Rosslare's derby joy
ST MARY'S reaction said it all. Scenes of joy greeted the final whistle as the Rosslare side celebrated a marvellous two-point victory over arch-rivals and neighbours St. Fintan's in this IFC Group B game in Kilmore.
The St. Mary's die-hards showed style and steel in a tense closing quarter as they inspired their side to victory, and the manner in which they negotiated this delicate hurdle suggests they will make it mighty difficult for any side in the concluding stages. Indeed, their strong following celebrated the victory as if it was a county final, while for St. Fintan's it was utter dejection as they now have just two points and are battling against relegation and an immediate return to the lower grade next season.
St. Mary's went for the jugular straight from the throw-in. Their opening attacks when assisted by the stiff breeze were repelled with St. Fintan's opening the scoring after three minutes through Cathal O'Brien.
On the kick-out St. Mary's gradually gained territory and a long ball from David Murphy inside to the attack was gathered by Tiarnan Rossiter who was hauled down. From the resulting penalty, Rossiter neatly tucked a high shot into the roof of the net.
St. Fintan's responded with pointed frees from Joey Wadding and Donal Shanley, while a further Wadding pointed free after eleven minutes had the sides level (1-1 to 0-4), as Rossiter also had a pointed free for his side. With Rossiter adding four points, two from frees, the Harbour side led by 1-5 to 0-4 at the interval.
St. Mary's received a real boost within three minutes of the re-start when David Murphy, having worked his way deep into attack, lofted a beautiful ball across the goal over 'keeper Patrick McDonnell into the opposite corner of the net, giving his side a 2-5 to 0-4 lead.
St. Fintan's now had to dig deep. To their credit they responded with some excellent football, resulting in points from Pádraig Doyle, Cathal O'Brien, Donal Shanley (free) and a Wadding goal from a penalty on 44 minutes, leaving the minimum separating the sides (2-5 to 1-7).
Nine minutes from the end a superb save by Stevie Cogley denied Shanley a goal, while with four minutes left St. Mary's centre-back Emmet Byrne drove home a superb goal, leaving his side four points clear (3-5 to 1-7). In the closing minutes St. Fintan's responded with points from a Shanley free and Jason Pettit but St. Mary's prevailed in a tense finish.
St. Mary's: Stevie Cogley; Conal Grant, Conor Murphy, Ned Power; Gearóid Byrne, Emmet Byrne (1-0), Niall Walsh; Chris Walsh, David Murphy (1-0); Naomhan Rossiter, Andrew Murphy, Seán Finan; Tiarnan Rossiter (1-5, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees), Mick O'Toole, Lee Devereux. Subs. - Cian Boggan for O'Toole, Barry Quirke for Finan.
St. Fintan's: Patrick McDonnell; Adrian Murphy, Frank Staples, Jimmy Staples; Brendan Hughes, Kevin Day, Jim Rossiter; Pádraig Doyle (0-1), John William Rowe; Niall Moore, Conor Day, Joey Wadding (1-2, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees); Donal Shanley (0-3 frees), Cathal O'Brien (0-2), Jason Pettit (0-1). Subs. - Paddy Keane for Rowe, Shane Sinnott for Moore, Eoin Whitmore for J.Staples, David Kelleher for C. Day.
Referee: John Diskin (Bannow-Ballymitty).