Hunterstown Rovers continued their 100% start to the new League Division Two season in sensational style on Sunday as they blew Dundalk Young Irelands away – winning by a score of 3-15 to 1-06.
The 15 point victory came without key men Ryan Burns, Glen Matthews and Ryan Ward. Louth star Burns and Matthews are away on mid-term holiday this week while Ward remains out with an ankle injury.
Rovers boss Jim Mathews was critical of the Pairc Baile Fiach surface two weeks ago when Rovers won their Paddy Sheelan Shield encounter with Na Piarsaigh but back on home soil, Rovers had no problem in following up their opening day over O’Raghallaighs with another big win.
In Burns stead, in-form Alan Landy took on the scoring mantle. He brought his tally to 3-15 in the last three matches by scoring 1-05 against the Dundalk side, including his goal just 20 seconds into the second half.
Hunterstown held a good – but not insurmountable – lead at the break. Brendan Lennon’s 18th minute goal and Landy’s three points giving Rovers a five point cushion at the interval – 1-05 to 0-03.
The home side built up their advnantage despite the blow of losing the returning Richie Taaffe in the full back line. He was replaced less than 15 minutes into the game.
After Landy’s early second half goal, Hunterstown ran away with it. Padraig Mathews scored 1-01 and Paul Carrie brought his tally for the day to 0-04 in doing so. Eight of the starting XV contributed scored scores, a fact no doubt pleasing to Mathews.
The Young Irelands were reduced to 14 men with minutes to go as Hunterstown went top of the division after two rounds played.
HUNTERSTOWN ROVERS: Niall Carrie, Brian Mathews, Richard Taaffe, Richard Cunningham, Keith Brennan, Paul Carrie (0-04), Patrick Taaffe, Tony McKenna (0-01), David Finn (0-01), Brendan Lennon (1-01), Muiris O’Suilleabhain (0-01), Martin Lennon, Paddy Mooney (0-01), Padraig Mathews (1-01), Alan Landy (1-05).
In Division 3, John Mitchels earned a huge come-from-behind win against Dowdallshill out in Ballybailie on Sunday – just their second win of a difficult campaign to date.
The Mitchels, under the tutelage of Hugh Diamond and Gerry Gallagher, won out 3-10 to 2-12 against the Dundalk side to move into mid table in what is an admittedly formulative stage of the campaign.
Barry Kirk’s first half goal wasn’t enough to stop the visitors going in ahead at the break – 1-08 to 1-06. But as the scoreline suggests, the Mitchels were well in the game throughout.
The win is all the remarkable considering it came on what was a busy weekend for some of the players lining out. 20 hours earlier, midfielder Aaron Keely and forward Conor Reilly had helped Ardee Rugby Club to Jenkinson Cup success. That night, Mikey Nulty celebrated his 21st. It turned out for that trio, there was much more to celebrate.
A mention should be given too to Ryan Carroll, who dislocated a finger in the warm-up before the match. Rather than miss the action, the finger was popped back in and he played well throughout.
Robbie Coyle top scored for the Mitchels with 1-04 while Reilly impressed again, scoring 0-04 en route the win. Next up for the Mitchels is Thursday nights clash with St Brides ‘B’.
JOHN MITCHELS GFC: David Anderson, Conal Keenan, Alan Mackin, Gareth Finnegan, Ryan Carroll, Aaron Kane, Sam Bingham, Steven Coyle, Aaron Keely, Kevin Gallagher (0-01), Robbie Coyle (1-04), Anthony Coyle, Mikey Nulty (1-00), Conor Reilly (0-04), Barry Kirk (1-01).
Elsewhere, there was a heavy defeat for the Sean McDermotts at the hands of Roche Emmets – 4-19 to 0-06. Stabannon Parnells edged St Kevin’s by three points – 1-13 to 1-10 while the Westerns clash with St Brides was postponed.
In Division 1, Ardee St Marys ended a run of successive defeats by beating the Geraldine’s 0-13 to 1-08 at Pairc Muire on Sunday afternoon. You can our full match report from that win by clicking here.