Friday 20 April 2018

Rock hold out in relegation six-pointer

This turned into a suspense filled all action thriller in the final 20 minutes when Boyne were reduced to nine players but Rock just managed to hold out with a penalty earned and converted by Derek Delany in the fourth minute of stoppage time ending a nerve-wracking finale for the seasiders.

Rock Celtic 4 Boyne Harps 2

Rock opened a three-nil lead with 18 minutes of normal time left but Boyne mounted a rousing comeback and managed to reduce the deficit to the minimum with five minutes left and Rock gripped by nerves were suddenly all at sea despite their numerical advantage until Delany with the help of Brendan Rogers settled the outcome.

So their revival grows while Boyne now are dragged right into the relegation mire having been crowned champions just two years ago. The same year Rock pulled off a miraculous escape from relegation, and might take this win as auspicious as a victory over Boyne that season was pivotal in avoiding the drop.

Evergreen David Ward whose goals have kept them in with some hope of repeating that feat, set them on the way to this win, their third in the last four games - they drew the other.

He turned in a low cross by Dessie McKeown right in front of goal in the 38th minute, after the latter rattled the crossbar with a point blank header when totally unmarked inside the six yard box.

Boyne's Alan Dyas wasted the best opportunity of the first half when he went clean through the home defence into the penalty box and shot straight at Conor Rafferty, deputising in the home goal.

McKeown made it two nil, following a great run from left back by Brendan Rogers on the hour to be followed by Rafferty making a great re-action save from Woods.

Then when McKeown squeezed home his second and the Rock's third goal from a tight angle on the endline close to the post, Rock seemingly were cruising to victory

A harsh penalty gave Boyne a lifeline with 15 minutes left when prolific goalscorer William Woods duly obliged from the spot , despite a valiant attempt by Rafferty to keep out his kick, diving low to the right side.

The pendulum then swung back apparently to the home side when Boyne's Paddy O'Boyle was shown a red card for an off the ball incident only for substitute Bernard Osborne to score a smashing second goal as he surged past a clutch of Rock defenders into the penalty box and curled the ball into the far corner with five minutes left.

Boyne's celebrations were instantly soured with Woods becoming embroiled with Rock goalkeeper Rafferty, and he too was dismissed before even the re-start.

However, Rock who made a number of changes, some enforced, were ruffled and nerve ridden and against the nine men were hanging on until Delany made the points safe.

Rock: Connor Rafferty, Brendan Rogers Shane O'Callaghan Ross Quigley Jack Reid, Ed Maguire (Garry Lennon 79), Paddy Reilly, Phelim Joyce, Tommy Badun (Gareth Connolly 62, Oisin Meegan 75), Dessie McKeown (Derek Delany79), David Ward.

Boyne: Niall Martin, Conor Healy, James Traynor, Anto McGuinness, Jonathan Deegan, James Guilfoyle, Paddy O'Boyle, Ryan Connor (Danny Coyle),William Woods, Alan Dyas, Kevin Walsh. Other subs used Leon Campbell and Bernard Osborne

Irish Independent