Saul retain senior status after one point win over Rostrevor

Saul retain senior status after one point win over Rostrevor

13 October 2021

SAUL retained their place in the Senior Football Championship with a nail-biting win over Rostrevor.

Going into the do or die tie in Castlewellan, both teams had an up and down year in their respected Corn an Duin groups and divisions, with Saul boosted by  the return of club captain Rory Mullen from injury for the crunch game.

Saul’s James Mahoney was the first to get on the scoreboard with a point from play in the third minute before Ruari O’Hare had a good opportunity to get a point from a Saul attack.

But Rostrevor had him surrounded in every move and responded through Tomas Mulholland getting a great score from far out in the fifth minute. 

Saul had to work to get through Rostrevor’s blanket defence approach and Pierce Laverty got the breakthrough for Saul’s second point in the ninth minute before

Ryan Caulfield levelled things in the 10th minute.

Saul had two easy point chances go wide, but took the lead through a well earned second point for Pierce Laverty just before the first water-break.

Saul had their first chance of goal in the 20th minute, through a great kick in from Cormac Byrne to Ruari O’Hare, and a pass to James Mahoney, only for the goalkeeper to make a great save for Rostrevor. 

Rostrevor took a quick attack from their back line, up the right hand side of the field to Tiernan Tinnelly who finished well to get the first goal of the game. 

But Saul did not sit back and through a free from O’Hare kept the pressure on Rostrevor, but Paddy Magee cancelled the point out fairly quickly to keep the goal as the difference. 

In the 26th minute, O’Hare got his second point of the game from a free, where a clear tackle on Pierce Laverty was awarded and the ball brought forward by the referee. 

Saul were showing great clinical passing and were rewarded from a kick out. The ball landing to Gareth Robinson, who passed to Ciaran Harney before a slight kick to Jack Fitzsimmons. 

The ball made it’s way to Pierce Laverty, who found O’Hare to get a goal for Saul in what was a brilliant team move. Half-time score: Saul 1-5 Rostrevor 1-5, and all to play for.

The second half whistle sounded and Saul got off to a great start through a free by O’Hare. 

It took Rostrevor five minutes to respond to Saul, with Piaras Kane getting a point from play. 

Both teams were defending well, with Saul playing a sweeper tactic and Rostrevor with a blanket defence. It was in the 14th minute of the second half that the spectators had to wait for the next score, that came from a close free for Rostrevor with Piaras Kane easily taking the point. 

This was followed with Paddy Magee again getting a close free for Rostrevor.

Saul’s O’Hare was finding his feet and got his third point off the 

game, but Rostrevor again from the kick out, pushed forward and through Ardghal MacMahon got their second goal just before the second half water-break. 

The second goal could have made the difference of the game but Saul remained resilient to see it through and retain their status.

As the sides approached the final 15 minutes of the game, it was Saul’s Lorcan Harney who got the scoring underway following some good working up from the back line, through Rory Mullen, to Pierce Laverty and crossed over to the other side of the field. 

O’Hare got his fourth point from a free and this showed the determination of Saul wanting to stay in Senior Football Championship and then teed up his fifth point of the game from a free. 

From Rostrevor’s kick out, Saul won the ball as Lorcan Harney found his brother Ciaran, who fell to the ground inside the box but somehow kicked it over the bar for a point. 

Rostrevor were now down to 14 men following a tackle on O’Hare and with four minutes left and Saul ahead by two points, Rostrevor knew they needed a goal. 

Rostrevor kept pushing forward but Saul were keeping them at a distance, with their opponents struggling to find a way through.

With the last chance of the game for Rostrevor, Tiernan Tinnelly took the point but Saul deservedly held on to win the contest and will continue to play Senior Football Championship next year.