Homefit Antrim Football League Division One
O’Donovan Rossa 1-11 Erin’s Own, Cargin 0-12
Rossa continued life in the fast lane as they overcame the challenge of county champions Cargin in an exciting encounter on the Shaw’s Road yesterday. Hugh McGettigan’s side have shown marked improvement under his guidance this year and they now look serious challengers for honours.
It took two well struck Colm Fleming frees late in the game to secure victory however and the big man kept his cool to get his side over the line with a draw looking the likely outcome.
The hosts were full value for their win however as they defended well throughout, held their own at mid-field and were able to take their opportunities when they arrived.
Botyh sides started with a number of regulars missing and it gave an opportunity to the younger members of both squads to show what they could do and there was much on show to please both management teams.
I t was one of Rossa’s more experienced member, Colm Fleming’s who provided the vital scores however and his goal from a 12th minute penalty that proved crucial in the end. Both sides entered this game unbeaten with the Rossa win certainly a huge boost to their morale as they moved to the top of Division One.
Cargin, were first off the mark as Kieran Close pointed a second minute free after John Carron had been fouled, but the hosts were level immediately as Cormac McGettigan bust through to fist over.
A pair of Colm Fleming frees put Rossa ahead again and things got even better after 12 minutes when the home side were awarded a penalty after Padraic McLaughlin was adjudged to have fouled McGettigan and Fleming stepped-up to finish confidently to make it 1-3 to 0-1.
Close responded with a free at the other end but Rossa were flying and Thomas Morgan burst through on the left with his rasping shot just clearing the bar before Cargin got their first from play just before the water break as Kevin McShane pointed.
Close and Morgan traded frees after the resumption as Cargin began to get into their stride and finished the half strongly, hitting the last three points of the half through Sean Og Quinn with Ronan Kelly adding two more.
Rossa goalkeeper Conal McDonald then denied Mark Kelly before Rossa had a second appeal for a penalty waved aside when Thomas Morgan appeared to be fouled as he broke through in stoppage time, but the hosts went in at the break holding a 1-5 to 0-7 advantage.
Cargin came out flying at the start of the second half the second half, but were finding a well organised Rossa defence hard to break down and they broke with great effect to punish the visitors as Dominic McEnhill collected a good ball inside to turn and score.
Erin’s Own started to get it together at this stage as Gerard McCorley finished a good move and Mark Kelly then hit the equaliser and it looked at this stage that the contest was beginning to swing in favour of the visitors.
Cargin then hit the front as they forced a turnover and Paul McCann fired over, but Rossa responded as Niall Crossan guided a shot over before a Close free restored the Cargin advantage once more.
Again, the hosts replied with McEnhill finding Colm Fleming who curled over a great point to leave the sides level at 1-8 to 0-11 at the second half water break and all to play for.
Rossa had the bit firmly between their teeth as the final session got under way as McEnhill put them back in front before Paul McCann tied the game once again when he raced clear before cutting back onto his right to curl over as beauty but the visitors spurned a couple of chances to go ahead.
They were made to pay as Rossa countered and won a free that Fleming nailed from distance and he added another deep in stoppage time to seal it for the Shaw’s Road outfit.
ROSSA: C McDonald; P Moyes, C McGuinness, C Orchin; R Gowdy, G McGrath, N Crossan (0-1); C McGettigan (0-1), C Fleming (1-5, 0-4 frees, 1-0 penalty); T Morgan (0-2, 1 free), D McEnhill (0-2), M Mallon; A Devlin, D Armstrong, R Currie. Subs: B McAuley for R Gowdy (37), P McGreevy for C McGuinness (47), M McEnhill for R Currie (50), R Murray for A Devlin (55), L Carr for T Morgan (60).
CARGIN: B Laverty; S Og Quinn (0-1), K O’Boyle, G McCorley (0-1); S O’Neill, R Gribbin, P McLoughlin; K McShane (0-1), J Carron; D Johnston, P McCann (0-2), E Quinn; K Close (0-4, all frees), M Kelly (0-1), B Kelly (0-2). Subs: R Devlin for S O’Neill (HT), S Gribbin for R Gribbin (42), PJ Quinn for S Gribbin (53).
REFEREE: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)