Darragh Cross made the rare trip to Pettit Park, but left with very little to show for it, as Rostrevor turned on the style for an emphatic home win on Thursday night.
The Reds; galvanized by narrow successes at St. John’s and Liatroim, were able to enjoy a relaxing evening in comparison with a clinical second-half display allowing for Rostrevor to romp to a third successive league victory. The visitors’ form has been the opposite in the past fortnight with a brace close defeats now being embellished after what had been a positive start to their campaign.
The Reds were in control from the early stages of this contest; building up a reasonably comfortable advantage by the end of the opening half. Jordan Fegan and Shane Murray traded points in the initial exchanges, but Rostrevor were soon to take charge in the unpredictable conditions. Conor Mackin fired over a quick point before Caolan Mooney sent an early ball into Anthony Donnan to send over his first score of the evening and open up a two-point lead; 0-3 to 0-1.
Both sides were guilty of missed chances throughout the contest and; indeed, Darragh Cross will bemoan their own accuracy in allowing Rostrevor to surge clear with the chances they did take. One of the early beneficiaries from a Reds perspective was the troublesome Conor Doyle with his three points in succession pushing his side further ahead by the 20th minute of play.
Rostrevor were working tirelessly in key areas of the pitch with a range of players being involved in creating chances; satisfying Shane Mulholland and his backroom team. Shane Murray narrowed the gap for Darragh Cross with his second score for the visitors, but an excellent delivery from Conall Gordon allowed Piaras Kane to keep Rostrevor on track with a point.
The Reds nearly had a goal to solidify their lead after fine work from John Fegan and Conor Doyle presented the chance for Caolan Mooney, but his effort was denied. Despite this, Rostrevor’s lead would be extended with Conor Doyle splitting the posts after being assisted by the marauding James Rice. Mattie Hardy’s late point was cancelled out by a good Caolan Mooney effort, as Rostrevor were fully worthy of their six-point interval lead.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-09 – 0-03 DARRAGH CROSS
St. Mochai’s were in desperate need of a lift, as the sun reappeared into the chilly confines of Pettit Park and they almost found the perfect start to the second half. Marcus Miskelly raced through to find his goal-bound shot thwarted expertly by Jonathan Parr, as Darragh Cross’ chance for a revival came and went. Piaras Kane punished at the other end with a well-taken score before Caolan Mooney steadied himself to send over another Rostrevor point.
With the Reds starting to move through the gears in a dominant third quarter, Anthony Donnan was on hand to emphasise their lead with his fourth goal in three matches on 37 minutes. Perhaps, Darragh Cross were architects of their own downfall with Rory Miskelly’s kickout being captured by the forward-running Joseph Morgan who; in turn, sent Donnan clear to finish to the net with minimum fuss.
Trailing now by eleven points, Darragh Cross were sailing against the tide and Rostrevor found little difficulty in building their lead further. Anton McGrattan opened the visitors’ account for the second half, but the Reds were about to provide a blistering eight minutes of play to ruthlessly push on.
Another point from Caolan Mooney, a brace from Piaras Kane and a score for Sean Cooper added to the Reds’ advantage before Anthony Donnan; once more, showed his goal-scoring touch with an excellent finish to continue his rich vein of form.
Joseph Morgan fed Conor Doyle for his fourth point of the evening for a 2-16 to 0-4 lead entering the final stages. To credit Darragh Cross, they never threw in the proverbial towel and notched three consecutive points from Marcus Miskelly and a pair of frees from Shane Murray, but Rostrevor were to have the final word.
Piaras Kane capped a fine evening with a score with a free from Mooney and a point for the returning Conor Magee helping Rostrevor to complete an eighteen-point victory. The Reds appear to be hitting some form now, as their season begins to find momentum with Bredagh; and a lengthy trip to Cherryvale on the Ravenhill Road in Belfast, next on the Reds’ schedule.
Darragh Cross welcome Liatroim Fontenoys, with the aim of getting themselves back in the winning habit after their positive start to the season has seemingly faded away.
ROSTREVOR 2-19 – 0-07 DARRAGH CROSS
By Kieran McNally