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OMP Utd 2-0 Carrick Rovers

Tully Bookmakers Challenge Cup

A much changed Carrick Rovers side exited the Tully Bookmakers Challenge Cup on Sunday afternoon last when they lost out in a tight game against Navan outfit OMP Utd at MDL headquarters in Navan. 

Whilst it is never good to lose a game, Rovers can take heart from a much improved and committed performance against a good home side. 

This was a case of back to the future for the South Monaghan side as a number of players such as the evergreen Pip Shannon and Keith Gilsenan were making their debuts second time round, as they have opted to come back from having hung up their boots to come to Rovers aid and their determination and competitiveness certainly permeated throughout the side as this new look, more experienced outfit showed that they are willing to battle for the rest of the season ahead and, result aside, a lot of positives can be taken from this display. 

Rovers settled reasonably quickly and the opening quarter proved to be an even enough affair with Rovers coming close in the 17th minute with striker Eamonn Lynch's shot from the edge of the area scraping the crossbar.Omp looked dangerous as they used the width of the immaculate MDL pitch to good effect and Rovers were dealt an early blow when centre half Pip Shannon had to leave the action after an accidental clash of heads. Rovers then fell behind in the 32nd minute when they conceded what was a poor goal from their point of view. A free kick from just inside their own half was knocked into the space between keeper and defence and the alert OMP forward was quickest to react as he beat keeper Clint Marron to the ball and his header sailed into the unguarded net from the edge of the penalty area. 

Rovers would have felt unfortunate to be behind but unlike the previous encounters between the sides this season there was to be no capitulation on Rovers behalf this time around. 

The visitors started the second half in a very positive fashion and should have been on level terms 8 minutes in when some good work saw striker Eamonn Lynch played through but in a one on one with the home keeper he saw his powerfully struck shot well saved by the net-minder. This was a sign of things to come in the second half as Rovers were well on top in terms of possession and territory and they continued to be in the ascendency as the half progressed, creating a number of decent chances but unfortunately not being able to avail of them. OMP's forays down the flanks were nowhere near as frequent but they still looked dangerous on the break, particularly when Rovers went for broke with 15 minutes to go when they pushed 3 up top with the hard working Shane McDaniel joining Eamonn Lynch and the tricky Darius Drewniak.Rovers were forced into their final substitution just before this when they lost their other centre half, the impressive Gavin Flanagan,to a tight hamstring. 

Rovers however continued to press with Brian Marron pulling the strings in midfield but all their efforts were in vain with just 4 minutes to go when they were caught on the counter attack and although Marron in goal produced an excellent save to deny the excellent OMP striker the rebound fell straight to the forward who drilled it to the net to end Rovers resistance and knock them out of the cup. 

Whilst Rovers were disappointed with the result, they can take alot of heart from a much improved performance and with this panel together for the rest of the season Rovers will be doing their utmost to turn things around and who would bet against this particular group of lads doing just that!

Carrick Rovers: Clint Marron, Craig Fannin, Martin McDermott, Pip Shannon (Oisin McDonnell 8 - John Doyle 43), Gavin Flanagan (Warren Kerley 72), Keith Gilsenan, Shane McDaniel, Brian Marron, Eamonn Lynch, Darius Drewniak, Paudie Kirk. Sub not used Fergal Winters.

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