Woodview bounce back to reach final
THE champions quickly made amends for their surprise defeat to Newfoundwell in the cup semi-final to book their place in the final of the Kilmessan Shield with this win at Sandy Lane on Thursday night.
This completed a full set of victories by Woodview over the outgoing title holders, who they beat in the two previous meetings between the sides in the league.
And really only for a short spell after the break did Rock threaten to reverse the form book. An interval reshuffle giving Cormac McArdle a more forward role with the withdrawal of Derek Delany paid instant dividends as the former FAI cup winner brilliantly beat a defender on the endline and supplied on inch perfect cross for David Ward to head the equaliser with little more than a minute elapsed.
Mickey O'Kane had put the visitors ahead in the opening 20 minutes when he swivelled with his back to goal in the home penalty box to shoot into the net after he chested down a cross by Billy Smith who had scampered to the endline from a pass by Johnny Lynch.
Woodview had chances to increase their lead, including one where Owen Armstrong's header was only inches wide from Paudie Hearty's cross.
Rock's finest moment was when Ger McSorley took off on a scorching run from a throw out by his goalkeeper and from deep inside his own half weaved past several opponents to draw a full length save from perhaps Woodview's leading contender for Player of the Year, Padraig Gorham.
McArdle, for those minutes after the break was irresistible down the left flank, and from another of his crosses McSorley fired the ball into the Woodview net again just after Rock drew level. But the referee disallowed the goal, although whether the offence was for controlling the ball with his hand or offside was not completely clear.
However, Woodview survived the whirlwind to regain command and Alan McKenna deserved to score when he swept clean through the Rock defence with a run from deep only to place his shot wide.
Paudie Hearty pulled another good chance wide before Billy Smith put them back in front before the hour mark. Hearty broke down the left and his cross was laid off by O'Kane in the middle to Smith to the right of goal and the latter smashed it high into the roof of the net.
Substitute Mark McGeown prevented Woodview from extending their advantage when he cleared Owen Armstrong's shot off the goal line, but Conor Macken clinched a place in the final for the visitors four minutes from the end. Johnny Lynch split the home defence wide open for the substitute to slot the ball low into the bottom of the net.
Woodview will now meet either the holders Kingscourt or Trim, who meet in the other semi-final.
Rock Celtic: John Rogers, David Asare (CJ Gladys Mpuya 72), Paddy Reilly, David McGeough, Cormack McArdle, Ciaran Clarke (Conor Hackett 81), Ed Maguire, Kevin McArdle, Ger McSorley, Derek Delany (Mark McGowan 45), David Ward.
Woodview: Padraig Gorham, Alan McCartney, Alan McKenna, Chris Caulfield, Paul Warnock, Owen Armstrong (Tommy O'Hare 87), Johnny Lynch, Colin Finan, Billy Smith (Michael O'Connor 70), Mickey O'Kane, Paudie Hearty.