Roscrea hosted Holycross Fc on Tuesday evening and we were treated to a fantastic game in the the cold wintery conditions
The visitors started the game strongest and should have went ahead in the second minute when Jojo O’Meara found himself in space but Roscrea custodian Michael Lynch was equal to the resulting shot. Roscrea were on the lucky side only three minutes later when O’Meara was through on goal only to be ruled offside when he looked onside. Town began to settle after this and on fourteen minutes they had their first real chance when a Luke Fitzgerald cross found the divisions top scorer Joe Callaghan and he headed just wide of the target.
It was Holycross however who took the lead on seventeen minutes when a Jerry Ryan corner resulted in a mammoth scramble in the box and James King reacted quickest to tap the ball home. Things went from bad to worse for the home side on nineteen minutes when Jason Fitzpatrick clumsily lost the ball in midfield and Jojo O’Meara collected the ball and ran through on goal and buried the ball past a helpless Lynch in the goal, a brilliant finish.
The away side were nearly three goals to the good only a minute later when this time it was Colin O’Meara who found space in the box and passed the ball into the bottom corner only to have it ruled out for offside. On twenty two minutes Lynch was called into action when he saved down to his right from Colin O’Meara.
Against the run of play Roscrea got themselves back into the game when Joe Callaghan was put through by a delicious pass from Stephen Murphy and he made no mistake with a low finish past Cormac O’Connor in the goal. Town nearly equalised on thirty four minutes when a J.Fitzpatrick free kick from thirty five yards somehow managed to hit the post with the keeper beaten. Holycross finished the half on the front foot when a Calum O’Connor shot from the edge of the box was saved by Lynch again.
Holycross started the second half as they ended the first when only a minute in O’Connor found space in the box but shot wide when he should have hit the target. Town very nearly equalised on forty nine minutes when a quick corner was crossed in by Micky Ryan and the resulting header from Shane Davis narrowly missed the target.
Town were awarded a well deserved penalty on fifty two minutes when David Buckley was fouled in the area by Jerry Ryan. Callaghan stepped up and made no mistake as he sent O’Connor the wrong way to make it two goals apiece. Callaghan nearly grabbed his hattrick only three minutes later when he shot from distance, his shot however went inches over the bar.
Roscrea completed their comeback on sixty six minutes when a long free kick from Jason Fitzpatrick seen Murphy ghost in a nod the ball past the oncoming O’Connor in the Holycross goal.
The score would stay the same until ten minutes from time when Holycross pegged the hosts back, a free kick from Calum O’Connor was put in the perfect position for Aaron Delaney to head home from point blank range. Roscrea should have retaken the lead almost immediately when a long ball up the field seen Murphy flick the ball onto Callaghan and he turned the defender brilliantly but his shot rebounded off the post much to the chagrin of the in form striker.
Holycross were determined to win and with five minutes to go a fantastic JP Butler pass found O’Meara again through on goal but once again Lynch was on hand to tip the ball over the bar, a fantastic save. Lynch was called into action again two minutes from time when O’Meara shot again but his deflected effort was again saved by the very impressive Lynch in the Roscrea goal. The final chance of the game landed at O’Meara’s feet when O’Connor raced down the right wing and his low cross found O’Meara bearing down on the goal but he somehow managed to put the ball over the bar from only six yards out.
A fantastic game for the neutral and both sets of supporters were served up a thriller.
Holycross probably shaded the game overall on chances and possession but the home sides grit and determination was second to none.
The top players on the day included Stephen Murphy and Joe Callaghan for Roscrea, both strikers played an integral part in the result and were at the forefront of every attack for the home side.
Calum O’Connor and Jojo O’Meara were the best of the away side with the latter perhaps unlucky not to win the game for his side.
But the stoppagetime.ie Man Of The Match award goes to Michael Lynch who time after time kept his side in the game, none moreso than the save from O’Meara in the closing stages.