Thursday, 14 February 2019 at 11:41 PM Joe Hegarty
Owen Roe’s Reserve side negotiated the loss of 3 men to red cards to safely battle their way into the last 4 of the 2018 Intermediate Reserve Championship last Friday night in Strabane. Behind at the break on the scoreboard and in terms of personnel it took a brave showing by the Leckpatrick back line in the second half to get over the line.
Strabane got off to a sharp start with David Taylor pointing straight from throw-in, a score that was immediately cancelled out by Niall McAleer as both sides presented evidence of a tight but high scoring encounter. This assumption was illustrated by Brian Breslin kicking Strabane ahead with the game’s third attack.
Breslin put Strabane further ahead before Owen Roe’s got their first goal on 9 minutes, Niall McAleer’s pointed effort dropped into the net with Mark O’Neill applying suitable pressure.
Sigerson’s did level up but efforts from Ruairi Boylan and Mark O’Neill put the Leckpatrick side ahead once more. Indeed things got even better for the O’Neill’s on 17 minutes, Andy Devine’s 45 fell just short but Marty O’Neill profited from the confusion to stab the loose ball to the net.
Tom McDermot struck back straight away for Strabane, with one score from play and one from a dead ball, as they knuckled down to the task of eating into the Owen Roe’s lead. Ronan Parker clipped over for the away side but Strabane bounced back into the contest on 22 minutes. Taylor appeared to have lost possession but when the ball came back to him he finished past Andy Devine to the goal with a placed effort. A minute later Taylor added another point to the Strabane tally.
It was all Strabane at this stage and Dylan Forbes clipped over to put the home side ahead with a few minutes of the half remaining, with dead ball scores from McDermot and Eamon Dudgeon adding to the lead. Things got worse for Owen Roe’s at that point with midfielder Niall McAleer pocketing a second yellow card to leave the away side a man light.
A short range free from McDermot on the half time whistle left Strabane in a strong position going into the break four to the good.
Scoring was harder to come by at the start of the second half with Dudgeon’s free kick 8 minutes in the first chance the scoreboard had to tick over.
Defender Peter O’Flaherty started the Owen Roe’s comeback as he was quickest to a ball off the post on 42 minutes to tap over with Ronan Parker’s close range free minutes later also on target. However Forbes replied at the other end to keep Strabane well ahead.
Nevertheless with a quarter of the game to go Owen Roe’s struck for their 3rd goal to really inject life into their fight back. Oisin Dooher weaved through the tackles with his ball into the square being caught and struck by Mark O’Neill to the rigging. Dooher added a point of his own seconds later with a well taken individual effort to level up with Parker also scoring when his goal bound shot was tipped over the bar.
It was a really productive Owen Roe’s purple patch with Parker again the man clipping over from the kick out following good work by Damian McCrossan. A move the length of the field involving nine different players saw Parker again in range as the visitors cleverly negated the man disadvantage.
Forbes replied for Strabane as they tried to navigate a way back into the game on 55 mins with McDermot’s placed kick putting a single point in it once more.
Nonetheless the Roe’s were defending manfully and good work in the backline gave a platform for Parker to stroke over once more. The Leckpatrick cause wasn’t helped by the dismissal of Damian McCrossan with a couple of minutes to go, but as often happens the numerical disadvantage only served to galvanise the side with the men down as Marty O’Neill swung over a well hit shot.
Owen Roe’s were reduced to the dozen deep in stoppage time as Eamon McBride was sent off but it mattered little as a determined defence closed out the final Strabane attack to reach the last four.
Owen Roes: Andy Devine, Rory Devine, Conor Doherty, Peter O’Flaherty (0-1), Ruairi Kelly, Aidan Christy, Damian McCrossan, Barry McDaid, Niall McAleer (1-1), Eamon McBride, Mark O’Neill (1-1), Ruiari Boylan (0-1), Oisin Dooher (0-1), Ronan Parker (0-6), Marty O’Neill (1-1). Subs: Davy Harte for Ruairi Kelly (30 mins), Connor Devine for McDaid (43 Mins).