Rovers 14 Premier side entertained Monaghan United in a top of the table clash. Both teams were aware a lot was at stake, but still put on a highly entertaining game.
The away side opened the much brighter, with Eli prompting from the middle and Connor Doyle making good runs up front. After 5 minutes Utd created the first chance with Doyle turning his marker and cracking an effort of the outside of the post. This seemed to be the wake-up call Rovers required.
They started to win some possession in the middle and on 7 minutes the ball was worked down the left wing through Cathal and Daniel. The ball was fed to Jerome wide on the edge of the box, he held of the attention of the Utd defenders and unleashed a powerful drive which flashed into the far corner of the net, giving the Utd keeper no chance. From the tip off, Rovers won back possession and a great move down the right side of the pitch between Eddie, Peter and Lorcan, seen Eddie lay off a delightful ball into the path of Daniel to finish at the back post. This seemed to shock the visitors, who uncharacteristically kept surrendering possession.
With Rovers 2 goals to the good, they relaxed and started to dictate play, moving the ball around the pitch. On 17 minutes goal number 3 arrived. Again the ball was moved out right, where Peter took off on a run, he played a delightful one two with Eddie and surged into the Utd box. Some good defending seemed to have blocked his run, but the ball fell kindly to Eddie who drifted into the box. He found himself one on one with the keeper, but unselfishisly he looked up and picked out Seanie who finished with ease. At this stage Roves were on top, but in typical Utd fashion, they got back into the game. The won possession some 25 yards out and a delightful slide pass found the left winger in one on one with Thomas. He made himself big, narrowed the attacker’s angle and produced a tremendous save. For the next 10 minutes both sides probed away at each other creating nothing of real note.
Then on 28 minutes Fionn won possession on the edge of his own area. He traded passes with Tommy and found himself in space in the middle of the pitch. He played the most delightful ball into the path of Jerome who held of the attention of the two Utd centre backs before drilling the ball passed the exposed Abraham. Rovers found themselves 4 up and started to drop their work-rate. This let Utd back into the game, Soki John was getting more of the ball on the right and Daniel and Cathal had to be on their game to halt a number of his surging runs. In the middle of defence Tommy and Liam Og were doing well to contain Connor, who had been on a great run of form up to today’s game. Rovers held strong to half time and went in with a quite unexpected cushion.
Knowing Utd would come out strong with all guns blazing, Rovers had opted that attack was the best form of defence. Both sides went at each other, moving the ball from one side of the pitch to the other and working each defence. The first opening fell to Connor, whose effort drifted agonisingly wide. Rovers upped their intensity and started pushing Utd deeper into their own half. On 46 minutes Rovers won possession and worked the ball deep into the Utd box, the ball was half cleared and fell kindly to Fionn who half volleyed the ball into the net via the underside of the crossbar. At this stage everything Rovers tried came off and 5 minutes later they found themselves 6 up.
Rovers won a corner and Seanie noticed that the Utd defence had switched of temporarily played it short to Jerome. Jerome got his head up a picked out Liam Og, who was darting in front of his marker. With a delightful ball placed in his path he connected perfectly to plant his header beyond the despairing keeper. At this stage Rovers had already introduced Ryan, Aaron and Lee. They fitted into the team and contributed to a tight back four. But true to Utd spirit, they rolled up their sleeves and started to cause the Rovers defence some problems, seeing a number of their efforts go agonisingly close. Both sides played out the final few minutes trying to break down the oppositions back four to no avail. Rovers on the day got all the breaks and if Connor’s early effort had have gone in, the result could have been quite different. Well done to the both sets of players, who put on a good display for the large crowd in attendance.
Rovers team: Thomas Duane, Peter McElroy, Tommy Byrne, Liam Og Murray, Cathal McEneaney, Lorcan Murnaghan, Fionn O’Callaghan, Edward Walsh, Daniel Leegan, Sean Burns, Jerome Abekyamwale, Aaron Kearney, Lee Butler, Ryan Nelson