NW FOOTBALL: Roe Rovers inflict Celtic’s first league defeat of the season

Roe Rovers pictured in their new kit, which was kindly sponsored by Richard McArthur of RM Roofing and Plastics Ltd. INLS12-NW Roe Rovers
Roe Rovers pictured in their new kit, which was kindly sponsored by Richard McArthur of RM Roofing and Plastics Ltd. INLS12-NW Roe Rovers

Roe Rovers caused somewhat of a shock at the weekend as they beat undefeated Draperstown Celtic 5-2.

Going into the game the South Derry team had a proud record of being unbeaten in all competitions this season, but that record came to an abrupt end at Scroggy Road.

Nine wins in nine games in the First Division meant Celtic are champions elect and Rovers knew nothing but a win could restore their title challenge.

Rovers received the boost of having Tony Clyde return after five months out injured.

The opening 25 minutes where very cagey with neither side willing to over commit.

Jack McGonigle got the first shot of the game which sailed over the bar and Draperstown had a long range effort hit the bar but that was the only decent chances.

The visitors took the lead after 27 minutes when a good 1-2 opened up the Rovers and the low cross was drilled home.

Rovers suffered a massive setback not only in the game but their season when after 35 minutes and an innocuous challenge on Brendan McGonigle, meant he limped off with a broken foot.

The veteran talisman was having an Indian summer and scoring regularly and will be a big loss.

Tony Clyde came on to replace him and almost with his first touch equalised when he converted a penalty low and hard in the bottom right corner.

It was Jack McGonigle who won the penalty after a great run was abruptly ended being taken out in the box.

Rovers upped their game in the second half and took control of the match.

Jay Clyde and Chris McInnes set the tone winning all the important challenges in the heart of the defence.

Cain Breslin was commanding and assured and Chris Doyle and Finbar O’Brien stopped the wingers from getting in.

Matty Hamilton and Loughlain Toland started to control the midfield and they put in two massive shifts.

Conor Mullan was able to get on the ball more and with Jack McGonigle and Ciaran Derry were creating chances.

Clyde looked a constant goal threat up top and Rovers took the lead and increased it in a two minute spell on the hour with two more goals for Tony Clyde.

A fantastic through ball from Toland put Tony Clyde down the channel between right back and centre half and he ran onto the pass, side stepped the keeper and tucked it in the bottom corner.

The moments later Clyde sealed his hat-trick when Jack McGonigle swung a corner into the back post and everyone missed it and left Clyde to chest the ball over the line.

Rovers where now rampant, McGonigle then hit the post after chasing down the defender and keeper, forcing an error.

The home side suffered another massive blow when Deery damaged his knee and he too will also be out of action for a number of weeks.

Rovers brought on Paddy Logue and Darell Mulgrew and this gave them a new freshness and added pace.

It was Mulgrew who supplied the fourth on 80 minutes time with a left wing run and cross finding Conor Mullan who tucked it away to make it 4-1.

Mullan’s remarkable season continues with him scoring ten in Rovers last 11 league games, which has helped them to nine league wins in a row.

Draperstown pulled one back when Breslin raced out the sideline to tackle the winger and lost out and the cross was met with a chipped finish just under the bar.

Rovers restored their three goal cushion and rounded off the scoring in the 86th minute when Jack McGonigle getting a deserved goal after Mulgrew, Toland, Mullan and Clyde all had shots blocked, he eventually finished the move and completed the impressive victory.