Rostrevor were thoroughly dominant, as they produced a high-scoring performance to blast St. John’s and claim an overdue win in Friday night’s league match at Pettit Park.
The Reds have been suffering in recent weeks and have watched their early season form evaporate in a series of away day slips, but this victory will bring some respite and inject a fresh confidence into the side ahead of the remainder of the campaign.
When the two teams met earlier in the season in Drumaroad, Rostrevor had three points to spare after a tight tussle; however, it was apparent from early on that the Reds were to enjoy a more uncontested success this time around. St. John’s were first off the mark in the initial stages, but unanswered barrages from a resurgent Rostrevor proved to be the story of the match.
John Fegan, Conor and Micheal Mackin and Damian Magee were all on target for the Reds, as they raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the end of the opening quarter. Notable also, was the Reds’ greater potency from open play with only three points arriving from frees on the night; reversing what had been a worrying trend in recent games.
Martin Keenan responded for the visitors, but the incisive running of Micheal Mackin was bringing about success at the other end and he pointed twice in successive attacks with the second point being of particular quality from a wide position. Leading by four points after twenty minutes, Rostrevor were soon to find their groove and once Piaras Kane received possession from Jonathan Connolly to slide home the Reds’ opening goal in the 21st minute, the game really started to move further and further away from the Johnnies.
Anthony Donnan’s goal was decisive in the return fixture between the sides and he fired over his first point of the game to open up an eight-point advantage. Danny McKay replied for St. John’s, but a further score from Kane; along with a Donnan free, kept the Reds in control and in a commanding lead at 1-9 to 0-3. Chris McKay and Micheal Mackin traded points with a late Conor Gilmore free leaving St. John’s in arrears by eight points at the half-time interval.
HALF TIME – ROSTREVOR 1-10 – 0-05 ST. JOHN’S, DRUMNAQUOILE
Rostrevor resumed their passage to victory in the early moments of the second half with Conor Magee’s point being swiftly followed by another goal in the 34th minute. This time it was Micheal Mackin who found the net; with his pace providing the space to send a low drive past Darren McMullan and into the right corner.
Declan Magee was on target moments later to open up a 2-13 to 0-5 lead, as Rostrevor provided their most satisfying performance of the season in front of the posts. Frees from Chris McKay and Conor Gilmore provided St. John’s respite, but a third Reds’ goal arrived in the 39th minute to add to the deficit between the teams. Conor Mackin was the scorer; racing onto John Fegan’s lay-off to finish to the net.
Shooting practice ensued for Rostrevor, as the points continued to flow in the closing minutes with John Fegan finding the target on three occasions; twice from frees, and Conor Mackin and Piaras Kane also getting in on the act, as the Reds’ lead reached twenty points.
Aaron Fearon opened his account for the senior team in the 56th minute; as another of last year’s minor championship winning side made their mark, and he did so by palming in Piaras Kane’s pass to put an extra gloss on the scoreboard. Kane finished off the Rostrevor scoring via the post in the 58th minute, as Rostrevor returned to winning ways in the most dominant fashion; ending a miserly run of one win in seven games prior to this victory.
Having solidified fifth position for the moment, it really rests elsewhere as to whether there is any chance of sneaking back into some form of contention for a play-off spot, but it seems difficult to justify suggesting that it could happen.
Liatroim Fontenoys are the next visitors to Pettit Park on Thursday evening with a proverbial relegation six-pointer at Pairc na nÓg in Lawrencetown awaiting St. John’s with Tullylish in desperate need of points in their quest to reel in the Johnnies and Carryduff in the basement battle.
ROSTREVOR 4-18 – 0-08 ST. JOHN’S, DRUMNAQUOILE
By Kieran McNally