Dunloy, Ballymena

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Rossa Race Into Last Four



O'Donovan Rossa Magherafelt 1-15

St Colm's Ballinascreen 2-05


Rossa assumed control of this game in the second half and eased their way into the last four of the O'Neill's Derry SFC as the Ballinascreen challenge faded.


Benny Heron capitalised on an early Odhran Lynch error to scramble the ball to the net, but a calm response from the Rossa men saw them go in at the break level thanks to a huge Shane Heavron effort.


'Screen were reduced to 14 men with the sending off of Philly McGlade on 37 minutes and Magherafelt stretched clear against the tired legs of chasing St Colm's.


Cormac Murphy's 44th minute goal put them firmly in the driving seat and despite a fortuitous Benny Heron goal eight minutes from time, Rossa recorded a comfortable 7-point victory.


Murphy opened the scoring on 5 minutes with a neat finish but it took until the 9th minute before Ballinascreen could register their opening point, Shane Mulgrew's hanging free tipped over the crossbar by Rossa 'keeper Odhran Lynch.


Jared Monaghan restored the Magherafelt lead, collecting a short free and firing over the top of the 'Screen defence and between the uprights with the outside of his left boot, but St Colm's hit back through a dipping Benny Heron effort to restore parity.


A high Cormac Murphy effort then dropped dangerously on top of Ryan Scullion's goalmouth, but the 'Screen stopper was saved the hassle of having to deal with it when Emmett McGuckin came steaming in to punch it over the bar and regain his side's lead.


Shane Mulgrew, so impressive in the 1st Round for Ballinascreen, then hit two in three minutes, the first from a dead ball, as St Colm's wrestled the lead back from Rossa hands, only for a close-range Shane Heavron score to again level the score.


Man of the Match Conor Kearns was continuing to surge forward from half back and only a timely Carlus McWilliams intervention had prevented him from a clean run on goal just minutes earlier, but this time the half-back did wriggle free to end a slick passing move and edge Rossa back in front.


Magherafelt were beginning to find their rhythm but were rocked by the concession of the game's first goal two minutes before half-time, Odhran Lynch spilling a long-range Ronan Murphy effort into the run of Benny Heron, who made no mistake from point blank range.


There was no panic in the Rossa ranks however and late points from Danny and Shane Heavron levelled matters before the break. The latter had the stand on their feet with a swinging left-footed effort from distance.

A flurry of wides greeted the arrival of the second period but the deadlock was broken in the 37th minute when Ballinascreen's Philly McGlade received a second yellow for his challenge on Cormac Murphy.


Shane Heavron converted the free and despite Carlus McWilliams levelling immediately, Rossa turned the screw on their opponents.


Another Shane Heavron free edged them back in front, before Danny Heavron cut out a loose pass in midfield and found Antone McElhone, whose quick hands found Cormac Murphy. The full-forward then rounded the onrushing Ryan Scullion and squeezed it inside his left-hand post to extend the lead to four.


Emmett McGuckin's 51st minute score was quickly followed by a 52nd minute black card and from the resulting free-kick, 'Screen were thrown a lifeline, Benny Heron's effort bouncing in the six yard box and sailing straight into Lynch's net to leave just two points separating the sides.


The Rossa response was ruthless however and they fired over 0-05 without reply in the remainder of the game.


Cormac Murphy hit back immediately and was then succeeded by Shane Heavron, Conor McCluskey and a late brace from substitute Declan Martin to leave the winning margin at seven points.


The Rossa men watched the second game in relaxed fashion in front of the press box and the prize for their efforts will be a Semi-Final tie against a resurgent Banagher in a fortnight's time.


O'Donovan Rossa: Odhran Lynch, Simon McErlain, Darren O'Neill, Guiseppe Lupari, Conor McCluskey (0-01), Fergal Duffin, Conor Kearns (0-01), Jared Monaghan (0-01), Daniel Heavron (0-01), Paddy McLarnon, Shane Heavron (0-01, 0-04f), John Young, Antoin McElhone, Cormac Murphy (1-02), Emmett McGuckin (0-02).


Subs: Declan Martin (0-02) for Paddy McLarnon 41', Conor Doherty for Emmett McGuckin 53' - Black Card, Joe Keenan for Antone McElhone 60', Paul O'Kane for John Young 60', Sean Óg Monaghan for Shane Heavron 62'.


St Colm's: Ryan Scullion, Michael McShane, Ronan Murphy, Ryan Doyle, Martin Bradley, Phillip McGlade, Carlus McWilliams (0-01), Dermot McBride, Phillip Bradley, Barry Grant, Shane Mulgrew (0-02, 0-01f), Noel Rafferty, Emmet Duggan, Benny Heron (2-01), Conor McGovern.


Subs: Niall Doyle for Emmet Duggan 39', Anton Kelly for Conor McGovern 50', Patrick Burns for Phillip Bradley 53', Conor McGovern for Ryan Doyle 62'.


Referee: Barry Cassidy - Wolfe Tone's Bellaghy


Man of the Match: Conor Kearns - O'Donovan Rossa


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