Russell Rovers 2-7 Lisgoold 1-10
Rovers had to battle all the way to pull this one out of the fire after they lost their full back early in the second half and, with ten minutes to go, their main free-taker and wing forward, to second yellow card offences in this keenly fought Junior C Hurling Championship encounter at Lisgoold on Thursday evening last. The fact that all but two of the home team’s scores came from placed balls, including a penalty late in the first half, tells its own story and must be addressed if the team is to progress from the replay. On the other hand, 2-3 of the Rovers tally came from open play which about reflects the superiority we had at stages during the game until a certain lack of discipline let us down.
Alan Cott had Rovers opening score with a point in the 7th minute in reply to a Lisgoold free. Two more points from the home side were to follow before Cott pointed from a free on the quarter hour after Lisgoold had a similar score. Rovers defence played well under pressure during the opening quarter with keeper Chris Scanlon making an excellent block-down in the 3rd minute. The full-back line of Aidan Beausang , David Whelehan and Shane Casey were well on top while the half backs, James Ahern, Chris Ruddy and Daire Healy had the measure of the home side’s forwards. Healy, in particular, had an outstanding first half despite carrying a ‘dead’ leg throughout the game which necessitated his substitution ten minutes from the end. As well as defending, he also set up a number of Rovers attacks, feeding in good ball to the forwards. Midfielder Brian Crowley, ably assisted by Ricky Walsh, showed all of his vast experience in steadying the ship when we were in danger of dropping the heads during the second half. In the forward line, Brendan Kearney looked dangerous at times and was in hard luck for a goal early on when the Lisgoold keeper dropped a shot he had struck in. Colman Quinlan made a tremendous solo run in the 20th minute which he finished to the net to give us the lead for the first time (1-2 to 0-4) but it was to be short-lived. Three pointed frees for the home side saw them edge two points in front by the 25th minute and then came the penalty in the 29th minute which was rattled to the net. Cott converted a 20-metre free just on the stroke of half time to leave us with a four point deficit at the break.
Kearney had a rasper of a shot on goal deflected out for a 65 at the start of the second half but we failed to convert it, along with a second one a minute later. Switching free takers didn’t seem to work for us either with a number of chances going abegging early in the half. The departure of David Whelehan on a second yellow in the 36th minute necessitated some positional changes and substitutions as James Moynihan and Kieran Ivers made way for Philip Whyte and Tadhg Crowley. Crowley’s impact was immediate as he had a point on the board within a minute. Three pointed frees for Lisgoold saw their lead stretch to a six point advantage by the 40th minute, leaving us with a hill to climb but by no means an insurmountable one. With Brian Crowley and Seamus Kearney showing great determination, Rovers finally got back in control. A pointed free from Alan Cott was his last contribution before departing on the yellow bus but it must be said that this was an extremely harsh decision as Cott, attempting a block-down, made no contact whatever with his opponent who slipped as he tried to clear a ball out on the sideline. Then, player-coach Donal Fitzgerald entered the fray as a replacement for Daire Healy with ten minutes to go and, as in many games in the past the Déise man was to have a vital contribution to make to the outcome. Tadhg Crowley pulled one back in the 52nd minute to leave four points between the sides and with five minutes to go Fitzgerald was on hand to finish to the net after Brian Crowley had struck in a great shot. Colman Quinlan got the equaliser for Rovers from a free with two minutes to go but despite our best efforts in the closing stages no further scores came our way.
A draw was a fair result and if we can reduce the number of easy frees we give away and improve our shooting, we would be hopeful of coming out on top in the replay, especially if we play with the same commitment and backbone shown in the last quarter.
Congratulations to all the club members who received such wonderful Leaving Cert results during the week.
Team: Chris Scanlon, Aidan Beausang, David Whelehan, Shane Casey, James Ahern, Chris Ruddy, Daire Healy, Brian Crowley, Ricky Walsh, Alan Cott, Colman Quinlan, Seamus Kearney, Kieran Ivers, Brendan Kearney, James Moynihan.
Subs: Philip White, Tadhg Crowley, Michael Furlong, Donal Fitzgerald, James Walsh
The replay of this JCHC tie has been fixed for Wednesday, 20th at 6.45 pm in Shanagarry. Check locally for any changes.