ACFL DIVISION TWO – MATCHDAY THREE
ROSTREVOR 0-06 – 1-12 LOUGHINISLAND
By Kieran McNally
Loughinisland sauntered to an extremely facile six-point victory against a disappointing Rostrevor at Pettit Park on Friday evening. The manner of the Blues’ victory will delight Michael Walsh and his buoyant group of players; whilst quite the opposite will address the Reds’ demise from a Rostrevor perspective. Shane Mulholland’s side were rarely in the contest beyond the opening quarter and the difference between these two title rivals on the scoreboard could have no dissenters, as it was completely justified on the balance of play.
Conor Doyle’s point in the opening minute provided a rare moment of optimism for Rostrevor and, indeed the only occasion on which Rostrevor held the lead. Rory Mason and Patrick McKenny had both registered points for Loughinisland by the 4th minute to take the eventual initiative in an end-to-end opening, with Mason firing over an excellent score to double the advantage. Jordan Fegan tucked over from the left side to narrow the gap in the 10th minute, but a dominant period from the Island put this contest well out of Rostrevor’s reach before the interval.
Dan Gordan sent over a fine point with the towering Aaron McClements tagging on a curling effort to open up a three-point lead for the visitors. The next score to arrive was pivotal and largely deserved at that stage. Conor Megoran and Paddy McKenny combined well from Stefan Mason’s delivery; allowing Megoran to rifle a low shot past Jonathan Parr for the game’s only goal in the 14th minute. Ryan Stranney and Aaron McClements added further points before Piaras Kane stopped the Rostrevor rot in the 19th minute with an increasingly seldom score for the hosts with Rory Mason and McKenny providing another brace of points for the rampant Loughinisland before half-time, as the Blues entered the break with a nine-point lead.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-03 – 1-09 LOUGHINISLAND
The remainder of the contest was played at a pedestrian pace with both sides registering three points in a disappointing second half, which never threatened to be anything more than a formality. Kieran Gordan strode up field to split the posts with a well taken 45’, before his brother Dan extended the lead to eleven points with his second of the evening. Conor Doyle provided a response for the Reds, but there was nothing to suggest that there was any real life left in the contest; frustratingly for the Rostrevor support.Ryan Stranney found the target for Loughinisland in a rather low-key finale to the match, with the Reds replying with the final two points of the evening through Damian Magee and Caolan Mooney. All things being considered, this serves as something of a blow to Rostrevor’s automatic promotion hopes as Loughinisland now take on the mantle of promotion favourites on this showing. Indeed, any more performances such as this for the Reds may leave them very much embroiled in a battle for a promotion playoff place and that certainly isn’t the easiest way to bounce back into the top flight. Loughinisland face RGU Downpatrick next in a huge East Down derby between sides with similar aspirations in this league. Rostrevor will make the trip to face St. John’s of Drumnaquoile, as they aim to recommence their promotion challenge.