Rovers travelled to Monaghan astro on Sunday last and picked up where they left off last year. The opening of this game was untidy and both sides huffed and puffed to create openings, with both teams neutralizing each other for the first 15 minutes. At this stage Rovers started to win more possession in the middle of the park and were now exploiting the width, with both Daniel and Michal getting into the game. From one great move down the right Ryan released Michal who was able to get past the full back and play a delightful ball across the box which eluded the in-rushing Jerome and Daniel. After 21 minutes Rovers got their first goal.
The ball was worked through the middle with Tommy Lorcan and Jerome combining to release Jack. With a lot still to do Jack held off the centre back and coolly rounded the keeper and slotted home. Rovers at this stage enjoyed their best spell off the game and had Clones confined to breaks. The pressure told and after a succession of corners Rovers eventually got their reward with Lorcan calmly slotting past the exposed keeper. At this stage Rovers looked like they could go on and add a few more before half time, but Clones rolled up their sleeves and started having a go. At half time Rovers were 2 up.
The second half started well for Rovers and after five minutes Rovers were three up. The ball was worked through the middle and Daniel took possession some thirty metres from the goal. He held of two defenders rounded the keeper who slightly clipped him, even after loosing his footing, he had the calmness to direct the ball home with both the keeper and defender trying to get back. At this stage Rovers had introduced both Conor and Dylan for Ryan and Jerome. Once Rovers were three up, they allowed a resurgent Clones, back into the game. The keeper Thomas had to on more than one occasion make smart saves and the back four expertly marshalled by Fionn and Aaron in the midlle with Conor and Cathal on the flanks held strong for long periods. The midfield was being over-run with Clones committing their full-backs to get forward at every occasion. In this twenty minute period Clones won numerous corners and Rovers were finding it hard to get out of their own half. When Rovers gave away a free some twenty five yards out, the Clones player stepped up and fired an unstoppable shot into the far corner eluding both the keeper and the wall. At this stage Rovers had emptied the bench with some twenty minutes left, with Liam Og and Dylan slotting in. This seemed to give Rovers an extra option with these players happy to get the ball to their feet. With big Jack tiring up front Rovers introduced Jerome for the last ten minutes. This proved to be the a good decision, within three minutes of being back on the pitch, Jerome linked up with Conor and Dylan who released him out wide right. He flew past the left full and centre-half and bore down on goal. He cut inside twice and seen his effort well saved by the keeper. The ball was bobbing about until it found it's to Jerome on the edge of the eighteen and he fired a terrific finish past the keeper. Rovers were happy to see out the end of the game and were relieved to come away with the win.
Team: Thomas Duane, Ryan Nelson, Conor Grimes, Fionn O'Callaghan, Aaron Kearney, Cathal McEneaney, Michal Stepenwoski, Lorcan Murnaghan, Tommy Byrne, Jack Gillick, Daniel Leegan, Jerome Abekyamwale, Dylan Ward, Liam OgMurray & Dylan McCahey.