds later that the Donegal champions scored their first goal of the contest and take the lead for the first time in the match. Gavin McBride and Michael O’Carroll were causing the Rossa defence plenty of problems throughout but the goal had more than a hint of fortune. McBride will claim the score but his effort dropped short only for Rossa ‘keeper Mick Byrne to let the ball slip through his hands and nestle into the bottom corner. A hammer blow to the city men as they deserved to at least be on terms at the interval for their exertions but in fairness to Gweedore they saw an opening and took full advantage.
McBride finished the scoring with a fisted point just before the short whistle when he had the goal at his mercy, leaving the half time score Gweedore 1-4 Rossa 1-1.
Before throw in on Saturday if you offered Paul Close and Ciaran Grego a three point deficit at half time they would definitely have taken it. It was a strong cross-field wind at the lough shore, but it was certainly favouring the Antrim champions in the second half. If they were going to make inroads into the Gweedore advantage they needed a fast start to the second half. What they got was a masterclass from the Donegal men. Any Rossa error was punished fully as Gweedore put their foot to the throat of the Rossa challenge and never let up after the restart. Michael O’Carroll, after a good first half was imperious in the second while Naoise Boyle was a constant threat, going through a mountain of work. Rossa probed for an opening in a superb Gweedore defence but they just couldn’t find an opening and it took until the 17th minute of the second half before James Connelly registered their first score, Gweedore had already added 1-2 to their tally in the time that preceded. O’Carroll with the goal for his side and what a goal it was. Easily 30 yards out and with the outside of his boot, the Gweedore man found the top corner of Byrne’s goal. The Rossa ‘keeper did manage to get a hand to the riffled effort but it was all in vain.
Time wasn’t on Rossa’s side and as they pushed for an opening, they left openings in defence. A swift counter from Gweedore left Rossa flailing and gave Eamonn Ó Colm the opportunity to score their third goal from close range and increase their advantage to nine points with ten minutes remaining.
Rossa to their credit continued to battle but the Gweedore defence was seemingly impenetrable. The Jeremiah’s did manage to win a penalty at the death, Gerard Walsh claiming a high ball before being fouled in the parallelogram, but he blazed his spot kick over the bar. Niall Crossan had a goal chance soon after but his effort was superbly blocked by Conor McFadden before Gweedore scored their fourth goal of the match with virtually the last kick of the game and again it was O’Carroll who provided the cutting edge required. Running soccer style down the left-hand side of the pitch and shirking any would be Rossa tackles, O’Carroll managed to find Naoise Boyle who passed to Daire Boyle to apply the finish. Gweedore now progress to a meeting with Monaghan champions Donaghmoyne next Sunday in the last of the quarter-finals and while Rossa will be disappointed with their defeat, the future looks bright for the men from Shaw’s Road having won the minor and 21 football championships last year.
Rossa: Mick Byrne; Jack Morris; Conor McGowan; Michael McGreevy; Tiarnan Murphy; Niall Crossan; Gavin McGrath; Gerard Walsh; Eoghan McMenamin; Darren Grego; Padraig McPartland; Deaglan Murphy; Caoimhin Slane; James Connolly; Dominic McEnhill
Subs: Conal Shannon for D McEnhill (27 mins); Padraig McGreevy for C Slane (45 mins); James Cooley for G McGrath (47 mins); Caolan Walsh for D Grego (47 mins); Cormac McGettigan for P McPartland (57 mins)
Gweedore: Cathal Doherty; Ciaran Hughes; Padraig Gribbin; Conor McFadden; Conor McCafferty; Niall Friel; Neasán McBride; Eamonn Ó Colm; Odhran McFadden-Ferry; Naoise Boyle; Ryan Reilly; Gavin McBride; Ethan Harkin
Subs: Mikey Boyle for E Harkin (53 mins); Sean Boyle for N Friel (Black Card – 55 mins); Liam Wiggins for P Gribbin (59 mins)
Rossa: James Connolly 1-1 (1 free); Dominic McEnhill 0-1; Padraig McPartland 0-1; Eoghan McMenamin 0-1; Gerard Walsh 0-1 (1 pen)
Gweedore: Gavin McBride 1-3 (2 frees); Eamonn Ó Colm 1-2; Michael O’Carroll 1-1; Daire Boyle 1-1
Referee: Martin Conroy (Moy, Tyrone)
Angela Callan, Bank of Ireland, Antrim presents the Bank of Ireland man of the match award to Gweedore’s Michael O’Carroll.