Wednesday 21 March 2018

Leaky Bellurgan let big lead slip in Navan clash

OMP 3 - Bellurgan Utd 3


Bellurgan nearly blew a three nil lead in their previous match, but succeeded on Friday night in a disastrous last 15 minutes when they also ended with Ciaran Sheelan being sent-off.

The visitors were absolutely cruising, and should have had more goals in the bag but somehow contrived to allow their promoted opponents back into the match, and to salvage their first point of the season.

Martin Finnegan, a member of the Bellurgan backroom team, admitted: 'It was nothing short of a massive disappointment. We thought we were going to come away with three points handy. We played them off the pitch. They didn't have a shot on target until they scored. They then got two fortunate breaks.'

Like against Ardee, Bellurgan went ahead after just five minutes as a result of a lovely piece of football, featuring quick slick passing involving right back Owen Traynor, Stephen Finnegan and Owen Armstrong to set-up the returning Ciaran Sheelan to curl his shot from nine yards past the exposed OMP goalkeeper.

They totally outplayed the hosts and twice went close to increasing their lead in quick succession when John Smith put Declan Sharkey away down the wing and he raced to the by-line to pull the ball back which Keith Finnegan overran, but OMP only managed to scramble it away and from just outside the 18 yard box Brian White shot just inches wide.

Stephen Finnegan and Declan Sharkey on the wings were really causing all sorts of bother for OMP, and the pressure yielded a penalty for the visitors when Owen Armstrong was taken down in the box following a fine passing move, involving Keith Finnegan and Ciaran Sheelan. John Smith drilled the spot kick low and hard into the corner of the net.

Only a wonderful one handed save by the OMP goalkeeper prevented Keith Finnegan making it three nil on the stroke of half-time from a curling free-kick.

Five minutes into the second half Bellurgan had a goal ruled out when Brian White flicked John Smith's free-kick to the home net with his head, only for the referee to spot an infringement.

However, there was no reprieve for OMP when Keith Finnegan won the ball in mid-field in the 65th minute, and exchanged passes with Declan Sharkey and the move was finished with Sheelan from just inside the penalty box shooting left footed past the goalkeeper.

Bellurgan's attempt to play offside backfired to allow OMP to pull a goal back 12 minutes from time, and it all then went horribly wrong in the closing minutes.

In the 82nd minute a long ball was played into the visitors penalty box and it broke loose for the home striker to turn and his mis-hit shot rolled past the diving Robert Arthur and rebounded off the post and struck the goalkeeper on the head and entered the net.

Real calamity struck then when Jimmy Browne headed clear from inside the penalty box and as he turned round the ball was driven back in and struck his arm and the referee pointed to the spot. The home side duly scored.

To cap it all then in the last minute Ciaran Sheelan become involved in a schmozzle at a free-kick outside the OMP penalty box, and was shown a red card by the referee.

Bellurgan: Robert Arthur, Owen Traynor, Sean McEvoy (Jimmy Browne 45), Daragh Laverty, John Smith (Emmet Rogan 85), Keith Finnegan, Brian White (Jimmy Byrne 75), Stephen Finnegan, Declan Sharkey, Ciaran Sheelan, Owen Armstrong (Gavin Gaffey 45).

The Argus