Sunday, May 19, 2024

ROSEMOUNT MARCH ON

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WHEN I stood on the Windsor Park terracing as a 15 year-old schoolboy in April 1952 to watch Ards lift the Irish Cup after a Johnny Thomson goal proved sufficient to beat Glentoran, I never thought that, some 70 years later, I would be at Greyabbey to see Rosemount Rec play in the third round of the same competition.

Seven decades ago such a thought would have been scorned with contempt, but yet, last Saturday I was there to see Lee Cathcart’s side prosper soundly over Lisburn Distillery and book their place in round four, where they will face Ballymoney United at home later this month.

It had all started in a fairly sedate fashion, as the visitors’ Michael Gallagher got things underway. There was – thankfully – no sign of the previous Saturday’s heavy rainfall and the playing surface had recovered well from the downpours which had flooded it then.

Rosemount captain Ryan Newberry had an early rush into the opposition half, but the opening forward effort was blocked with a timely interception from Robert Geddis.

The home side settled into an attacking nature and Andrew Dummigan did well with a header from a cross delivered by Luke McKee. Distillery forced a sequence of corners at the other end and, from the last of the crosses, Jonathan Newell hammered a strong, rising shot just over Christopher Rice’s crossbar.

The visitors had claimed the stronger attacking profile in the early stages but, with 15 minutes gone, it was the home side who jumped into the lead. Beau Tosh broke forward on the right and combined with Andrew Dummigan before Reece Ritchie showed his sharpness to open the scoring.

The scoreline might not have accurately reflected how the opening quarter-hour had panned out, but Rosemount had got that vital first goal. Distillery began to hunt for the equaliser as play restarted but the Rosemount defence looked strong and resolute.

The home side certainly weren’t out of the attacking picture and when the influential Ryan Newberry hammered a free-kick from deep across the goal face, Beau Tosh couldn’t quite reach a shooting situation.

To contradict the weather conditions of seven days previous the sun burst through for the start of the second half and it was the Greyabbey outfit who began on the front foot, however Tosh’s post-interval attempt was well over the target.

Rosemount were certainly bubbling with confidence early in the second half and Ritchie doubled both his and the hosts’ tally after 54 minutes. Distillery’s task was made even more difficult when Joseph Tully was dismissed just past the hour mark having received a second yellow card, but Barry Johnston’s side did halve the deficit when Gerard Storey converted from the penalty spot in the 68th minute.

But Ritchie completed his hat-trick just five minutes later to restore Rosemount’s two-goal cushion before adding number four and capping off a superb individual showing with six minutes remaining.

The visitors did claw another back through debutant David Rafferty in stoppage time, but it was Rosemount who left the field worthy winners.

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