Rangers grind out win over Curracloe
An unfortunate second-half own goal enable Rosslare Rangers escape with full points over a luckless Curracloe Utd in their Premier Division clash at Rosslare on Sunday morning.
Rosslare Ranger 1 Curracloe United 1
By the time the goal had arrived, the homeside must have felt their luck was out for the crossbar and upright had denied them in the first-half, which they dominated for lengthy periods, but their firepower was lacking in front of goal despite some chances being presented through some slack defensive play on the part of the visitors.
It's early season yet, but on the evidence of this ninety minutes, both sides will struggle to keep themselves in the top flight, unless real improvement is forthcoming.
While the Rosslare boys may have emerged unscathed, the Curracloe boys could be in for yet another relegation battle having also lost their opening game.
In beautiful sunshine and no wind, both sides started with real purpose, moving the ball around with accuracy, but once they hit the danger zone they became devoid of ideas, with the result neither keeper was tested with a worthwhile direct shot on goal.
The home side's Aaron Kehoe saw a 20th minute shot on goal fly over the top, while one minute later having been through by a Paul Culleton pass, he delayed his shot, allowing defender Barry Redmond time to get back and get in the crucial tackle.
Minutes later Culleton saw a well struck free-kick strike the bar and go over, while the same player then saw an effort rebound off the post.
Having surrendered so much midfield possession, Curracloe eventually began to come more into the game, with Robert Dempsey having a shot go across the face of the goal, going out wide off the opposite post, while approaching the break, Robert Dempsey lost control in front of goal, appearing to trip over the ball as a real chance presented itself, leaving it 0-0 at the interval.
The second-half followed much the same pattern. With almost 50 minutes gone the Curracloe back four was caught in a tangle failing to clear the ball in the area, but Robert Dempsey was unable to capitalise on the loose ball, allowing himself to be blocked when a simple flick would have found the target, while two minutes later Stephen Maguire fired over the bar from a scoreable position inside the area.
Both sides were playing most of their football outfield, but despite the game needing a goal, there was no idea of where this was going to come from, for the front players were unable to show any penetration in front of goal, with their hesitancy on the ball seeing them being denied of possession time and time again.
When the breakthrough did arrive in the 71st minute it was a rather fortuitous goal. Aaron Kehoe who had moved out wide, won possession out on the wing, fired over what appeared a hopeful cross, but centre-back Brian O'Connor in attempting to clear, saw his left boot deflect the ball on to the right post before running back across goal, entering the net with the assistance of the left post, as keeper Luke Rafter was left helpless making it 1-0.
Curracloe pushed on following this setback in search of an equaliser but were restricted to a couple of long-range efforts from one of their better players A. J. Lehane which were capably dealt with by home keeper, Stephen Cogley, while close to the finish, Robert Dempsey had a low shot just outside the left post, but in the end it was Rangers who deserved the three points.
Rosslare Rangers: Stephen Cogley, Graham Moloney, Paul Culleton, Gearoid Byrne, Niall Walsh, Sean Stewart, Mark Furlong, Jason Ellard, Aaron Kehoe, Robert Cousins, Darragh Heffernan. Subs: Wayne O'Lery, Emmet Byrne, Lee Devereux, Fintan Wickham, Barry Quirke.
Curracloe Utd: Luke Rafter, Barry Redmond, Mark O'Connor, Darragh O'Connor, Brian O'Connor, conor Clancy, A J Lehane, Garrett Wallace, Stephen Maguire, Robert Dempsey, Rioghain Crosbie. Subs: Craig Parker, Ryan Donnolly, Graham Staples.
Referee: Damien Donovan.