Caolan Mooney fired in a dramatic deflected goal with the final kick, as Rostrevor slipped past Tullylish in a pulsating finish at rain-drenched Pettit Park on Friday night.
The Reds provided the proverbial sucker punch inside the fourth minute of added time with John Fegan’s dropping delivery eventually landing in the midfielder’s hands with an instinctive drive ricocheting past Terence O’Hagan in an agonising finish for the gallant Lawrencetown side. Shane Mulholland’s Reds may look back on this victory and admire the importance of it at the end of the season, but time will tell just how vital this late show was for Rostrevor.
Following last week’s defeat at An Riocht, Rostrevor were in desperate need of a swift return to winning ways, but Tullylish made life very difficult for them with three well-taken goals nearly putting a most serious dent on the Reds’ promotion prospects. Piaras Kane tucked over the game’s opening point in the second minute with John McAreavey’s free levelling the scores; two minutes later. Both sides enjoyed periods of possession in the opening quarter with John Fegan scoring a point from Peter Magee’s pass to put Rostrevor back in front before McArevey equalised once more; firing over a fine left-footed score.
However, the Reds were soon to take an element of control on the scoreboard with Caolan Mooney’s free in the 16 minute before Conor Magee opened his account following a good turnover in the Tullylish defence. Rostrevor were perhaps unfortunate not to have a larger lead at this stage with Conor Fegan and Peter Magee both going close; seeing close-range efforts rebounding off the woodwork in the early moments, but their gradual superiority on the pitch had yielded a three-point lead by the 21st minute with Conor Fegan’s side-footed point leaving the scores at 0-5 to 0-2 in favour of the hosts. Despite this, Tullylish were able to take advantage of some excellent attacking play of their own to a more devastating effect than their slightly more wasteful hosts. John McAreavey halted the Reds’ momentum with a free; a minute later, before the ‘Lish provided the game’s opening goal in the 25th minute to cancel out Rostrevor’s mid-half scoring.
Charlie Monaghan was the scorer; receiving possession from Fiontann O’Dowd on the left side before racing in from the left side to angle a tidy finish across Jonathan Parr; making it 1-3 to 0-5. Tullylish were growing in confidence and having roared back into the contest, they almost found a second goal on 27 minutes with Fiontann O’Dowd catching and turning superbly on the edge of the square only to be thwarted by a superb save from Parr.
Conor Magee sent over a point from the centre; with Conor Mackin providing an excellent assist, to bring Rostrevor back on to level terms from the resulting attack, but the Reds staggered into the interval just as their visitors were finding form.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 0-06 – 1-03 TULLYLISH
John McAreavey and Declan Magee traded points with two minutes of the restart, as the rain continued to pelt down among the faltering conditions. The game was becoming something of a slugfest in terms of the heavy ground underfoot and the persistent showers, but Tullylish were able to open up their first two-point lead of the evening with a brace of frees from their influential McAreavey putting them into a 1-6 to 0-7 lead.
Having done the majority of the scoring in the immediate moments either side of the break, the West Down side were soon to find themselves in a match-winning position on more than one occasion. Anthony Donnan angled over a free to narrow the deficit before a tenacious Micheal Mackin point brought the teams level for the fifth time in the 43rd minute.
Conor Magee sent over a brilliant score to fire the Reds into the lead; as the game entered its final fifteen minutes, but the ‘Lish were not being overrun at this stage and took a large step towards getting a positive result for themselves in the 48th minute. John McAreavey and Charlie Monaghan were central again with the former’s delivery being cleverly punched to the net by Fionntan O’Dowd to put Tullylish back into a two-point advantage; 2-6 to 0-10.
Conor Magee was a big player for Rostrevor in a testing second half and he halved the deficit with another good point on 52 minutes before the busy Joseph Morgan brought the Reds back to parity in the 54th minute. The contest seemed to be in Rostrevor’s reach at that point, as they were scoring more freely now than their visitors and they had been finding the target with more regularity from play during the match, but claiming victory in an enthralling finish was much easier said than done.
Micheal Mackin sent the Reds’ supporters into raptures with an effort from range putting Rostrevor in front with a minute of normal time remaining; 0-13 to 2-6, but this game was far from finished. As the game moved into additional time, Tullylish’s Gareth Johnston intercepted the ball around the half way line feeding the ball to Joe McDermott who made his way forward.
Johnston and Charlie Monaghan were both involved, as McDermott finished a swift move with a thunderous close-range drive past Jonathan Parr to send the ‘Lish to the cusp of a shock victory. However; as time ambled on and the game seemingly whittled away, Rostrevor got one last chance with Conall Gordon being felled in the middle third during the fourth minute of added-on time.
John Fegan was entrusted with the free and; whilst his delivery was batted down by Seamus O’Hare, Caolan Mooney was on hand to send a crashing low show into the back of the net via the boot of Stephen O’Hare to clinch victory with the final word. This could well be a massive win for Rostrevor in the context of the overall season; due to its dramatic nature, and a trip to Cottage Park in Banbridge and Clann na Banna will be treated with respect, as Rostrevor aim to regather momentum entering the second half of the season.
ROSTREVOR 1-13 – 3-06 TULLYLISH