Brilliant Beatty drags Rossa back from the brink

Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC – Group Two

St John’s 1-8 O’Donovan Rossa 0-11

Colm Fleming hit some great points from frees

A superbly taken point by midfielder Stephen Beatty five minutes into second half injury time earned Rossa a well deserved late draw with West Belfast rivals St John’s in Wednesday evenings Senior Football Championship round robin game at Corrigan Park. After having led by 0-9 to 0-4 shortly after half time Rossa appeared to be on course for victory, but a brilliantly worked goal by Matt Fitzpatrick sparked a Johnnies revival and when they opened up a two point lead by the end of the third quarter they looked set to take the win. However the water break appeared to halt the home team’s momentum and with Beatty at the driving the Rossa men on they clawed their way back into the game to earn a draw.

Rossa were on top in the first half and with full forward Colm Fleming hitting some great points they were good value for their 0-8 to 0-4 half time lead, though they had goalkeeper Mick Byrne to thank for maintaing that gap after his brilliant diving save turned Matt Fitzpatrick’s well struck penalty around the post late in the half.

Stephen Beatty goes high to win the ball

When Fleming hit his fifth point in succession just after the restart Rossa were in a strong possession but St John’s began to build a bit of momentum and when Fitzpatrick found the Rossa net they were back in business. The gap was down to two at this stage but they Corrigan Park men were soon level and Paddy McBride and Domnhall Nugent sent over points. Nugent added his second to put the home side in front and when McBride added another to put two between the sides the smart money would have been on the Johnnies. However after the second half water break Rossa started to gain a bit more possession and with Beatty at the heart of everything they did they fought back to within a point with a Sean Pat Donnelly score, before Beatty slotted over a brilliant point from distance to end a highly enjoyable contest.

Matt Fitzpatrick celebrates after his goal brought St John’s back into the game

ST JOHN’S: P Donnelly; C Garland, C Carson, J Bohill; P Nugent, L Laverty, Ciaran Johnston; R McNulty (0-1), D Nugent (0-2); C Bohill, P McBride (0-2, 1 free), C McEvoy; S Tierney, M Fitzpatrick (1-2), S Wilson (0-1). Subs: S McDonagh for C Bohill (34), A McGowan for S Tierney (37), C McGlade for S Wilson (54), C Kelly for C McGlade (60+1).

ROSSA: M Byrne; R Gowdy, C Orchin, N Crossan; G Walsh, C McGuinness, D Murphy; S Beatty (0-1), C McGettigan; J Connolly, SP Donnelly (0-1), D McEnhill (0-1); E Fleming, C Fleming (0-7, 5 frees, 1 45), T Morgan. Subs: G McGrath for C McGuinness (37), M McGreevy for D Murphy (46), C McDonald for J Connolly (46), M Mallon for D McEnhill (54).

REFEREE: Eamonn McAuley (Cargin)

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