Rockcorry 4-12 (24) Carrickmacross 5-06 (21)
For the large crowd in attendance at Latton on Thursday evening for this U15 Division 4 shield encounter, it will live long in the memory for highlighting how true grit and determination can lead to the promised land.
65 minutes of end to end football could not separate these sides with a further 14 minutes of extra time in fading light and heavy rain required to get a result that eventually went in favour of Rockcorry, who dug deep on several occasions to bring themselves back into a game that appeared to be getting away on them.
With only 7 minutes on the clock the victors had found themselves trailing by 7 points as Carrickmacross got off to a lightning start, Luke Mc Sharry with an opening point from a free followed up by goals from Kaylem O Rourke and Dylan Mc Mahon.
However by the 22nd minute Rockcorry had it back to the minimum, points from Adam Elliott, Timothy Elliott and a 1-01 contribution from David Calvert seeing the St Marys side weather the early storm.
Carrickmacross did finish the stronger with Sean Birdy finding the net and Rory O Brien adding on a further point to give their side a 3-02 to 1-03 lead at the break. Interestingly the Emmets club had run in 5 substitutions in that opening 33 minutes.
Rockcorry once again dug deep to bring it back to a 1 point game 5 minutes into the 2nd half, Oisin Connolly who had been introduced for David Calvert, popping over a free as his jinxing nature in the forward line began to draw fouls and that was followed up by a great team move from defence with Adam Elliott at the end of it to finish to the net.
Luke Mc Sharry and Sean Birdy replied at the opposite end to push it back out to a 3 point lead, before the Rockcorry management sprang their ace from the bench.
Lee Hall was introduced for Niall Mc Cormick and he immediately planted himself in the full forward line and reminisce of a certain Kieran Donaghy from the Kingdom took control of the skies over Latton as long direct ball landed in on him with a goal from himself and 2 points one a piece from Aaron Reilly and Timothy Elliott inside a 4 minute spell giving the St Marys side the lead for the first time.
But this was a game that just kept giving, Carrickmacross hit their fourth goal of the evening from Rory O Brien to give them the lead once more with 10 minutes remaining and with both sides beginning to physically tire due to the fast flowing nature of the game, it was a case of who could hold out.
A second Oisin Connolly free and a further point from Lee Hall had Rock in front once more as the game headed to injury time, but Carrickmacross conjured up one more attack with a point from the last kick of the game seeing it end all square 3-08 to 4-05.
As the light faded and the rain began to fall extra time beckoned with the tie now perhaps lying in favour of Carrickmacross as they could go back to making 6 changes and had plenty of fresh legs on the bench, but Rockcorry knew they had went to the “Well” on a number of occasions to drag themselves back into the game, and that trip was made once more in the opening 7 minutes of extra time as 1-02 with out reply suddenly seen some daylight between the sides even as darkness descended, the all important goal coming from what appeared to be a fiercely struck free from Lee Hall. Half time in Extra time and Rockcorry were 4-05 to 4-10 ahead.
Players were now beginning to feel the pain for their exertions in particular Rockcorry midfielder Aaron Reilly who was carried of the field with cramp but made a return several minutes later after going through a number of stretches on the side line, in his absence, Carrickmacross sniffed an opportunity and broke up field to hit the back of the net with Rory O Brien bringing it back to a 2 point game with 3 minutes remaining.
The “Well” of effort however for Rockcorry was running deep, Timothy Elliott pegged on a point and when Adam Elliott swung over a Mansey effort from out near the stand side of Latton, the St Marys supporters knew it was going to be their night.
Carrickmacross did go looking for the goal to bring it to a replay but the Rockcorry defence which was brilliantly marshalled by Alan Markey and Oisin Lynch was not going to be breached and when goal keeper Lee Mc Cullom fielded one last hopefully ball, it was the signal for the long whistle from referee Christopher Brady which cued wild celebrations among the winning panel and supporters.
Full time score Rockcorry 4-12 (24) , Carrickmacross 5-06 (21) in a game that as mentioned before will be talked about for quite a while, congrats to both teams for providing a wonderful evening of entertainment and a thrill a minute encounter.
Carrickmacross :- Kyle Cassidy, Fionn Mills, Conor Martin, Fiachare O Gorman, Kaylem O Rourke (C) (1-00) Niall Sulivan, Dylan Mc Mahon (1-00), Oisin Mc Nally, Luke Mc Sharry (0-02), Rory O Brien (C) (2-01) Luke Mc Geown.
Subs :- Donnacha O Hanlon, Sean Cassidy, Conor Cassidy (0-01), Shane Tierney, Daire Matthews, Aodhan Browne, Sean Birdy (1-02), Ciaran Mc Mahon.
Rockcorry :- Lee Mc Collum, Alan Markey, Aaron Reilly (0-01), Mark Nesbitt, David Calvert (1-01), Oisin Lynch (C) Timothy Elliott (0-03), Adam Elliott (1-03), Josh Brannigan, Cian Mc Phillips, Niall Mc Cormick.
Subs :- Lee Hall (2-02), Oisin Connolly (0-02), Marty Donnelly.