Reilly praises Rockcorry's title heroes
Rockcorry 3-10 Faughanvale 0-09
Rockcorry provided another significant boost for Monaghan football when they strode imperiously to the Ulster Club Junior Championship title at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh yesterday.
In a year in which the Ulster senior title has again arrived in Monaghan and a shoal of individual honours have come the way of skipper Conor McManus, Rockcorry contributed handsomely to a vintage season with a swashbuckling performance that hinted at even better things to come.
Skipper Johnny Reilly epitomised the spirit that underscored his team's triumph when he declared: "The team possess tremendous character and skill and I think we showed both of these qualities in this match. The players have made tremendous sacrifices all year and they have now got their just reward."
For Faughanvale, this was a bitter setback, a demoralising experience that left the squad devastated.
Player-manager Joe Gray conceded that Rockcorry's sixth-minute goal and their subsequent ability to convert half-chances coupled with the outstanding performance of their goalkeeper Jamie Smith were central to their success.
Gray said: "You have to hand it to them. This was certainly not one of our best performances and we were always chasing the game after giving away that early goal."
Rockcorry's brisk style forced Faughanvale onto the back foot in the early stages and they found themselves in command with just six minutes gone, Mark McGuirk's point from a free having been complemented by his slickly-taken goal.
Rockcorry goalkeeper Smith, however, was forced to pull off three superb first-half saves that added to Faughanvale's frustration as they attempted to gain some sort of rhythm but still found themselves 1-6 to 0-2 in arrears at half-time.
The Derry team's woes were compounded when Fergal McGeough drilled home a spectacular second goal for Rockcorry before substitute Martin Carroll brought them to their knees with a third strike in the 55th minute.
Gray, Martin McGuinness and Eunan Murray managed to pilfer a handful of points for the losers but their efforts proved fruitless on a day when the team's best form deserted them.
Rockcorry, meanwhile, go marching on.
ROCKCORRY: J Smith; C Quinn, J Reilly, N McKeown; S McGuirk 0-1, K Daly, C McGeough; M Thornton, M Daly 0-1; C Sheridan, F McGeough 1-4 (0-1f), P McKeown 0-1; M McGuirk 1-1 (0-1f), N Carroll, L Smyth 0-1. Subs: M Carroll 1-0 for Sheridan (52), A Tate 0-1 for S McGuirk (58), A McGorman for Smyth (60). Yellow cards: McKeown 37, N Carroll 47.
FAUGHANVALE: D Moore; D McGuinness, M Sweeney 0-1, G Fahey; J Curran 0-1 , S King, A Cassidy; O McKinney, C O'Hara; E McElhinney, J Gray 0-3 (0-2f), M McGuinness 0-2; K Martin 0-1, R King, E Murray 0-1. Subs: S Bradley for Martin (32), O Quinn for O'Hara (44), M Mclaughlin for McKinney (57). Yellow cards: McElhinney (37), R King (53).
Referee: Sean Laverty (Antrim)