Carrick Rovers 13’s side reached their first Final on Saturday where they came up against CMUL 13’s Premier Champions Ballyjamesduff for the Premier Shield. The game was played at Clara Lane, home of Cootehill Harps on the new Astro-pitch. Rovers came out of the blocks straight away and got had BJD worried by their movement and passing. With Oisin O’Hanlon, Liam Og Murray and Tiernan McCourt, in the engine room of midfield, Rovers bossed the early exchanges.
Dylan McCahey and Dylan Carolan on the flanks were giving great options for the Rovers midfield to pick out and Tadg Callaghan upfront was causing lots of problems for the BJD defenders. After 3 minutes Rovers created the 1st real opportunity when Eoghan Duffy strode forward from left back and linked up with McCourt who sprayed a ball out to McCahey who breezed past his marker before flashing a ball across the 6 yard box but Callaghan just failed to reach. This was a prelude to the opening goal which came 5 minutes later when this time Murray picked out McCahey’s run. The tricky winger took control before again drilling a magnificent ball across the goal this time Callaghan got a touch which took the ball to the back post where Carolan was on hand to coolly stroke the ball home. It was all Carrick at this stage. Cathal O’Rourke, Jared Wenham, Tiernan O’Riordain and Duffy looked comfortable, dealing with what the BJD attack had to offer and Killian McNulty hadn’t much to do in the Rovers nets. Again Rovers looked the more threatening and could have extended their lead on 12 minutes when Murray drove forward from midfield and found Caroaln in space but his effort was well saved by the BJD Goalkeeper. Rovers had made a brilliant start but BJD aren’t Champions for no reason and they began to come more and more into the game. After 18 minutes they put a flowing move together eventually working the ball down their right wing where the BJD player controlled and went at O’Riordain just outside the area. The Carrick defender giving the free away in a dangerous position. The BJD player struck a great shot up and over the wall giving McNulty no chance. This seemed to change the whole structure of the game as Rovers seemed to lose belief in what they were doing and BJD gained control. Rovers just couldn’t seem to clear their lines now and began to concede corner after corner and eventually BJD made one of these count and doubled their lead. On 25 minutes they added to their lead again from a long range free-kick. The half time couldn’t come quickly enough for Rovers at this stage as BJD looked likely to score from ever attack.
Half-Time Carrick Rovers 1-3 BJD
After a stern talk at the interval Rovers came out with a new belief and started the 2nd period as they had the 1st. Cian Maher, Donnacha Swinburne and Jack McGeown came on as replacements and Rovers looked the more likely to get the next goal and it came in the 42nd minute. Wenham and O’Hanlon combined in midfield to release McCahey on the left wing, but as he cut inside he had is journey cut short by a BJD player. Murray stood over the ball some 35 yards from goal and blasted a thunderous shot all the way into the far corner. Rovers were on a high now and nearly restored parity when O’Riordain latched onto a loose ball just inside the BJD half and his dipping shot just cleared the crossbar. Rhys Jones came in for Duffy at left back and Bendera was introduced for Carolan on the right. Rovers again came looking for a well deserved equalizer and created a great chance on 48 minutes when McCourt and Murray combined on the edge of the area but Murray’s clever through ball to Swinburne just hadn’t enough on it to put the striker clear and his effort was charged down. With less than 10 minutes to go Rovers changed shape and went with 3 at the back but got caught out straight away from a swift counter-attack that saw BJD extend their lead. The game was over a minute later as BJD ran in their 5th goal almost from the restart and rubbed salt into the wound when they scored again with 2 minutes to go to register a score that didn’t do justice to Rovers hard efforts.
Full-Time Carrick Rovers 2-6 Ballyjamesduff
Team: Killian McNulty, Cathal O’Rourke, Jared Wenham, Tiernan O’Riordain, Eoghan Duffy, Dylan Carolan, Oisin O’Hanlon, Liam Og Murray, Tiernan McCourt, Dylan McCahey, Tadg Callaghan, Bendera, Jack McGeown, Cian Maher, Rhys Jones and Donnacha Swinburne.
No silverware and a harsh lesson in finishing but this squad is a Work in Progress and will be a lot stronger after their 1st season in 11 aside Football.