Rovers secured 15 of their total points haul of 21 for the 2012/2013 league campaign in the 2nd half of the season, a double uptake in points going from a 27% points return before Christmas to a 55% points return post Christmas. Fair to say Rovers enjoyed an impressive 2nd half of the season as they also recorded an unbeaten run of 7 games, putting them in the race for a top three finish in the CMUL league, only for Killylough to thwart their efforts in their final league game leaving Rovers finishing 4th and only 2 points behind third.
Rovers began the game well, Breffni in goals gave his defence and teammates great encouragement and advice and could be heard from all corners of the pitch. As Rovers tried to kick start their passing game it was Killylough who looked more dangerous as they tested Rovers with a few early balls over the top. Adam Lynagh and Dylan McEneaney in the centre of defence stood firm and showed good anticipation by dropping back to intercept the through ball with both Conor O’Rourke and Euan Matthews in the right and left back positions tracking back to provide depth and cover.
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.
Rovers welcomed Killylough to the convent lands for their first game of the New Year on a mild winter’s day. A shower of rain had fallen earlier and the pitch was in good condition for a quick passing game. Rovers endured the worst possible start when Killylough broke in the first 5 minutes with a long ball over the top. Donnach Swinburne deputising in goals for the day did his best to rush out and clear but the Killylough player showed good pace and composure to slot the ball into the net.
Rovers made the long trek to Cavan town to take on Cavan Celtic in their league campaign. Rovers started spritely, with the disappointment of the previous weeks performance still ringing in their ears.
Rovers travelled to Gortakeegan to take on Killylough in the league cup. Rovers began the match with panache and an air of confidence, a joy to watch as they passed the ball around and exploiting the wide areas. Fionnan Cassidy, pivotal in midfield, swept up the loose ball and helped his defence break up the Killylough attacks. Eoin Duffy gave great width on the left of midfield and tormented the Killylough right back as he tip-toed past several tackles and was unlucky not to open the scoring on more than one occasion.
Carrick Rovers Lions travelled to Cootehill to play on the new all weather pitch at Clara Lane. Rovers started brightly, with both teams creating opportunities on goal. Cootehill Harps were the first to really threaten opening the scoring only for Breffini Henry to stand strong and beat away a rasping shot from a narrow angle. Cootehill continued to press and despite Breffinis best efforts and numerous saves the flood gates opened and Rovers found themselves 4 nil down heading in at half time.
Sunday morning saw Carrick Rovers Lions take on their first away match of the season, travelling to the home of Kingscourt Harps. Rovers found themselves battling against a hungry Kingscourt side searching for their first win of the league campaign. With an unforgiving wind impeding the Rovers progress, Kingscourt took full advantage to loft a high ball over the Rovers’ defence who were unable to anticipate the swirling bounce of the ball as it ended up in the back of the net.
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.
Carrick Rovers 13’s side made the long trip to CMUL 13’s Premier League Leaders, BallyJamesDuff, on Saturday afternoon. The last time this Rovers team made this journey they were on the end of a 8-1 defeat, but recent encounters had been a lot closer affairs. Carrick started sharply playing into a strong breeze and created the 1st real opening when Jared Wenham played a brilliant through ball into Jamie King’s path but the ball got stuck under his feet and his shot lacked real power to test the keeper properly. Again Rovers were passing the ball around and playing some nice, neat football and the next chance again came their way when Oisin O’Hanlon this time gained possession in midfield before finding Dylan McCahey on the left wing. He set off on a mazy dribbling run taking on 3 BJD players before flashing a ball across the 6 yard box, but Bendera, on the back post just failed to connect.
Carrick Rovers 13’s hosted Monaghan Utd on Saturday afternoon on our Seniors pitch on the Ballybay Road and the change of scenery seemed to stifle these young lads changes of expressing themselves as much as they have been doing normally. The visiting team had a few players who were physically stronger than the Rovers lads and this seemed to hinder the Carrick sides ability to get into their usual free flowing style. Monaghan used their strength to pin Rovers into their own half early on and though Liam Og Murray and Jared Wenham tried to relieve the siege it was one way traffic early on. Killian McNulty in the home goals was performing heroics and was brave on several occasions to keep Utd at bay.
Carrick Rovers youngest competitive side were in action on the Carrick Aces pitch on Saturday when they were hosts to a very strong Cavan Shamrocks side. Rovers started well and were giving their opponents no time on the ball to settle into any kind of rhythm. Killian McNulty in goals was following on from his heroic performance from the week before and was very solid in anything he had to do. The defence of Cathal O’Rourke, Robert McCloskey, Liam Og Murray and Tiarnan McCourt set a great platform for the rest of the side to build from, working as a unit to close down any threat and playing some nice possession football to set the forward line on the attack.
Carrick Rovers 13’s hosted BallyJamesDuff on Saturday afternoon on the Carrick Aces pitch in a CMUL Premier fixture. The match was played on one of the few grass pitches in the North East area that was playable which is a credit to the state of the drainage on the land. BJD are in a very strong position in the league and this was always going to be a tough test for the home side.
Carrick Rovers 13's continued where they left off before the Christmas break, with a CMUL League defeat of our neighbours Blayney Rovers. This time the game was played on Rovers new Juvenile home on the Carrick Aces running track pitch.