Friday, 23 August 2019 at 01:12 PM Galvin Early
Plumbridge was the venue for Owen Roe's latest ACL game of the season, as they hosted high-flying Fintona. This was a game where both sides had periods of supremacy but some defensive slips by the home side saw them punished and Fintona grab a six-point win.
It was the visitors who set up base camp first as they dominated the early exchanges, and within 50 seconds had the ball in the net. Fintona won a free kick 30 yards from goal, and with the Owen Roe's defence napping the ball was quickly fed to Mark McCoole who had the simple job of planting past the bemused Dylan Early in goal.
Fintona added to their lead with Mark Donnelly executing a short free, and the Pearse's Poraic Kelly waltzing through to point. Things could've been much worse for the O'Neills on ten minutes when Donnelly's looping shot hit the post and away to safety.
However the 2003 ACL champions managed to get up field and Kiernan Kelly knocked over a dead ball, and when Marcus McGinley fed Kelly for his second a minute later the home challenge was off and running.
Just past the quarter hour captain Aidan McCrossan swivelled and clipped a nice point, before the same player repeated the dose punishing a lax kick out by the Fintona stopper.
With six minutes of the half remaining Kelly collected another placed score to restore parity. It could've got even better for the Leckpatrick side as John Harper's fizzing, goal point effort was tipped away by the finger tips of the Fintona wing-back.
With the half closing, McCrossan worked a free short for Conor McCay to point. Just when it looked like the visitors would be a point down on the short whistle, Donnelly scored another dead kick to tie it at the break.
Half Time: Owen Roes 0-6 Fintona 1-3
Owen Roes' concession of an early major in the first half was careless, so to do so in the second half too would've been unforgivable. However that's exactly what happed as gaping holes appeared to allow Benny McCarney in to nip ahead of Early to plant home.
The game had now entered a scrappy phase, with both sides struggling to take the initiative, and wasteful kicking the order of the day. It took until the 46th minute for the next score of the contest, and what a fine score it was.
Substitute Stephen McCauley wrestled possession to feed Aidan McCrossan. McCrossan in turn fed Kiernan Kelly who had still much work to do from his side line position. However the diminutive corner-forward raced in and slipped a cheeky finish to the net.
Critically the Green and Reds could not keep possession to try and eek a lead. At the other end Fintona struck back in style. Early saved Donnelly's initial drive but the ball fall back to the Fintona full forward who fed the unmarked Pearse's sub Mark Kelly at the far post to fist to the empty net on 51 minutes.
Fintona's subs were to have a huge bearing on the closing stages of the contest, as twice in a minute another of their replacements Aaron McCarney struck replica points. Owen Roes sprung a sub of their own, and Noel Mullen found range, but the game was up for the home side.
Donnelly from play slotted over, before a volleyed effort from the Fintona wing forward Niall Mellon ended the game.
A frustrating evening for the home side, as this will be one that got away. Lack of concentration at the back was punished by the Fintona offensive division, and a toothless display by much of the Owen Roes attack ensured that Fintona maintain their challenge at he head of ACL division 3.
Referee: Paul Mallon (Edendork)
Team: 1. Dylan Early 2.Kevin O'Neill 3.Brendan McCrossan 4.Paul Kelly 5. Davy Harte 6. Gerard Devine 7. Cathal Dooher 8. Marcus McGinley 9.Clarke Stephenson 10.Aidan McCrossan (0-2) 11.Conor McCay (0-1) 12.Chris Kelly 13.Kiernan Kelly (1-3) 14.Ronan Parker 15.John Harper 16.Kevin Doherty for Dooher (35 mins) 17.Stephen McCauley for Harper (40 mins).18.Brendan Boggs for Parker (43 mins) 19.Noel Mullen (0-1) for Stephenson (51 mins) 20.Mark Kelly for McCauley (55 mins)