Anthony Donnan fired in two goals in three second-half minutes to set Rostrevor up for a dramatic victory over Liatroim at a blustery Fontenoy Park on Monday evening.
Aided by the breeze, Liatroim had surged into a three point lead entering the final quarter with six of the opening seven points after the interval.
However, goals win games and Donnan’s brace; along with a late Jonathan Parr penalty, was to be the Fontenoy’s undoing and the catalyst for their second home defeat in four days. Rostrevor; on the other hand, claimed their second away win in the same period and will be very satisfied with this result.
Liam Doyle’s cultured left boot provided the first point of the evening for Liatroim, but the breeze dictated the general flow of play in each half and the Reds were to hold the advantage for most of the remainder of the opening period.
Caolan Mooney’s free levelled the scores in the 4th minute before Damian Magee sent Rostrevor into the lead for the first time. William McCartan equalised for the Fontenoys with Piaras Kane and Liam Doyle trading scores to ensure that the sides were still level by the 17th minute ; 0-3 to 0-3.
Rostrevor were attempting to utilise the wind with searching balls into the Liatroim defence, but they were guilty of wayward shooting on occasions and this hampered their ability to capitalise on their temporary advantage granted by the conditions.
However, it wasn’t all wayward from the Reds and when Piaras Kane’s clever effort rebounded off the crossbar, John Fegan sent over a neat point to restore their lead. Richard Reynolds’ well-taken point had Rostrevor into a two-point lead by the 22nd minute, but a pair of points from Pearse Óg McCrickard and Robbie O’Hare brought the hosts back onto terms; 0-5 to 0-5. Caolan Mooney’s growing influence on the match was to be the difference between the sides at the end of the half though, and he found the target twice for Rostrevor in the closing stages to give his side a half-time advantage.
It was a narrow lead for the Reds and one that had the spectators sensing that; given the conditions, Liatroim would have plenty to say about in the second half.
HALF TIME – LIATROIM FONTENOYS 0-05 – 0-07 ROSTREVOR
The Fontenoys’ response was of the highest quality in the third quarter and they were able to rattle off six scores; to Rostrevor’s one, in a dominant spell.
Pearse Óg McCrickard and Liam Doyle both posted frees to level the scores by the 34th minute, but Caolan Mooney tapped over from close range at the other end to keep Rostrevor moving after fine work from Anthony Donnan. However, that was all Rostrevor could muster in the eighteen minutes following half-time, as Liatroim continued to press. Doyle equalised again with an excellent left-wing point in the 36th minute before a good score from PJ Davidson put the hosts in front.
Liam Doyle finished off another swift Liatroim move to extend the lead with McCrickard’s third free putting the Fontenoys into a three-point lead in the 46th minute; 0-11 to 0-8.
Liatroim were on top and the Reds were on the back foot for the entirety of that third quarter; however with one struggling shot into the wind from Damian Magee’s 48th minute free, opportunism changed everything. Anthony Donnan was alert to the dropping ball and he emerged from the pack of players on the edge of the Fontenoys’ square to slam a low shot inside Dan Morgan’s near post to level the match.
Rostrevor were suddenly in the game again and Donnan was the man in form in a vital match-winning couple of minutes. He claimed Mooney’s testing delivery as his own; sidestepping to and fro, before driving the ball into the net for his second goal. The Reds now led by three. Interestingly, Donnan’s goal didn’t really change the tide of momentum and the time was certainly there for a Liatroim reprise and they came again.
Pearse Óg McCrickard angled over two frees and; whilst Caolan Mooney replied at the other end, it was a one-point game entering stoppage time after the Liatroim wing-forward slotted over a 45-yard free in the 60th minute of play. Liatroim will rue a few wides in the midst of all the action in the exciting second half and any chance of the Fontenoys taking a result from this contest was to evaporate when Conor Fegan was hauled down in the large rectangle for a Rostrevor penalty in the second minute of injury time.
The Reds’ net-minder Jonathan Parr slotted the spot kick to the left corner with Dan Morgan sent in the opposite direction to seal two league points for the travelling Rostrevor. Liatroim’s PJ Davidson and Jarlath Farrell of Rostrevor were both sent off in a fractured conclusion to the contest, but that merely becomes a sidenote on a night when the Reds took another vital pair of points in the race for promotion.
Rostrevor will now face the tricky challenge of Darragh Cross at Pettit Park on Thursday, as Liatroim make the short trip to Drumnaquoile and St. John’s.
LIATROIM FONTENOYS 0-14 – 3-09 ROSTREVOR