Rostrevor relegated after 6 point defeat

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Monday, August 31st, 2015
Community, Sport
DOWN ACFL DIVISION ONE – MATCHDAY FOURTEEN ROSTREVOR 1-09 – 2-12 CASTLEWELLAN By Kieran McNally Rostrevor became the fourth side to be relegated in this season’s top flight, as Castlewellan finished strongly to claim a six-point win at Pettit Park on Friday night.
Adrian Mackin palms in the ball for Rostrevor

Adrian Mackin palms in the ball for Rostrevor

The Reds have been unlucky this season with a number of close encounters against the top sides getting away from them, compounded with unflattering performances in some of the must win games and this one will hurt also, as a series of late frees and a very harsh sending off paved the way for a late surge from the visitors. It was always going to be difficult to garner enough points with two home wins being less than satisfactory over the course of the season. However, one would imagine that there will be a swift return to the revamped twelve-team top flight in the next year, if performances remain at the level seen for the majority of the season. Perhaps, the biggest problem for the Reds was that Jonathan Parr was their main scoring threat and; whilst his long-range place kicking was exemplary all evening, Rostrevor struggled to break through the Town’s defence for long periods in open play. Indeed, the game was in the melting pot entering the closing moments, but the Reds just needed that something extra going forward to seal the victory and it never came. Sean Dornan opened the scoring for Castlewellan in the opening minute of a very even first half. Jonathan Parr sent over two points from the 45-yard line with Shaun Parr finding the target in between points from the visitors’ Daniel Morgan and Rory Burns, as the sides were level at the end of the opening quarter; 0-3 to 0-3. The first big moment arrived in favour of Rostrevor in the 18th minute with Adrian Mackin reacting well to a defensive slip to palm the ball to the net after a neat setup with Shaun Parr had left Micheal Cunningham exposed. Both sides struggled with their final ball and a number of slips and incidents of poor handling made for a rather error-ridden affair. It came to pass that the next score would provide the first of two major sucker punches for the Reds. Things were going reasonably well until Cahal Crilly was sent to the floor when racing through on goal for a penalty on 24 minutes. Kevin Duffin took the spot kick and Jonathan Parr can count himself very unlucky to have seen the ball somehow slip into the right corner via the post. Aidan Burns’ free on the half-time whistle ensured a single-point advantage for Castlewellan at the interval. HALF TIME: ROSTREVOR 1-03 – 1-04 CASTLEWELLAN Jonathan Parr levelled the match from the placed ball in the 34th minute with Aidan Burns responding immediately with his second point of the evening. Rostrevor would find the next two scores though, as they took the lead by the 37th minute through scores from Jonathan Connolly and Parr’s fourth long-range effort. Disaster struck in the 41st minute though, as Cahal Crilly provided the lay off for Liam McKibben to fire inside his near post for Castlewellan to spring back into a two-point lead. Aidan Burns send over a free to extend the lead, but points from Parr and Conor Doyle brought it back it down to the minimum with twelve minutes left on the clock; 1-8 to 2-6. Burns and Parr would exchange points, but the Rostrevor goalkeeper’s sixth free would turn out to be Rostrevor’s last score of the evening, as Castlewellan fired over the final five points at the end of the contest. It’s difficult to qualify some of the frees that were awarded by referee Shane Lowey in the final stages, as he was acres away from the action at times and gave frees that were nonsensical on occasion; for both sides it has to be said. However, the key decisions gifted Castlewellan with scoring opportunities to advance their position. Aidan Burns sent over a brace of close-range frees, as Rostrevor’s Darren McIlhenny found himself receiving his marching orders for two yellow cards arising from the one incident. It was quite a strange situation, as the initial free was reasonably soft but dissent for his second yellow was disappointing. It defied understanding how the red card actually came to pass. However, it made Castlewellan’s task easier and three further scores in the closing moments sealed a very good win for the visitors and one that keeps them in a decent position regarding their survival heading into their final game at home to Ballyholland. They will now look to Rostrevor to do them a favour in Longstone when those games are eventually played in October. The Reds’ championship progress provides a clearer picture of their actual status given the nuances of the league results and structure changes and they will hope to progress to the semi-finals in a few weeks. ROSTREVOR SCORERS; Adrian Mackin (1-0), Jonathan Parr (0-6 6f), Shaun Parr, Conor Doyle and Jonathan Connolly (0-1 each). CASTLEWELLAN SCORERS; Kevin Duffin (1-0 pen), Liam McKibben (1-0), Aidan Burns (0-8 6f), Daniel Morgan, Sean Dornan, Rory Burns and Damien McGrady (0-1 each).
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