Rossa and Sarsfields can’t be separated

Creagh Concreate Minor Football Championship

Rossa 2-09-3-06 Sarsfields

By Kevin Herron at Rossa Park

Rossa and Sarsfields couldn’t be separated as the neighbours shared the spoils in the opening round of the Creagh Concreate Minor Football Championship after a 2-09-3-06 draw at Rossa Park this afternoon.

Both sides met in the South Antrim Dwyer Cup quarter-final pre-Covid and Sarsfields edged a thrilling contest 6-06-5-08 and there was much anticipation that another breath-taking contest lay in store.

Pic by Bert Trowlen

Rossa moved ahead early-on through a Barra McCafferty free but Sarsfields spurned two early goal opportunities, on both occasions Conall Duffy was involved- first playing a diagonal pass to Miceál Ferris but Ferris was denied by the foot of Se McCashin in Rossa goal.

Duffy combined with Ruairi Devlin for the equalising score and a minute later slipped in Daniel McDonald- who was denied by McCashin at close range and at the expense of a 45’.

Paul Gorman nudged Sarsfields ahead after being felled and Rossa lost Ben McAuley to a black-card after nine minutes.

Despite a numerical disadvantage for ten minutes Rossa were back on terms through Barra McCafferty [free].

A terrific Miceál Ferris point had Sarsfields in-front for the second time with little over ten minutes of the first-half remaining.

The opening goal of the game arrived after 21-minutes and fell to the hosts as Caolán O’Duibhfinn confidently burst forward and placed his low into the bottom right hand corner to give Rossa a 1-02-0-03 lead.

Their lead was extended on the stroke of half-time as Barra McCafferty popped the ball over after some intelligent work from Diarmaid Rogan.

Things were to get better as with almost the final attack of the half, Rossa claimed their second goal. Michael McDade attempted to round Jonathan Rodgers and find the net, only to be thwarted on the line- but Michael McEnhill was on hand to turn the rebound to the net and ensure his side led 2-03-0-03 at the interval.

Pic by Bert Trowlen

Miceál Ferris cut the deficit with a smart point upon the resumption and it was game on at Rossa Park when Conall Duffy slipped an inside pass to Daniel McDonald who atoned for his first-half miss to close the gap to just two-points (2-03-1-04).

Converted frees from Michael McDade and Barra McCafferty steadied the ship for the hosts and they were afforded a numerical advantage for ten-minutes when Caolan McDonnell was shown a black-card.

They immediately capitalised as Barra McCafferty played a short free to Diamaid Rogan- took the return pass and guided it over the bar, a further point from the impressive and hard-working Eoin Trainor had Rossa 2-07-1-04 ahead with little under a quarter of an hour remaining.

Back to back converted frees from Miceál Ferris kept Sarsfields in touch and the return of Caolan McDonnell strengthened the Paddies cause in the final ten minutes.

It was game on again on the 56th minute as Sarsfields hit the net for the second time, a beautifully flighted cross-field pass from substitute Caoimhin Kennedy picked out Daniel McDonald in space and McDonald slotted home his second of the afternoon to put the bare minimum between the sides (2-07-2-06).

Points from Barra McCafferty and substitute Matthew McKiernan gave Rossa slight breathing space but Sarsfields were determined to leave with at least a share of the spoils.

Pic by Bert Trowlen

The visitors almost found the net after Paul Gorman steered the ball into the path of Caoimhin Kennedy whose shot was parried to safety by Se McCashin.

It wasn’t to deter a further goal chance two minutes later this time Paul Gorman had the chance and made no mistake to draw his side level (2-09-3-06).

Sarsfields thought they had earned the full spoils in the aftermath but a late shot was adjudged to have tailed wide and in the end the points were shared after another thrilling encounter.

Pic by Kevin Herron

Rossa: S McCashin, F Mcilroy, P McLaughlin, B McBurney, C Boyle, P Moyes, O May, C Cooley, B McAuley, C O’Duibhfinn (1-00), B McCafferty (0-06, 0-04f), E Trainor (0-01), M McEnhill (1-00), D Rogan, M McDade (0-01). Subs: R Murray for B McAuley (HT), D Magee for D Rogan (36), M McKiernan for F Mcilroy (55), P Short for M McEnhill (64).

Sarsfields: J Rodgers, C McDonnell, P Murray, J Panikulangara, C Duffy, M Johnston, R McShane, J Mac an Fhaili, M Ferris (0-04, 0-02f), R Patterson, R Devlin (0-01), C Donnelly, S Hughes, D McDonald (2-00), P Gorman (1-01, 0-01f). Subs: D McMenamin for C Donnelly (36), C Kennedy for R Patterson (49), E O’Cuinneagain for C Duffy (61).

Referee: Rab Lappin (Lámh Dhearg)

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