Rossa’s relegation fears deepen

O’Neill’s All-County Hurling League Division One

Rossa 1-20-4-19 Ballygalget

By Kevin Herron at Rossa Park

Rossa’s relegation fears deepened at Rossa Park this afternoon as four first half goals saw Ballygalget prevail in the basement battle at the bottom of Division One.

John McManus popped in the opener within the first three minutes and doubled his account just after  the midway point in the first-half. Tim Prenter matched McManus’s tally with two further strikes before the interval which effectively secured the spoils before a blistering consolation goal from Tiarnan Murphy in the second half hour of play at the Shaws Road.

A depleted Rossa squad went into Sunday’s game knowing that victory against the basement club would be a huge shot in the arm in their struggle to avoid the drop but it was bottom of the table Ballygalget who made a blistering start on a warm afternoon.

Daniel Toner opened the scoring with little over sixty seconds on the clock and with only three minutes on the clock the opening goal of the game arrived.

Down legend Gareth ‘Magic’ Johnston flicked the ball into the path of half-forward John McManus who popped the ball over the advancing Danny Murray and into the net to make it 0-00-1-01.

Toner then supplied Caolan Baillie for Ballygalget’s third score in the opening stages – it took Rossa five minutes to respond as Dominic McEnhill broke the ball down to corner-forward Tiarnan Murphy who popped the ball over the bar.

A delightful turn and strike from Matthew Devlin was then followed by an Oisin McVicker point as Rossa were beginning to grow into the game – though Ballygalget restored their five-point lead with three scores on the spin.

A one-two between Declan McManus and Caolan Bailie saw the later strike his second point of the opening quarter and Tim Prenter then shot high over the bar to make it 0-03-1-04.

Tim Prenter then doubled his account for the afternoon with a simple flick of the wrist, Tiarnan Murphy turned provider for Matthew Devlin who conjured up Rossa’s fourth point of the half.

The sides then traded six points in a five minute spell – Rossa closed the gap to three points on three separate occasions through a wonderfully crafted Murphy strike and a double from influential Thomas Morgan, though Ballygalget responded each time through Declan McManus, a turn and strike from namesake John and a third point of the half from Prenter.

With eighteen minutes on the clock Ballygalget found their second goal of the game – it took a second phase of play after a previous goal chance broke down but scorer of the first John McManus blasted to the net to claim his second of the half and give his side a 0-07-2-08 advantage.

A minute later the Ardsmen had their third goal of the game – the lively Tim Prenter burst onto a loose ball and despite the best efforts of Danny Murray in the Rossa goal Prenter rifled to the net to make it 0-07-3-08.

Stephen Shannon burst forward from half-back to respond with a point and Tiarnan Murphy converted a free in between a fourth Prenter point.

Tiarnan Murphy then shot over the bar from range and Declan McManus popped over at the other end before departing through injury.

Four minutes before the break four-midable Ballygalget had their fourth goal of the half – Gareth Johnston picked out Tim Prenter unmarked the corner-forward shot low to the net to give his side a 0-10-4-10 and surely secure the spoils.

Gareth Johnston was pulling the strings for Ballygalget and he was rewarded with a point before the interval after good work from double goalscorer McManus.

Adam Doran found his sides final score of the half – but credit for that must go to Rossa goalkeeper Danny Murray who made a fantastic block to deny John McManus what appeared to be a certain fifth goal.

Odhran O’Callaghan hit Rossa’s final point of the half but at the break the hosts were four goals and a point in arrears, trailing 0-11-4-12.10

Ballygalget increased their lead from the restart – it was a case of déjà vu as Daniel Toner opened the scoring at the start of the half again, Rossa responded with two successive Dominic McEnhill points after smart work from Stephen Beatty and Tiarnan Murphy and a third point dually followed from Thomas Morgan who brought his afternoon tally to 0-03.

Ballygalget were eleven minutes without a score before Gareth Johnston conjured up a magical point to leave four goals the difference, 0-14-4-14.

Rossa were in desperate need of a goal to give themselves a lifeline and just before the midway point in the half the goal arrived – Tiarnan Murphy played a one-two with Oisin McVicker before unleashing a majestic bullet of a strike which had Ballygalget keeper Jamie Crowe beaten all ends up.

A quick second would be required to apply some pressure – though it was Ballygalget who claimed the next score through Daniel Toner.

Youngster Dominic McEnhill almost had his sides second goal of the game with twelve minutes remaining but his shot was deflected behind and Stephen Beatty pointed from the resulting 65’ to make it 1-15-4-15.

The sides then traded six scores for the second time in the game – Rossa twice brought the deficit down to eight with points from Thomas Morgan and Stephen Beatty (free) however, Mark Fisher and Cormac Coulter responded on both occasions.

Fisher then picked out the run of advancing wing-half back James McGrath whose high shot sailed between the posts – only for Stephen Shannon to convert a free and leave three goals the margin, 1-18-4-18.

Rossa’s final two scores came from frees – substitute Aodhan O’Brien was brought to ground and converted the resulting free, Tiarnan Murphy did likewise after Thomas Morgan was upended.

The final score of the encounter fell to substitute Adam Doran – largely due to team mate Jamie Crowe at the other end.

The Ballygalget shot stopper denied Rossa a second consolation goal after referee Kevin Parke signalled for a late penalty and Tiarnan Murphy watched in frustration as Crowe turned the resulting puck to safety.

In the end Ballygalget ran out convincing eight point winners due to their four first-half goals – the result moves the Ardsmen two-points behind Rossa in the second relegation spot as the Shaws Road men find themselves in a serious predicament.

Rossa: D Murphy, M Smith, E O’Neill, K McDonnell, S Shannon (0-02, 0-01f), C Orchin, S Beatty (0-02, 0-01f, 0-01 65’), E O’Callaghan (0-01), M Devlin (0-02), O McVicker (0-01), A Orchin, T Morgan (0-04), D McEnhill (0-02), T Murphy (1-05, 0-02f). Subs: N Crossan for K McDonnell (30 mins), A O’Brien (0-01f) for A Orchin (38 mins), J Cooley for M McGreevy (53 mins).

Ballygalget: J Crowe, B Byers, E Coulter, P McManus, J McGrath (0-01), B Toner, M Fisher (0-01), E Clarke, D McManus (0-02), D Toner (0-03), J McManus (2-01), C Bailie (0-02), T Prenter (2-04), G Johnston (0-02), C Coulter (0-01). Subs: A Doran (0-02) for J McManus (25 mins), C Coulter for T Prenter.

Referee: Kevin Parke (St Endas)

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