Relegation spectre looms for Rasharkin but survival still possible

ACFL Division 2

Sarsfields 1-15 Rasharkin 2-7

Report and pics: Mark Hasson

A minutes silence was observed before this vital division 2 clash at the Bear Pit for Sarsfield’s recently deceased member, Jim McMenamin before the home side took on visitors Rasharkin in a game where the points could mean relegation or survival for both sides.

Padraig Sarsfields were in a much stronger position going into last night’s game and this win in effect will have shaken off any lingering relegation worries while Rasharkin are staring relegation in the face going into their final game away to Aldergrove.

Sarsfields came from behind to win the corresponding game at Dreen at the end of May and were first off the mark when Gary Lennon pointed them ahead in the second minute. Conor Laverty, Sam Walsh and Cormac Murray added three more by the 12th minute to move the home side 0-4 to 0-0 ahead and it was looking like a long night for the visitors.

Ryan Lynch finally got them on the score sheet with a point in the 13th minute with Gary Lennon replying immediately with Sarsfield’s fifth point but a Lynch point from a free in the 19th minute kept the visitors in touch but they were struggling to deal with a slick moving Sarsfield’s attack.

Back came the men from the Bear Pit and they looked to have put themselves in a strong position when the ball ended in the net in the 22nd minute but the score was ruled out for a square ball infringement, much to the visitors relief.

Brian Healey pointed a free for the home side before Conor Hasson finished a well worked team score with a point in the 24th minute which he started himself from deep before applying an excellent finish.

It failed to bring an immediate response from his colleagues as the ‘Paddies’ replied with points from a Brian Healey free and another from Thomas Skillen but St. Mary’s were handed a lifeline as the game edged into first half stoppage time.

Sarsfield’s failed to deal with a long ball in from mid-field and the ball broke favourably to Ruairi O’Boyle and ‘Blondie’ finished to the net to close the gap to two points as Colm McDonald blew for half time.

The second half was only a minute old when Sarsfield’s were awarded a penalty and an opportunity of restoring their five point advantage but Conor Glenholmes’ effort sailed over for a point.

This let off seemed to lift the visitors and they responded with a well worked team goal with Eamon McNeill starting the move with a strong solo run before feeding the ball off the shoulder to Ruair O’Boyle. O’Boyle found Seamus Ellis and he placed Lynch who finished with aplomb to bring matters level with only four minutes of the new half gone.

Gary Lennon for Sarsfield’s and Shane Hasson for the Dreen men exchanged further points but a pointed Brian Healey free and another from play by Kevin Floyd moved the home side two in front again by the 12th minute.

The hard working Ryan Lynch closed the gap to the minimum once more but Sarsfield’s replied again with a point from Brian Healey and the home side struck a killer blow. The ‘Paddies’ forced a turnover deep in their own half and an early ball into Thomas Skillen saw him turn his marker before soloing clear from 30 meters out before finishing to the net.

Rasharkin tried to respond and came back with points from Shane Hasson and Donagh Quigg to close the gap to two with two minutes remaining but that was close as they got with Skillen and Healey replying with points for the home side to ensure there would be no way back for the visitors.

This win leaves sarsfields well clear of the relegation zone but plunges Rasharkin into bottom spot after St. Teresa’s Lazerath like recovery in recent weeks continued with an impressive 5-10 to 2-12 win away to St. James Aldergrove which sees them climb above he Dreen men.

With one game left Rasharkin travel to St. James and must win and hope that St. Joseph’s Glenavy defeat St. Teresa’s at Chapel Hill in order to avoid a relegation play-off with the division 3 runners up.

Sarsfields: 1 Michael Brady, 2 Martin McPolin, 3 Miceal Ferris, 5 Philp McPeake, 6 Daniel McKiernan, 7 Calvin McCurry, 8 Cormac Murray, 9 Gary Lennon, 11 Conor Glenholmes, 12 Kevin Floyd, 13 Thomas Skillen, 14 Sam Walsh, 26 Conor Laverty, 28 Eamon Quinn

Rasharkin: 1 – Tiernan O’Boyle, 2 – Conor Higgins, 3 – Emmet McFerran, 4 – Pearse Kelly, 5 – Donagh Quigg, 6 – Conor Hasson, 7 – Colm Kennedy, 8 – Thomas McMullan, 9 – Ruairi OBoyle, 10 – Seamus Ellis, 11 – Eammon McNeill, 12 – Shane Hasson, 13 – Ryan Lynch, 14 – Conor McKeever, 15 – Andrew Hasson

Referee: Colm McDonald (St. Gall’s)

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