The Rock v Mountmellick - O'Connell free gives The Rock a share of the spoils

A free from The Rock's wing forward Shane O'Connell with just five seconds of normal time left ensured a share of the spoils between these two local rivals in The Rock on Sunday afternoon.

The Rock 2-7

Mountmellick 1-10

The home side will have been the far happier of the two teams, as they trailed by six points at half time and faced into very strong wind in the second half, but the half time talk in the dressing room obviously did the trick.

Substitute Ciaran Carroll proved to be a very important player for The Rock too, as he seized his chance when introduced after injury forced Danny McRedmond off after just seven minutes. Carroll scored 1-2 in total, with his goal putting The Rock ahead for the first time in the game.

Mountmellick will be angry with themselves for throwing away such a healthy advantage at half time, as they had played into the wind superbly in the first half. With Shane Conlon pulling the strings for them and John O'Loughlin acting as a target man at full forward, they controlled the game from the first whistle.

Conlon pointed a free inside of a minute with corner forward Darren McDermott adding another moments later with a good effort from out on the right wing. PJ Harding responded with a free for The Rock, but it was only a temporary stay from the Mountmellick onslaught. Conlon pointed another free before further points from Bernard Rochford, John O'Loughlin and Ger Reddin sent them further ahead, with Harding offering the only response for The Rock with another free.

Things went from bad to worse for the men in red just before half time, as Mountmellick scored the game's first goal. The move started with Colm Coss, who played a one-two with Shane Conlon before finding Darren McDermott unmarked in front of goal, and he finished low past Brendan Dalton to open up a seven point gap.

Ciaran Carroll managed a point in response for The Rock before half time to make it 1-6 to 0-3, but it looked ominous for them at half time, as Mountmellick were on top all over the field and would have the wind at their backs in the second half.

The Rock needed to start the new half positively, and they were like a different team on the restart. There was a much quicker tempo to their play, and they were rewarded five minutes in when Ivan Lawlor's huge leap on the edge of the Mountmellick box won possession, and he off-loaded to Paul Dunne who was left with a simple finish for a crucial goal.

Two Shane O'Connell points in as many minutes saw the gap reduced to the minimum, and Mountmellick needed Shane Conlon to point a free to relieve some of the pressure on an overworked back line. It didn't relieve the pressure for long though, and midway through the half The Rock had hit the front.

It was their second goal which put them in the lead for the first time, as Paul Dunne's shot for a point got held up by the wind and forced Donie O'Mahony to come out off his line. In the jump for the ball with The Rock full forward, it spilled loose and into the path off the in-rushing Ciaran Carroll, who shot first time along the ground for a goal.

Colm Coss responded with a good point under pressure, and Mountmellick slowly got themselves back into the game, and with a minute to go, a Shane Conlon free put them a point ahead. It looked like it would be enough, but then Colm Coss' silly foul on Tom McDonald gave Shane O'Connell The Rock the chance to draw level, and he held his nerve to split the posts.

SCORERS - Mountmellick: Shane Conlon 0-5 (four frees), Darren McDermott 1-1, Ger Reddin, Colm Coss, Bernard Rochford, John O'Loughlin 0-1 each.

The Rock: Ciaran Carroll 1-2, Paul Dunne 1-0, Shane O'Connell 0-3 (two frees), PJ Harding 0-2

THE ROCK: Bernard Dalton; Paul Harding, Paddy Dunne, Colm Delaney; Danny McRedmond, Tom McDonald, Fergus Dunne; Mark Dunne, Philip Peake; Shane O'Connell, Paul Dunne, PJ Harding; Diarmuid Dooley, Stephen McDonald, Ivan Lawlor. Subs: Ciaran Carroll for McRedmond (7 mins - injured)

MOUNTMELLICK: Donie O'Mahony; Richard McElwee, Niall Gorman, Gearoid Hanrahan; John Lawlor, Ger Reddin, Mark Turner; Colm Coss, Willie Flanagan; Michael Lawlor, Bernard Rochford, Shane Conlon; Darren McDermott, John O'Loughlin, Tom Minihan. Subs: Sean George for M Lawlor (29 mins - injured), Karl Donoher for Flanagan (45 mins)

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Stradbally)


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