Ballynagross Secure Early Season Win Over Rossglass

The first game of the season for both Ballynagross and Rossglass saw both teams rusty but energetic.

Newcastle and District Amateur Football League.

Division 1.

Ballynagross FC 3 V 2 Rossglass County FC.

A first league outing for both teams after the long Covid related absence due to government restrictions saw both teams somewhat ring rusty in a game that saw plenty of energy, enthusiasm, endeavour and some clinical finishes in the game. Both teams will take heart from this performance moving forward and will have better days ahead writes Cyril McKinney.

From the first whistle both sides hustled and bustled end-to-end without really troubling either keeper and largely cancelled each other out in the early stages. Ballynagross took the lead on 21 minutes when a great through ball from John Shields saw Luke Shields beat the offside trap to home in on goal and fired to the corner of the net past the hapless Hamilton in the Rossglass net.

Ballynagross were now on the front foot and could have increased their lead on 27 minutes but McComiskey shot over from just inside the box. A minute later Rossglass had a chance when Lennon disposed the ex-Rossglass defender Ryan Tumelty wide on the Rossglass right and fizzed a great ball across the Ballynagross six yard line only to see Shea McComiskey clear his lines at the other end of the pitch.

(l-r) Conor Marron and Philip Martin in action in their first game of the new season.

Rossglass hopes were dampened on 32 minutes when the persistent Shields yet again broke the off side trap and rounded the keeper and from an acute angle fired home to put Ballynagross 2-0 up heading towards half time.

To their credit Rossglass were on the front foot driven on by the hard-working Burke and Toner who had a shot over the bar from the edge of the box just before the half-time whistle. During the first half Ballynagross had a couple of shouts for a penalty turned away by the referee.

Right from the restart of the second period, Rossglass pressed forward and were rewarded on 48 minutes when the ball fell to Marc Burke on the left edge of the Ballynagross box and his screamer of a shot flew in to the far corner of the Ballynagross net past the despairing dive of Arnold for a fantastic finish.

The game ebbed and flowed end-to-end but on 66 minutes Ballynagross increased their lead with a neat back post header from substitute McNeill from a great left wing cross from Johnston.

Forward Joseph Burns in possession for Ballynagross as Rossglass’ Marc Burke closes in.

Marc Burke had a free from outside the box on 68 minutes sail over the bar before finally reducing the deficit on 73 minutes when he fired past the helpless Arnold at his near post despite the attention of three Ballynagross defenders to make it 2-3.

The final phase of the game saw both teams cancel each other out in the middle third with neither side able to find that final quality ball to create a clear scoring opportunity. Overall Ballynagross shaded it but Rossglass will come again and both sides will take heart from this rusty performance after the long lay-off.

Ballynagross FC

Cathail Arnold, Deaglan Craig, Corey Davis, Ryan Tumelty, Connor Marron, Karl Johnston, Shea McComiskey, John Shields, Luke Shields, Joseph Burns, Ciaran Evans

Subs: Tom Savage, Thomas McNeil

Rossglass County FC

Chris Hamilton, Shane Rea, Conor Black, Caolain Toner, James Hanna, Oran Tumelty, Philip Martin, Marc Burke, Jordan Carson, Ben Lennon, Nial Donnan

Subs: Blain Lennon, Shay Blaney, Aidan McEvoy