U21 A Championship Quarter Final
Tír na nÓg 3.7 (16)
Rossa 1.14 (17)
By Aimee McAtamnee at Cliftonville
A point from their star performer Eoin McMenamin, two minutes into injury time sealed victory for Rossa over a Tir na nOg side who for long periods in the game appeared to be heading for a place in the semi-final in an excellent game of football played at Cliftonville on Saturday
In a keenly contested battle Tír na nÓg started the stronger and put themselves in pole position by striking first with two majors but it was Rossa who gathered momentum in the second half and withheld a late Tír na nÓg come back to hold out for victory.
After 15 minutes Tír na nÓg were in the driving seat having went 2-1 to no score ahead through an Aaron McNeilly goal and 1-1 from Darragh Fegan. Rossa pulled 2 points back through Michael McGreevy and Micheal Close before disaster struck for the Whitehill team as they were reduced to 14 men. Ciaran O’ Neill and Darragh Fegan increased their lead to 6 points before Eoghan McMenanin got his first score of the day and at this stage the momentum was very much with the South West side. Tír na nÓg pushed further ahead with three points from Darragh Fegan (2) and Emmet Murray and were looking comfortable at this stage.
Towards the end of the half Rossa rallied with a few scores to keep themselves in touching distance as Gerard Walsh (1), Micheal McGreevy (1) and Eoin McMenanin (2) reduced the lead to 5 at half time.
Continuing the first half trend Tír na nÓg got the first score of the second half from Ciaran O’Neill to go 6 ahead, however the tide began to turn as Rossa hit the next six scores as Eoghan McMenanin, Gerard Walsh and McGreevy clawed the lead back to 3 points with 10minutes remaining.
Tír na nÓg went completely defensive at this stage pulling 13 men behind the ball in an effort to close down the game resulting in them struggling to break the opposing 45 meter line to cause a threat. Rossa took advantage of this and Eoghan McMenanin converted another free and mid fielder Cormac Murray scored an excellent point.
With Tír na nÓg holding on by the skin of their teeth the nail in the coffin came when Darren Grego found the back of the net to put his side up by 2 points for the first time in the game with 6 minutes left to play and Eoghan McMenanin scored his 6th point of the day to increase that gap to three.
When all hope for the Whitehill side looked lost referee Charlie Hemsworth s penalised an off the ball offence on substitute full forward Stephen Carey and awarded Tír na nÓg a penalty.
With normal time almost up, Ciaran O’Neill stepped up to hit the penalty but credit to Michael Byrne who got down low and saved the shot only for Ciaran Porter to sneak in at the back post and finish the rebound to the net to bring matters all square.
The game looked to be heading for extra time but two minutes into injury time but in one final aatack Rossa broke fast from their kick out and man of the match Eoghan McMenanin popped the ball over the bar for his seventh point and the team’s winning point of the game.
Tir na nOg: 1. SP McAtamney 2. O. McAtamney 3. D. Martin 4. D. Mallon 5. C. O’ Neill 6. S. Duffin 7. P. Cullen 8. B. McCormick 9. D. McCormick 10. E. Óg McAllister 11. A. McNeilly 12. M. Toland 13. E. Murray 14. A. Toland 15. D. Fegan 17. L. Maguire 18. D. Hastings 19. C. Devlin 20.S.Carey 21. C. Porter
Subs used: C. Devlin for E. Óg McAllister (35mins), C. Porter for E. Murray (52mins), S. Carey for A. Toland (58mins)
Scorers: A. McNeilly (1.0), D. Fegan (1.4- 1free), C. O’Neill (0.2), E. Murray (0.1), C. Porter (1.0)
Rossa: 1. M. Byrne 2. M. McIvor 3. G. McGrath 4. M. Smith 5. N. Crossan 6. M. McGreevy 7. J. Cooley 8. G. Walsh 9. C. Murray 10. C. McGettigan 11. E. McMenamin 12. T. Murray 13. M. Close 14. D. Matthews 15. C. Shannon
Scorers: M. Close (0.1), M. McGreevy (0.3), G. Walsh (0.2), E. McMenanin (0.7- 3 frees), C. Murray (0.1), D. Grego (1.0)
Referee: Charlie Hemsworth