LAST year was a remarkabkle one for Rosenallis GAA club and in particular for their junior football team which not only won the county title but added the Leisnter crown for good measure. Twelve months down the line their footballers got their intermediate life off to a great start. In tye opoeniung round in Portarlington on Thursday night they pulled off the first shock of the year when they beat Timahoe. Surprisingly they held the upper hand throughout but four second half points from Mark Dunne were to prove crucial in the end. Having already beaten Timahoe in the league this year, they led from almost start to finish. But it was Dunne’s display, who started at midfield, that caught the eye as his personal tally helped Rosenallis claim a three point win.This was a tense affair with just four points scored in the first twenty minutes of the game. Colm Poole and James Jackson kicked frees for Rosenallis but Timahoe kept in touch via Ruairi O’Connor and Joe O’Connor. Timahoe were without Damien O’Connor and Sean Ramsbottom through injury but they were in front by the 28th minute as Ruairi O’Connor and Brendan Quigley landed points.But the game sprang to life in the closing stages of the half. James Jackson rifled a shot beyond Eoin Culleton to register the game’s first goal with Joseph Shelly chipping in with a point for Rosenallis. Timahoe grabbed a late score from Ruairi O’Connor but Rosenallis took a 1-4 to 0-5 lead into the break.As in the first half, the sides traded a brace of points each on the resumption of play as Timahoe saw efforts from Richard Oxley and Ruairi O’Connor cancelled out by Colm Poole and Mark Dunne.However, Rosenallis took complete control of the game then and moved six points clear entering the final quarter. Mark Dunne kicked two more before John Lennon and Darren McEvoy popped up with one each to move them 1-10 to 0-7 ahead.Timahoe needed something to reignite their challenge and they got it after 48 minutes when some great work by Joe O’Connor created space for Richard Oxley who planted the ball into the net.Rosenallis responded to that with a free from James Jackson and another from the imperious Dunne to go five clear again.Timahoe hit back via Ruairi O’Connor and then left just one between them with seven minutes to play when Brendan Quigley drove a shot to the roof of the net for the game’s third goal.Ronan Murray and Ruairi O’Connor then traded points before the latter was sent off for a second bookable offence to leave Timahoe with 14 men for the final three minutes of normal time.And they couldn’t score again as Colm Poole and Mark Dunne pointed late for Rosenallis to put the gloss on a truly remarkable victory.They will now head into the winners section while Timahoe are in the losers group and know that one more defeat will end their challenge for another year.
ROSENALLIS: Barry Farrell; Cormac White, Ruaidhri C-Fennell, Marcus Redmond; Paddy Keating, John Lennon, Fiachra C-Fennell; Darren McEvoy (0-2), Mark Dunne (0-4); Colm Poole (0-4, 0-3f), Ronan Murray (0-1), James Jackson (1-2, 0-2f); Joseph Shelly (0-1), Brian Fitzpatrick, Cathal C-Fennell. Sub: Paul Maher for Jackson
TIMAHOE: Eoin Culliton; Padraig Brady, James O’Connor, James Whelehan; Conor Whelehan, Joe O’Connor (0-1), Richie Oxley (1-1); Brendan Quigley (1-1), Michael Kerr; Colum Dunne, Padraig Kelly, Seán Dundon; Colm Lalor, Ruairi O’Connor (0-6, 0-3f), Robbie Foyle.
Referee: Eoin Shiels (Portlaoise)