On Saturday morning last Rovers U13 squad entertained Monaghan United at Inver College. To date this Monaghan side have not dropped a single point in the league. This was to change on Saturday when in a cracking game both teams shared the spoils. The match was played on a good surface and thanks to the impromptu grounds staff off Art Agnew, Dermot Grimes, Joe Hunt and Kieran McMahon for getting the pitch set up, thanks a million lads for the help.
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Kilmessan Shield Quater Finals
|Trim Celtic||4-1||Black Bull|
Tully Bookmakers Challenge Cup
Holders: Clones Town
|Bailieboro Celtic||V||Carrick Rovers|
Carrick Rovers brought their 2011/2012 league campaign to the half way point on Sunday last when they travelled to the Monaghan Utd Complex in Gortakeegan to take on Monaghan rivals Clones Town and the resulting 90 minutes saw the South Monaghan men take the county spoils in addition to a hugely important 3 MDL Premier Division points as the season enters what looks like is going to be a very interesting second half!
Having easily accounted for Clones in the very first league fixture of the season way back in August last, Rovers knew that it would be a completely different proposition this time round against a recently resurgent Clones outfit who have had some very good results of late. And so it proved as Clones made the visitors work extremely hard for the points on offer. But get the points Rovers did, and they now sit just 2 points behind leaders Trim Celtic with both having 11 games played. For the record this was Rovers 8th win in the league this season, with just 1 defeat to date.
This was a strange game for a Rovers side whose biggest problem recently has been their inability to kill off games when well on top and who generally have kept their management and supporters on the edge of their seats in games in which they should have been out of sight. This time round they came up against a Clones side who enjoyed a lot of possession and territory throughout the 90 minutes but it was Rovers who made the most of their chances to take a 3 nil lead after 56 minutes, a lead that most of the Clones followers would have felt was highly fortunate, but a 3-0 lead it was as Rovers tried to banish the memories of their visit to play Clones last season when they lost in spite of having 24 attempts on target, a defeat which ultimately cost them their chance of a league title.
Clones started by far the brighter as they had the visitors defence under pressure from the off. Carrick were not doing themselves any favours as their passing was very poor as they gave away possession time and again but in spite of their overall good start Clones failed to really trouble Clint Marron in the Rovers goal. Rovers first real break came in the 12th minute when Wayne Kerley was released down the left but his cut back from the bye-line went just behind strike partner Barry Woods when he was well placed. A minute later Clones went close when a free header after a free kick saw Clint Marron called into action but it was the visitors who were to take the lead within 60 seconds, somewhat against the run of play, when a quick break down the left saw Wayne Kerley set up wide man Paul Byrne on the left of the penalty area and his daisy cutter shot across goal was finished to the net at the far post by influential Rovers captain Brian Marron to see Rovers in front.
5 minutes later and Rovers doubled their advantage when a poor clearance from a Clones defender was seized on in midfield and Gary McCarthy surged forward to the edge of the penalty area before unleashing a powerful low drive which flew into the net from 20 yards. Clones would have felt aggrieved at being 2 behind in spite of all their possession but Rovers defence, after a shaky start, were looking solid with Clones not really seeing any clear cut chances with their best chance of the half falling to Gerard O Callaghan but his well struck shot from the edge of the area was well held by Marron in the Rovers goal. Rovers finished the half with a good volleyed effort from Gerard McGeown from the edge of the area which went narrowly over the bar.
2 to the good at half time Rovers would not have been overly happy with their performance and knew that the next goal in the contest would be crucial. The South Monaghan side didn't have long to wait however as their 3rd goal duly arrived in the 56th minute. Barry Woods was fouled out on the right hand side of the box and Wayne Kerley stepped up to send a precision kick into the net to give Rovers what looked like an unassailable lead. With Clones now having to push forward in the hope of getting something from the game, Rovers were quite content to soak up the pressure and hit back on the counter attack and within a few seconds of coming on as a substitute in the 63rd minute, Lorcan Kwan got on the end of a great ball from Gerard McGeown after a quick counter attack down the right but his well struck effort was well saved by the Clones keeper. 2 minutes later and with the Clones rearguard exposed again Gerard McGeown came within inches of getting number 4 for Rovers when his piledriver smacked of the underside of the crossbar with the keeper beaten, only to rebound to safety from a Clones point of view. Clones were now being stretched and McGeown again came close in the 70th minute when another quick break after a corner to Clones had been cleared saw him set up just outside the penalty area but his drive was to go inches the wrong side of the post. Young striker Paudie Kirk replaced Barry Woods in the 70th minute and looked very comfortable in MDL Premier Division surroundings.
The Rovers back four of Ben Woods, Niall Babington, Ger Connolly and Martin McDermott were dealing well with everything an increasingly desperate home side were throwing at them but Clones did eventually find a lifeline with 10 minutes left on the clock. A ball over the top saw the Clones forward, who looked to have been in a clear offside position, break through and he finished well past Marron to narrow the deficit. That was almost as good as it got for the home side however as once again Rovers defence refused to be breached and the 90 minutes ended with the visitors still 2 ahead. 2 minutes into added on time however a free kick in a central area to Clones was knocked long into the penalty area and ended up in the net after a scramble with rumours suggesting that the final touch came from one of the Rovers players who sliced it into the net in his attempt to clear.
This turned out to be one of the final actions of the game however as moments later referee Peter Burns’ whistle signalled the end of this intriguing Monaghan derby and with it came a brilliant result for Rovers against a very good Clones outfit who will cause problems to any team in the league. Next up for Rovers is another league game when they welcome Monasterboice side Albion Rovers to Birdy Development Park on Sunday next.
Carrick Rovers: Clint Marron, Ben Woods, Martin McDermott, Niall Babington, Ger Connolly, Brian Marron, Gary McCarthy, Gerard McGeown, Barry Woods (Paudie Kirk 70), Wayne Kerley, Paul Byrne (Lorcan Kwan 65).