Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship quarter-final
Creggan 1-08-0-06 Rossa
Kevin Herron reports from Hightown
Ruairi McCann’s 24th minute goal helped Champions Creggan get the better of Rossa and book their place in the last four of the Championship after a 1-08-0-06 victory at a rainswept Hightown on Sunday afternoon.
Last year’s winners saw first place snatched from their grasp at Corrigan Park last time out and faced a Rossa side that topped Group Four with victory over Cargin at home.
Conditions were atrocious as the inclement weather put paid to any chance of a free-flowing and entertaining encounter and from early on it was clear it was going to be a bit of a lottery, so bad were the conditions.
Liam Quinn got Creggan off the mark with an angled effort that dropped between the posts, but Stephen Beatty hit a fine reply to level things up early-on.
Rossa hit the front through a converted free from goalkeeper Mick Byrne and despite Kevin Small restoring parity again- Byrne went up to land a second placed ball and give his side a 0-03-0-02 lead with less than ten minutes to the break.
The decisive moment in the half came on the 24th minute as Rossa tried to clear their lines a slip in the heavy puddles saw Ruairi McCann gifted possession and he did enough to squeeze a low shot to the Rossa net to give his side the lead for the second time in the half.
Jamie McCann ensured that a goal separated the sides at the interval, landing a straight-forward free to give his side a 1-03-0-03 advantage.
Rossa wisely opted to change their kit at the break- though the change in jerseys didn’t yield a change in fortunes.
With the driving rain at their backs Creggan’s Ruairi McCann added a second converted free of the afternoon to extend his sides lead and Tiernan McAteer then sent a fine effort inside the near post.
Mick Byrne brought his tally to 0-03 for the afternoon from the placed ball and then produced a fine stop to deny Jamie McCann from putting the game beyond doubt.
The resulting ’45’ was converted by Oisin Kerr though as Creggan were 1-06-0-04 to the good in a match that resembled a game of water polo as playing conditions worsened.
Creggan moved further clear thanks to a Ruairi McCann free and at this stage it was goals that Rossa needed if they were going to set-up a grandstand finish.
An opportunity for goal arrived when Mick Byrne came up and dropped an angled free into the square, it fell for Cormac McGettigan- but his effort flashed over the crossbar rather than under.
Both sides traded late free’s through Jamie McCann and Dominic McEnhill and in the end Creggan ran out 1-08-0-06 winners to advance to a repeat of last year’s semi-final meeting with near neighbours Cargin in a fortnights time.
Creggan: O Kerr (0-01 45’), E Carey-Small, R Johnston, E McAteer, A Maguire, M Johnston, J McCann (0-03f), K Small (0-01), K McCann, T McAteer (0-01), K Rice, O McLarnon, L Quinn (0-01), D McAteer, R McCann (1-01, 0-01f). Subs: S Duffin for D McAteer (47), K Rice for L Quinn (49), F Burke for O McLarnon (53), K Burke for M Johnston (59).
Rossa: M Byrne (0-03f), N Crossan, C Orchin, G Walsh, J Morris, C McGuinness, R Gowdy, C McGettigan (0-01), E McMenamin, D McEnhill (0-01f), T Morgan, M Mallon, S Beatty (0-01), M Armstrong, A Devlin. Subs: C McDonald for M Armstrong (16), S Shannon for A Devlin (30), SP Donnelly for N Crossan (50), C Fleming for E McMenamin (50), P Moyes for J Morris (58).
Referee: Karol Doherty (Rasharkin)