Reserve Championship Shield
Rasharkin 1-11 Glenavy 1-4
Glenavy were the visitors on a stormy, wet night at Dreen for the Reserve Football Shield quarter final. The effect of the wind could be clearly seen in the warm drills as cones were moved closer together as the players tried to adjust to the conditions.
Glenavy started the half with the wind on their back and nearly got off to the perfect start. The throw in was won by James Gallagher who sent the ball in high to the full forward line. It was broken down by Gareth Collins into the path of the on coming David Nelson who rocketed his shot off the crossbar. It took Rasharkin a couple of minutes to settle into the game but it was worth the wait. A long ball into the corner from Cathair Henderson found Brian Og O’Neill who offloaded to Gerard Chuckles O’Hagan and the latter finished low into the corner of the net. Straight away from the resulting kick out Brian Og O’Neill gathered the ball and slotted it over the bar. 1-1 to 0-0 with 10minutes gone. A few minutes later the same move produced the same result. A ball in from half back Henderson, found O’Neill and this time Brendan Tip Toes Etherson gathered the ball off the shoulder but was brought down in front of the goals, with the free converted from close range. Further pressure was added as Killian O’Boyle pointed from play a few minutes later.
Glenavy worked hard but couldn’t find the target. A few near misses and balls running wide frustrated the players and management. On the 18th minute full forward Mark Cushnahan was on the end of a well worked move down the right side to get Glenavy a point on the scoreboard. The midfield battle was key with the wind holding up the ball from kick outs and breaking ball. In the 20th minute James Gallagher was moved into the full forward line, and by the 23rd minute he had found the back of the Rasharkin net. Cushnahan won and played a long ball into Gallagher who found the side of the net, giving Rasharkin keeper Emmet Smyth no chance. With five minutes of the half remaining Glenavy remained on form as Gareth Collins converted a ’45’, bringing the half time score to Rasharkin 1-4 Glenavy 1-2.
As the second half started, so did the rain. Glenavy continued as they had left off in the first half, with Gareth Collins benefiting from some in-disciplined tackling from the Rasharkin defence and from broken down passing play. He converted two a 20meter frees within 2minutes bringing the game level. Rasharkin dug deep as Conor Gallagher led the charge from the half back line running at the Glenavy defence and swinging the ball over the bar from 40 yards on his left foot. Soon after Fergus Geesy Quigg and Cathair Henderson found their range too as they were composed on the ball and notched up two more points for the home side.
From 40minutes the game entered a scrappy stage as the relentless rain and wind continued. Attacks from both sides broke down in the final third as both teams became wasteful in possession. Gerard Chuckles O’Hagan had a chance to rattle the net for Rasharkin again as he won the ball, and took on his marker – however the Glenavy goalkeeper stood strong palming the ball out to the side. Glenavy found it difficult trying to get the ball out of their half. Midfielders Keelan Darragh and Brendan Etherson controlled the midfield with strong aerial play and turnovers at important stages. This led to scores from play from Killian O’Boyle, setup by Aidan Darragh, and frees from Brian Og O’Neill leaving the game at 1-9 to 1-4 to the home side.
Towards the end, more space was created as Glenavy pushed forward looking for much needed scores. This gave forward O’Hagan the chance to run at the defence, steadying himself and scoring from range. Rashartkin might have increased their lead had it not been for Glenavy’s Martin McPeake who cut out a number of attacks. Rasharkin ran out eventual winners on a score line to 1-11 to 1-4.
Rasharkin: Gerard O’Hagan 1-1, Brian Og O’Neill 0-5, Killian O’Boyle 0-2, Conor Gallagher 0-1, Cathair Henderson 0-1, Fergus Quigg 0-1
Glenavy: James Gallagher 1-0, Gareth Collins 0-3, Mark Cushnahan 0-1
Referee – Gerard Dougan (Creggan)