Denny Division 2A League Final Replay 2013/14
By Tommy Naughton
Rattoo Rovers B team were crowned Denny Division 2A league champions after they defeated Na Fianna in the league final replay on Friday night in Mounthawk Park.
The opening chance of the game fell to Na Fianna’s Chris Lyons but his direct free kick from outside the box curled just over the top of the crossbar. Seven minutes into the game and Na Fianna had another chance to take the lead when a corner was swung in towards the Rattoo Rovers keeper but he failed to connect correctly with his attempted punch, the ball dropped to Barrack Osas Menlegel but his goal bound shot was blocked on the line by Mike Hussey.
Na Fianna, just like in the first game had started the better but against the run of play Rattoo took the lead. John Paul Leahy got in behind the Na Fianna defence before puling the ball back to John Carroll who helped the ball onto Mike Joy to score from close range to give the Ballyduff men the lead.
Na Fianna didn’t seem to let this phase them and got back to playing the attacking football they are known for and David Dillon tried his luck from long range just before the half hour mark but it rose just over the bar. With eight minutes to the break they finally got level. From a Damien Murphy corner Barrack Osas Menlegel rose highest and forced the ball over the line.
Rattoo Rovers had the final chance of the half and nearly took the lead again. Eddie Joy sent a long free kick towards the back post where Joe Bunyan was left unmarked, his header across the goal looked to be heading in to the far corner was somehow clawed away by keeper Stephen McCarthy who was at full stretch to deny Rattoo Rovers from taking the lead.
Na Fianna began the second half again on the front foot but typical of Rattoo they weren’t phased by the amount of possession their opponents had as they used they counter attacking skills over and over again. Paul O’Connor went close early in the second half but his shot from inside the box missed the target when he should have done better after being sent clear by Barrack Osas.
Kevin O’Connor then played in Joe Bunyan with a ball that sent him passed the last defender. As he entered the penalty area he was bundled over from behind by Barrack Osas and Referee Stuart Templeman quickly pointed to the penalty spot. Kevin O’Connor took on the responsibility and drilled his spot kick straight down the middle passed the keeper who had started moving to his left but still got a slight touch on the ball but it wasn’t enough and Rattoo Rovers were back in front with 35 minutes left to play.
Two minutes later and Rattoo should have killed the game off when substitute Kevin Bowler put Kevin O’Connor through on goal, he went to shoot with his left but faked letting the last defender slid by, he pulled the ball onto his right leg and drilled a low shot past the keeper only for the Na Fianna captain Joe McElligott getting back to slide in and clear the ball off the line.
Paul O’Connor was inches away from a David Murphy low cross moments later with the goal wide open the cross just had to much on it as it flashed across in front of the striker. Time was running out for Na Fianna and they went all out attack going with three at the back. Rattoo were happy to soak up the pressure now and deliver long balls down field to the pacey Kevin Bowler and Kevin o Connor.
Bowler nearly extended their lead with just over ten minutes left but his free kick was well saved low at his right post by Stephen McCarthy. Na Fianna’s best chance of grabbing an equalizer came in the final five minutes. Chris Lyons hit a low free kick from just outside the penalty area, as the wall jumped the ball was rolled under it John McCarthy had to react very quickly to get a strong left hand to the ball which broke to David Dillon but from a very tight angle his shot hit the side netting.
The final minutes of the game faded away with a lot of stoppages which put an end to any hopes of Na Fianna taking the game to extra time. So Rattoo Rovers B team who finished top of the league table are finally crowned Denny Division 2A Champions.
Rattoo Rovers B; John McCarthy, Sean McKenna, Gary Lynch, Kieran Godley ( CAPT) , Mike Hussey, Eddie Joy, Sean Costelloe, Joe Bunyan, Kevin o Connor, John Paul Leahy, John Carroll . Subs, Kevin Bowler for Sean Costelloe ( 57 mins), Padraig Harrington for Eddie Joy ( 64 mins).
Na Fianna; Stephen McCarthy, Aidan o Carroll, Barrack Osas Menlegel, Joe McElligott ( CAPT ), Tom Perryman. Jonathan Toomey, Damien Murphy, David Dillon, Chris Lyons, David Murphy, Paul o Connor. Subs Christopher Breen for Barrack Osas Menlegel ( 68 mins ).
Referee; Stuart Templeman
Assistant; Adrian o Shea
Assistant; Kevin Cunningham