ACFL Division 3
Rasharkin 3-20 Na Piarsaigh 1-5
It’s still early days but on the evidence of what I witnessed on Sunday, St. Mary’s Rasharkin are on course to go through their division 3 league campaign without dropping a point.
Na Piarsaigh, who had been going well themselves were the latest victims of the league leaders at Dreen on Sunday and the home side had put this one to bed as early as the 16th minute with goals from Ryan Lynch and Shane Hasson.
They led by 2-5 to 0-1 at this stage and some of the football they displayed was right out of the top drawer as they moved the ball through the hands at speed and their intelligent movement opened up the visitors defence, time and again while their high press forced turn over after turn over.
Eamon McNeill got Rasharkin on their way from a pointed free in the second minute and then fielded a Na Piarsaigh kick-out before putting Ryan Lynch through on goal and the big man finished with aplomb.
The impressive McNeill added his second point and Shane Hasson pointed a free to move St. Mary’s 1-2 to 0-0 ahead by the 9th minute as the visitors struggled to put a meaningful attack together.
Their best player on the day, Sean Moreland finally got them off the mark with a point in the 10th minute but two minutes later Eamon McKenna in the Na Piarsaigh goals had to be at his best to deny Eammon McNeill at the expense of a point.
The Dreen Machine continued to attack and Donagh Quigg got forward from corner back to send over and when Shane Hasson got on the end of a good build up to rifle home their second goal they were 10 in front.
Na Piarsaigh were still giving it everything but with little success but Stephen Fitzsimmons fired over their second point from distance in the 19th minute to give them a glimmer of hope.
Back came the ‘Hoops’ however and Ryan Lynch pointed a close range free after the ball had been moved forward for dissent and further points from Eammon McNeill and Killian O’Boyle in reply to a fine point from Ciaran McCavana had the home side 2-9 to 0-3 ahead at the break.
With the wind now behind them Na Piarsaigh would have hoped for a change of fortunes in the second half but it was Rasharkin who continued where they had left off as they hit three points in quick succession through O’Boyle, Lynch and McNeill.
The visitors opened their second half account through a Daniel Magee free but McNeill replied with his second of the half and Ryan Lynch fired over after claiming a ‘Mark’ as the one way traffic towards the visitor’s goal continued.
Further minors from Eammon McNeill and Ryan Lynch moved the home side 2-15 to 0-5 ahead by the 16th minute, the Na Piarsaigh point coming from a Stephen Fitzsimmons free and it had become an exercise in damage limitation at this stage.
The league leaders were in no mood to rest on their laurels however as Ryan Lynch, Ruairi O’Boyle and Lynch again added point before the hard working Sean Moreland pointed at the other end.
Moreland was still busting a gut and looked to have been rewarded for his work when he cut in from the right and fired past the advancing Andrew Hasson but his shot was saved on the line by Emmet McFerran and cleared to safety.
That was as good as it got for the North Belfast side and Rasharkin finished as they had started with Ryan Lynch stroking over two more points and Eammon McNeill putting the icing on a five star performance with a splendid late goal.
This win puts Rasharkin five points ahead of second place O’Donnell’s, who recorded a good win over St. Comgall’s in Antrim and the MacRory Park side do have a game in hand and still have Rasharkin to play at Dreen.
Laochra Loch Lao continued their good form with a win over Eire Og and move into third place with Na Piarsaigh now in fourth after yesterday’s defeat.
Rasharkin: 1 Andrew Hasson, 2 Pearce Kelly, 3 Emmet McFerran, 4 Donagh Quigg, 5 Fearghal Kennedy, 6 Conor Hasson, 7 Fergus Quigg, 8 Cathal Mooney, 9 Ruairi O’Boyle, 10 Shane Hasson, 11 Thomas McMullan, 12 Oran McMullan, 13 Killian O’Boyle, 14 Eammon McNeill 15 Ryan Lync
Na Piarsaigh:1 Eamonn McKenna, 2 Darren O’Neill, 3 Tom McCall, 4 Jim Collins, Philip Murray, 6 Aodhan McCavanagh, 7 Nathan Gorman, 8 Ruairi Bannon, 9 Piaras Donaghy, 10 Ciaran McCavana, 11 Stephen Fitzsimmons, 12 Sean Moreland, 13 Michael Girvan, 25 Michael Bannon, 15 James Smith
Referee: Richie Leahy