Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship (Qtr Final)
St. Brigid’s (Antrim) 0-10 Rostrevor (Down) 1-13
St. Bronagh’s Rostrevor started and finished strongly to dash the ambitions of St. Brigid’s Belfast in this keenly contested Ulster Club Intermediate Championship quarter final at Corrigan Park on Sunday.
A goal by Down county star, Caolan Mooney in the 14th minute left the Musgrave Park side chasing the game and at half-time they looked to have it all to do when they trailed the Mourne men 1-7 to 0-5. After the break the Antrim champions battled bravely and at one stage they looked to have the opposition on the ropes but Rostrevor finished strongly to claim a somewhat flattering 1-13 to 0-10 win.
The Mourne men crossed the winning line and into the semi finals holding a six point advantage but the Saffron champions will look to a series of unforced errors and a number of missed opportunities as they reflect on what might have been.
The South Belfast men who have impressed this year on their way to their second Intermediate title in their short history, held their own in the opening phase but a stray pass allowed St. Bronagh’s in for an opportunist goal as Piaras Kane sent Caolan Mooney in to claim what was to prove the only goal of the game.
This goal gave Rostrevor the initiative and ensured they held a 1-07 to 0-05 interval advantage.
The Antrim champions had started well and a couple of early points from the ever accurate Ronan Mc Grady and one from James Smith ensured they were on level terms at 0-03 to 0-03 at the 12th minute but the concession of the Mooney goal seemed to knock them for six for a time.
Rostrevor began moving the ball with supreme confidence and points from Piaras Kane, Conor Feagan and another from net-minder Jonathan Parr, who despatched a 23rd minute ‘45’ between the posts, put them 1-07 to 0-03 ahead.
St Brigid’s regained composure in the latter stages of the half as Ronan Mc Grady despatched a couple of points, one claimed from away out on the left side in the 25th minute and another from 50 metres after the high fielding Enda Clark was fouled in the middle.
The Antrim champions dominated the closing stages of the half and indeed might have had a goal nearing the break but a cute James Smith chip went just wide of the posts.
St Brigid’s needed a good start to the second half if they were to get back into contention but in the event the Down side were to add a couple of points to their advantage by the 35th minute as Piaras Kane raised white in the 32nd minute and Conor Feagan clipped over another from a close range free a couple of minutes later.
Ronan Mc Grady saw his mammoth 60 metre free go wide off the post in between those concessions but he followed up with back to back points from placed efforts in the 37th and 40th minutes to get St Brigid’s back on course.
The Antrim champions were ruling the roost in the central zone where the high fielding Enda Clarke excelled and a foul on the latter in the 44th minute opened the way for the sharp shooting Mc Grady to add another point and the deficit was reduced to four points, 1-09 to 0-08.
Rostrevor seemed to have lost their way as the home side gained in confidence but another lapse in concentration and unforced error saw the Down men hit on the counter again.
Niall Farrell led the charge and a foul on Caolan Mooney was punished by the unerring Conor Feagan who claimed another point from the resultant free.
The St Brigid’s men were being asked serious questions but they were soon back in the groove again as Ronan Mc Grady raised another white flag.
This 48th minute score reduced the deficit to four points and indeed this could well have been reduced to the minimum when a poor kick out was seized upon by Mc Grady with the goal at his mercy with only the keeper to beat.
The ace marks man bore down on the target with intent but slipped as he was about to shoot and a great opportunity went a begging.
St. Brigid’s were now gaining the upper hand however as Enda Clark seized the kick out and sent James Smith in to send between the posts and only three points separated the sides with the Musgrave Park side now on top.
Rostrevor looked in trouble for the first time in the game but again an unforced error was to cost St. Brigid’s dearly, as a stray pass on the ‘40’ was intercepted by corner back Jonathan Connelly and a well laid counter led to a 54th minute Piaras Kane point.
This score settled the visitors again and they finished strongly as Conor Feagan added a pointed free in the 61st minute and another by Caolan Mooney in the 65th minute ensured the Down men were on their way to the semis by virtue of a hard earned 1-13 to 0-10 victory over a gallant St Brigid’s.
Referee Niall Mc Kenna (Monaghan)
Stephen Morrissey, Andy Sweeney (c), Conor King, Finn Mc Kernan, Michael Cummings, Kevin Gallagher, Ben Synott, Enda Clark, Cathal Conway, Ruairdh O’ Neill, James Smith (0-02), John Blayney, Peter Webb, Ronan Mc Grady (0-08), Jack Dowling.
Ethan Carleton for J Blayney
Rory Flanagan for R O’ Neill
Niall George for C King
Ben Leonard for J Dowling
Jonathan Parr (0-01), Jonathan Connolly, Darren Mc Elhinney, Jarlath Farrell (c), Conall Gordan (0-01), Niall Farrell, Christopher Magee, Caolan Mooney (1-01), Connor Magee, Brian Keenan, Peter Magee, Joe Morgan, Shaun Parr (0-01), Piaras Kane (0-03), Conor Feagan (0-06).
Nicky Murray for C Gordan
Jordan Feagan for P Magee
Conor Doyle for B Keenan
James Rice for C Magee
James Donaghy for J Morgan
Adam Clark for N Murray