Roscrea Town 3
Cloughjordan Fc 4
Cloughjordan all but ended Roscrea Town’s title hopes on Sunday last in what was a seven goal thriller. Roscrea seemed to be very out of sorts and look to be struggling in the past few weeks.
Clough raced out of the traps and were ahead in the first minute when Kevin Kennedy got himself on the end of a corner and the veteran striker made no mistake from close range. Roscrea equalised on ten minutes when a Craig Byrne corner found Shane Moloney, who’s shot was blocked and Eoin Moloney was on hand to poke the ball home for the hosts.
Roscrea upped the tempo and should have taken the lead two minutes later when a delicious ball into the box from Brian Franks was headed over the bar by Craig Phelan with the goal at his mercy. On the twenty minute mark it was goalscorer Eoin Moloney who would be guilty of missing a guilt edged chances when Phelans cross was perfect for the winger but he somehow managed to miss the target from just a few yards.
Town were made to rue those chances as the emotions were running high on and off the pitch and they were let off the hook when Bryan O’Lone saved brilliantly from Kevin Kennedy. But Clough were awarded for ten minutes of dominance on thirty three when Paul Lake was taken down by O’Lone in the area and Referee Peter Moyles showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. O’Lone would feel somewhat relieved that the referee opted not to book him as he was already booked earlier following a spat with his own players and management. Dean O’Meara stepped up an made no mistake from the spot hitting it low and hard into the bottom left hand corner.
Things went from bad to worse for Town when another corner wasn’t dealt with and Diarmiud Kennedy was on hand to double his sides lead five minutes before half time. Town were living on the edge at this stage and just moments later O’Meara found himself clear on goal but his shot brought another great save from O’Lone.
Roscrea were perhaps unlucky not to half the deficit on the stroke of half time when a Brian Franks free kick rattled the Clough crossbar with Jason Ryan well beaten in the goal.
The second half started as the first did with Roscrea slow to start and a Dean O’Meara cross found Paul Lake and he made no mistake to put his side three goals to the good. Lake would suffer a knock here but with no available subs the striker would have to play on, a decision that would not work out for the player later on.
Town found themselves back in the game on fifty seven minutes when Franks gathered the ball on the edge of the Clough area and his delicious left foot volley found Ryan’s top right corner, a gaol of the season contender for sure. Clough made things hard on themselves on the sixty eighth minute when the injured Lake received his marching orders for a second bookable offence, probably caused by his injury.
Clough continued to press though and should have finished the game off on seventy six minutes when O’Meara broke through and rounded O’Lone only for Ray McNicholas to save the ball on the line.
Roscrea were handed a gift ten minutes from time when a routine cross landed at Jason Ryan’s fists but he could only punch the ball off Diarmiud Kennedy’s head and the ball rebounded into his own goal.
This should have given us a grandstand finale but it wasn’t to be as Town failed to put pressure on Clough and indeed it was the visitors who has the last chance when Kevin Kennedy rattled the crossbar eight minutes from time.
A loss that all but ends Roscrea’s title ambitions and serious cracks are starting to show in a side that are more than capable of beating anyone on their day.
Clough proved again that although very inconsistent they can match the elite in the NT&DL on any given day.
The man of the match award wasn’t tough to pick in this one as Dean O’Meara was a constant nuisance throughout and topped his performance off with a goal and an assist. Brian Franks was the best player on the home side showing great heart throughout.
Stoppagetime.ie Man Of The Match: Dean O’Meara