NAFL Premier Division
Immaculata 2-1 Rosario
IMMACULATA sealed themselves a 2-1 victory over Rosario on Saturday at Grosvenor Park, building on yet another League win after beating Crumlin Star away last week by 2-0.
The game started off evenly matched between the West and South Belfast outfits with some hard tackling from both to maintain possession and go for the goal.
The Mac picked up two yellow cards within the first 25 minutes, one for Gary McVicker and one for Ben McCaul. Ben McCaul’s yellow was a controversial decision as it appeared that it was Immaculata who were fouled inside Rosario’s box, but it was the Mac who took the hit.
Half an hour in, the Roses’ Jonny Gowdy took a shot at goal, only for it go wide to the right hand side, and this was followed a minute later by one from Matthew Donnelly who hit a lovely curled shot only for it to be saved by Mac’s ‘keeper Ruairi Murray.
Rosario finally got the goal they’d been seeking in the 34th-minute mark when Jonny Gowdy came up the left flank and put the ball in the back of the net, putting the score to 1-0.
The Mac went quickly on the counterattack, with James Haughey getting up close and personal but Rosario ‘keeper Mark Lyons had to work hard to prevent the ball going in, in what almost was a great equaliser.
Not resting on their laurels, Rosario hit on the counterattack, with Matthew Donnelly shooting at goal two minutes later, and Mac’s ‘keeper Ruairi Murray had to dive to save the ball. In an escalating example of goal attempt for goal attempt Mac hit back another two minutes later with a shot from captain Gary McVicker, but their wasn’t enough power behind the attempt to seal the deal.
At the close of the first half, Immaculata equalised with a brilliant goal from Brian McCaul who got in a header from a Mac corner, again just before the whistle went the West Belfast men had another go, when a great cross from Logan Brady to Sean Begley resulted in a shot on goal, but Rosario ‘keeper kept the ball out as time ended with a score of 1-1.
Immaculata were on the attack again at the beginning of the second half, taking two shots on goal, one from Logan Brady which saw him get up close and personal to the goal, but the shot hit off the side of the net and another attempt from a corner which saw Brian McCaul try and work some header magic again, but it was saved by Mark Lyons.
Rosario had a good chance also when Thomas Burns passed to Max Miller but there wasn’t enough power behind the ball and it was caught easily by Ruairi Murray.
At 58 minutes, Immaculata made their first substitution when Michael Fisher came off for Sean McGovern. A few minutes later Rosario made their own substitution when Matthew Donnelly came off for Eamon Carvill.
Rosario’s Conor Murray hit an amazing shot 61 minutes in, which missed by going over by milimetres, in what would have been a fantastic goal if it had been a tad lower.
Mac had another go on goal when Reece McGinley got a good run at the goal three minutes later, but it didn’t have enough power behind it to see the goal through and was easily caught by Mark Lyons. Sean Begley also came off for Immaculata, and was replaced by Joseph McClenaghan.
FULL TIME:— Immaculata Football Club (@Immaculatafc) December 3, 2022
🏆 NAFL Premier Divison
Immaculata 2-1 @Rosario_Seniors (B. McCaul, C. O’Riordan)
🏆Junior Shield R3@DunloyFC1997 1-3 Immaculata 11’s (C. Dynes, S. Dynes, T. McGreevy)
📸 - @JoeMacCana #GOTM 💙 pic.twitter.com/X3CmTCuPb0
More substitutions followed, with Thomas Burns and Conor Murray coming off for Rosario and Adam McCamley and Neil McGowan coming on. Mac too made a final substitution when Logan Brady came off for Kevin McGovern.
In the midst of this Rosario had another shot, taken by Max Miller, but it again was saved by Ruairi Murray who did some excellent goalkeeping throughout the match.
The West Belfast men sealed the victory for themselves at 85 minutes when Colm O’Riordan got in a goal of epic proportions, a blazing overhead kick up and personal at the net, which put the Mac a goal up, leaving the scoreline 2-1.
The Roses fought back hard in the remaining eight or so minutes including the last three of extra time to equalise, but the Mac’s defence was on high alert and prevented any goals from getting past them.
When the final whistle blew, it left Immaculata the victors with a final score of 2-1.
IMMACULATA FC: R Murray, Ben McCaul, M Fisher, E Begley, Brian McCaul (goal 45 mins), C O’Riodan (goal 85 mins), S Begley, G McVicker, L Brady, R McGinley, J Haughey
Subs: M Fisher for S McGovern (58 mins), S Begley for S McGovern (65 mins), L Brady for K McGovern (70 mins)
ROSARIO: M Lyons, M Allison, P Scollay, M McBriarty, P Mallon, C Murray, M Miller, M Ward, T Burns, J Gowdy (goal 34 mins), M Donnelly
Subs: M Donnelly for E Carvill (60 mins), T Burns for N McGowan (67 mins), C Murray for A McCamley (70 mins)