Rovers 14's side travelled to face a tough BJD side. Rovers started very brightly and found themselves one up in the first minute. A delightful through ball from Sean found Jerome; he beat two defenders before shooting past the keeper from 15 yards. This set up the early tempo of the match with Rovers pressing well. The back four looked solid and the midfield were moving the ball around well. On 12 minutes Rovers found themselves two up. Again a delightful move with the ball being moved out from the back and through Eddie on the right whose cross-field pass was picked up by Daniel who crossed for Jerome to finish on the half volley.
At this stage Rovers were well on top and but for a brave save from the BJD keeper at the feet of Eddie, Rovers could have found themselves three up. This seemed to give BJD the kick start they were looking for and they were now finding space to move the ball around. They started putting pressure on the Rovers back four and from a corner Rovers conceded an O.G. on 21 minutes.
This was now turning into a real entertaining game, with both sides moving the ball around on the ground well, probing down both wings and entertaining the crowd present. With the game moving from one end of the pitch to the next, Rovers worked an opening down the left only to see the unfortunate BJD defender concede a penalty. Up stepped Seanie who comfortably put away his penalty. At 3-1 Rovers were finding it hard to contain the lively Ryan O’Reilly, who was having a great game on the wing. He won a number of free kicks for his team and on 31 minutes Rovers were down to ten men when a defender was adjudged to have handled a goal bound effort and was shown his second yellow. The BJD striker put away his penalty and it was now game on with Rovers holding a slim advantage and down to ten men. Rovers quickly reshuffled their positioned and seen the game out to half time.
The second half started with BJD pressing Rovers back, Thomas in goal had to be both alert and brave in the first ten minutes of the half as BJD came flying forward. The midfield of Eddie, Daniel, Seanie and Lorcan rolled up their sleeves and put in a tireless shift, tracking back, covering and breaking forward quickly when the opportunity arose. After 5 minutes, the BJD centre forward found himself one on one with Thomas and looking all ends up of scoring an equaliser. But Thomas was off his line well, narrowed the angle and with a deft touch was able to deflect the ball around the post and save an almost certain goal. With 10 minutes of the second half gone Rovers won possession at the edge of their own box. The ball was moved to Peter on the right who played a first time pass to Seanie who spotted Jerome making a run. The ball was laid into the path of Jerome who drove forward and slipped the ball past the BJD keeper to give Rovers a two goal cushion.
This seemed to deflate the BJD team and for the next 5 minutes Rovers enjoyed their best spell of the second half, winning a number of corners. From one such corner Rovers sent forward their big men to contest the corner, Jerome swung in a beautiful delivery which was attacked by Liam Og, Eddie and Daniel. The ball found its way into the BJD net via Eddie, Liam Og and a BJD defender, with Eddie claiming the last touch. At this stage with over 25 minutes to play, Rovers introduced Ryan and Oran. Fresh legs were badly required with players all over the pitch putting in great shifts. For the next 25 minutes Rovers were pinned back into their own half, with the defenders having to use all their experience and guile to deny BJD any real chances. This did not deter the home side who were now shooting from 20 yards, but on the day they found Thomas stood up to all they could throw at him.
With 5 minutes left it looked like Rovers had weathered the storm and were starting to find more and more possession. But sloppy play gave the ball away and BJD broke quickly. The left winger was weaving his way forward when he was adjudged to have been fouled. From 20 plus yards out, up stepped Keenan, whose effort would have graced The Aviva Stadium as he found the far top corner with a lightning bolt of an effort. With 5 minutes left, BJD felt they could get something out of the game and pressed real hard. The defence stood strong and were immense on the day, with Peter, Cathal, Tommy, Fionn and Liam Og superb. When called upon the midfield came to the fore, rolled up their sleeves and put in a great shift and Jerome upfront, who worked away tirelessly on his own for large parts of the game. Well done to Lee, who was out injured, but travelled with the squad to offer his support.
The lineout was Thomas Duane, Peter McElroy, Fionn O’Callaghan, Liam OgMurray, Cathal McEneaney, Tommy Byrne, Lorcan Murnaghan, Eddie Walsh, Daniel Leegan, Sean Burns, Jerome Abekyamwale, Ryan Nelson and Oran Martin.