ACHL Division 1
O’Donovan Rossa 1-15
Rossa retained their division 1 status for another year when they travelled to Ballygalget last night and recorded an impressive win over the Ards’ men and in doing so condemned them to a play-off place for their own survival against Sarsfields.
Deaglan Murphy was the man who led the way for the Shaw’s Road side hitting 1-12 over the hour and his accuracy from the placed ball went a long way in securing the points in a keenly contested game.
Ballygalget now face a two-legged play-off with Sarsfield’s to decide who plays in the top flight next season but they will look back at this one with some regret as two shots for goal came back off the uprights over the hour.
However, it was Rossa who led all the way and while the home side enjoyed periods of dominance they couldn’t get the necessary scores as Rossa dug deep when necessary with Cricky McGuinness, Stephen Shannon and Míchéal McGreevy in the closing stages standing firm in defence to deny them the goal that might have ignited their challenge.
That goal never arrived and indeed Rossa could have been much further than three ahead at the break as Gareth Johnson in the home goal pulled of a couple of superb saves, while a number of shots tailed wide due to a tricky cross field breeze.
The visitors got off to the perfect start with Murphy tapping over the first of his frees before he got in for what was to prove the only goal of the game to open a 1-1 to 0-0 lead after five minutes.
Danny Toner replied with the first of his nine points overall from a free on the night but Michael Armstrong responded with a fine score after racing clear from midfield.
Toner replied from another free before Murphy converted two from placed balls while Thomas Morgan added a fine score after collecting from Stephen Beatty.
Ballygalget’s might have had a goal at the end of the opening quarter as Tim Prenter found himself in on goal, but his rasping shot came back off the crossbar and into the grateful hand of Stephen Shannon and from the resulting clearance Rossa broke up field themselves but Johnson got his hurl to Morgan’s shot.
Ballygalget began to enjoy a bit of success at this stage with Toner scoring an excellent point from an acute angle and Jordan Doran and Toner again adding two frees to cut the Rossa lead to two points.
Rossa responded as Matt Devlin found McGreevy from a poc-out and he passed to the unmarked Aidan Orchin and the corner back steadied before driving over from his own half.
Free takers,Murphy for Rossa and Toner for the home side exchanged two apiece to leave Rossa 1-8 to 0-8 ahead at the break and they might have had another goal but Johnston got his foot to Stephen Beatty’s shot to deny the Rossa man.
Ballygalget made the better start to the second half with Doran pointing within the opening minute and Prenter adding another from out on the left to bring his side to within a point and a come-back looked on the cards at this stage.
Deaglan Murphy replied from a couple of frees to edge the visitors three in front once more as the second-half settled into another battle of the free-takers.
Toner added two to Murphy’s one as Ballygalget began to look more dangerous in attack but they cursed their luck in the 52nd minute when Toner fielded superbly and his shot beat Devlin in the Rossa goal but ricocheted back of a post and was cleared to safety.
Murphy replied from another free to extend the Rossa lead to three once more leaving the Ard’s men in need of a goal but as they pushed forward, the Rossa sharp shooter punished them with three further points to make the game safe.
Ballygalget had one final chance for goal when they were awarded a 20 meter free in stoppage time and Johnson came forward from goal but he didn’t make a good connection with his shot and it was cleared to safety as the Rossa defence stood tall.
Rossa have ensured themselves division 1 hurling for another year while Ballygalget face a tricky two leg play-off against a Sarsfield’s side who were pipped to the divison 2 title by St. Enda’s who secured the title with a win over Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh last night.
BALLYGALGET: G Johnson; Paul McManus, M Fisher, J Smith; Peter McManus, J McManus, B Toner; M Toner, J Doran (0-2); G Roddy, Caolan Coulter, A Doran; D Toner (0-9, 7 frees), O Clarke, T Prenter (0-1). Sub: Cathal Coulter for M Toner (43)
ROSSA: M Devlin; N Crossan, C McGuinness, A Orchin (0-1); C Orchin, Stephen Shannon, M McGreevy; C Shannon, M Armstrong (0-1); Seaghan Shannon, C McVeigh, S Beatty; D Murphy (1-12, 0-11 frees), T Morgan (0-1), T Murphy. Subs: M Smith for N Crossan (34), J Connolly for A Orchin (40), N Devlin for T Morgan (60), C O’Neill for T Murphy (60+5).
REFEREE: Mark O’Neill (Armoy)