By Mike Fitzpatrick
Offaly 2-9, Rockland 1-9
Had this Senior Football Div. II game been on opening day, it would have been argued in the bars and clubs of Yonkers and the Bronx that Offaly would have been sure favorites to clinch the two championship points. Facing newly promoted Rockland, in their first season as a senior team, not many would have betted against Sean Guinan’s side.
Now, however, two months into the season, and the league tables tell a whole new story. Rockland, the new boys, had played three and won three before stepping onto the field of play for this one. It was always going to be a highly competitive game, with both sides vying for the playoffs to get back into the top flight where both feel they deserve to be.
Rockland opened as the stronger side, grabbing some fines scores from Mike Fitzpatrick, and Trevor Mortimer to snatch an early lead. Offaly came right back and hit a few in, thanks to the efforts of Pa Treacy, Mark Scanlon and Davie Reynolds.
A seemingly all-important goal flew over the line courtesy of the boot of Rockland’s Gerry O’Riordan, and though Mike Dolan and Danny Leavy hit back for Offaly, it was Rockland which entered the break sporting a three-point lead.
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However, Sean Guinan’s half time words obviously had an effect on his Offaly players. Offaly came out with only a victory on their minds. Pa Treacy in the Offaly midfield was truly inspirational, grabbing two points himself, and sending balls forward at every opportunity in an effort to clinch the lead back for his side. And do that he did.
A great ball forward to Paul Glennon resulted in Guinan’s men hitting the equalizer, then further forward play resulted in Paul Glennon moving his side ahead of Rockland for the first time of the afternoon with a well taken point.
Treacy’s second point of the afternoon gave Offaly a slightly healthier cushion, and a further goal from Nigel Kearney put Offaly in the driving seat despite Rockland scores from Mike Fitzpatrick and Grogan.
It all adds to an exciting finish in the Senior Football Div. II, and with some great games coming up, it’s advisable to get on up to Gaelic Park.
Offaly: Tom Furlong, Mark Dolan, Colm Scanlon, Pat Leavy, Trevor Willis, Sean Nolan, Mike Dolan (0-1), John Higgins, Mark Scanlon (0-1), Pa Treacy (0-2), Danny Leavy (0-1), Nigel Kearney (1-0), Brendan lynch, Dave Reynolds (0-3), Paul Glennon (1-1). Subs: Dan Sheehan, Francie Cox
Rockland: Jimmy Dwyer, Ciaran Lee, Tom O’Riordan, Dermot Yorke, Tommy Acton, Mike Healy, Jimmy O’Flynn, Tom McHugh, Paddy Corcoran, Gerry O’Riordan (1-0), Mike Fitzpatrick (0-5), Gerry Grogan (0-2), Dave Fitzgerald (0-1), Trevor Mortimer (0-1), Sean Rapple. Subs: Emmet Woods, Sean Soraghan, Donal Cassidy.