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This Week's Aletto

Valley Lodge,  25th March

Letters: A S I L

Winner: Alison Deery Ward, 18 ONeill St, Carrickmacross 

Jackpot: Euro 2,300

Next week: Deery's

Jackpot: Euro 1,000


A thrilling 70(+) mins of football

Carrick Rovers 2-2 Cavan Celtic
CMUL 14 Championship

Rovers kicked off only their 2nd match of 2013 against league title hopefuls Cavan Celtic, who were yet to drop points in the league this season, on the convent lands. Not having played a competitive match for a number of weeks Rovers were hungry for game time and anxious for a good start. Before the match whistle had even blown Celtic were keen to make life difficult for the Rovers, demanding ball boys to retrieve wayward balls for their players. Credit to the Rovers players though, they kept their focus and found just reward as the midfield played in Dylan Ward who used his pace to find himself one on one with the Celtic keeper and fired home to give his team an early lead.

Eoghan Dilan and Conor O’Rourke operating on the left and right of midfield for their first time started well, keeping their width and protecting their full backs as well as pushing forward at every opportunity. Fionnan Cassidy and Michal Stemplewski marshalled the centre of midfield, spreading the ball wide and making it difficult for the opposition.

The pitch was in good condition considering the weather of recent weeks, and with a slight but cold breeze sweeping across the pitch it was a good opportunity for Rovers to find their passing rhythm. But it was Cavan Celtic who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession as they chased an equaliser. Rovers back four of Dylan Mc Enaney, Cormac, Adam and Euan battled hard, working for each other and falling in behind one another to make challenge after challenge. As Celtic pressed and probed they found themselves in some good positions, and on the rare occasions they got in behind the back four, Breffini Henry was in fine form to deal with the leftovers. With Rovers limited to attacking on the counter, Celtic eventually found a break and after good closing down and blocking Rovers were unlucky to see the ball drop kindly to a Celtic player who didn’t hesitate to slot the ball into the back of the Rovers net to tie the score at 1-1

Rovers picked themselves up and tried again, fighting hard across midfield with the strikers dropping back to help out and try to secure better possession for the team. Eoin Duffy entered the fray at left midfield to steady the ship giving Eoghan a well earned break from his introduction at left flank where he had run box to box for 20 minutes solid. Jack Gillick led the line well up front, and was involved in working Dylan Ward through on goals down the right wing. A 50-50 race between the opposition keeper and Dylan, it was Dylan who found that extra yard of pace to round the keeper but was forced wide and just couldn’t find the goals as the Celtic defenders scampered back to defend the goal mouth. In a fairly open game, both sides enjoyed good passages of play but found it difficult to find a clear opening. It was Rovers who overcame that difficulty with some short passing in the middle of the park to create some space to deliver a killer ball over the top for Dylan Ward to run onto. One on one with the keeper there was only going to be one outcome as Dylan grabbed his second of the match. Keeper may have got a hand to the ball but it wasn't enough as Rovers regained their one goal lead, 2-1.

Celtic came again at the Rovers, but were greatly unsettled by the hard tackling and passion shown by the Rovers players, Adam Lynagh at one stage with a great block on the line to deny the opposition a goal. Not to be outdone Dylan McEnaney had his fair share of meaty tackles and blocks and Euan also getting in on the action at left back. Celtic were awarded a set piece from 25 yards out, the Cavan Celtic player struck it well towards the top right corner but Breffini made it look easy as he stepped across his goal to palm it away to safety. Celtic bombarded the Rovers with corner kicks, winning several towards the end of the half. Rovers defended staunchly for the most part, and it was the final corner of the half that undone them. Unable to clear their lines the ball bobbled around the goal mouth before Celtic struck a fortunate shot which deflected into the goals as Rovers rushed to close it down. The half ended 2-2.

The second half brought much of the same, Rovers dealing comfortably with anything Celtic produced and hitting them on the counter attack. As legs tired Jamie King came in at centre midfield and didn’t take long to get to grips with the opposition. Both teams going for it, it was Rovers who created the better chances to score. Forcing their way down the right side of midfield and into the final third of the pitch, Rovers had Celtic pinned in. Celtic tried to clear their lines from a throw in but through great effort and determination Rovers defence and midfield pressed and squeezed them and once again forced an error from the opposition as the ball fell again to the feet of Dylan Ward inside the box. Dylan turned sharply and skipped left past one defender and with only the keeper to beat struck high with his left. Everyone in the Farney colours was already celebrating only to see the ball whiz whiskers past the left upright. So close.

Jack Gillick also picked up some good positions right of the box and tried his luck but couldn’t connect well enough to trouble the opposition keeper. Rovers soaked up another onslaught of attacking play from Cavan Celtic, the back four forming a formidable shield in front of goals. As Celtic ran out of options Rovers midfield once again seized the opportunity and overpowered them, breaking quickly forward and releasing Jack and Dylan up front to run in on goal. Dylan getting onto the final ball and past the keeper faced an open goal only for a game saving recovery challenge from the Celtic defender to force the ball wide.

Dylan Carolan came on at right midfield for the last 10 and really made up for lost time by covering both left and right midfield at times. His determination and ferocity frightened the opposition as he literally threw his body into tackles. The pace of the game slowed in the final few as Celtic hogged the possession, but couldn’t muster any change out of the Rovers, it finished 2 apiece.

A great team performance, every one of the 14 players involved adding to the performance. Cormac and Adam forming a solid partnership at centre back, with several stud marks to show for all their hard work. Rovers will look to build on this result and should take confidence from it. Hard work will yield results.

Final Score: Carrick Rovers Lions 2-2 Cavan Celtic

Team: Breffini Henry, Dylan McEnaney, Adam Lynagh, Cormac O’Hanlon, Euan Matthews, Conor O’Rourke, Fionnan Cassidy (Captain), Michal Stemplewski, Eoghan Dilan, Jack Gillick, Dylan Ward, Jamie King, Eoin Duffy, Dylan Carolan

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