Ten-man Olympic triumph in derby

Cookstown RBL and Cookstown Olympic tussle for the ball during Saturday's league derby clash at MUSA.INMM4214-341
Cookstown RBL and Cookstown Olympic tussle for the ball during Saturday's league derby clash at MUSA.INMM4214-341
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A Kevin Kelly free kick proved decisive as Cookstown Olympic defeated local rivals RBL 2-1 in the Ballymena and Provincial league.

It wasn’t one for the football purists on the 4G pitch at Mid Ulster Sports Arena, but Olympic ultimately showed greater desire than their opponents, winning despite playing the whole of the second half with only ten players.

It was Derek McPartland’s men, however, who created the first chance with two minutes gone – George Dardis putting a free header in the box just past Jamie ‘Turkey’ O’Neill’s post.

Matty Hughes then went close for Olympic with a shot from distance and it was the same player who opened the scoring on 15 minutes. RBL tried to play offside, but Hughes raced clear and dinked it over Raymond Greer into the net.

Olympic were making all the running at this point and centre half Liam Mullan went close with a header from a corner before Greer was forced into action to avert a second goal after RBL again tried – and failed – to play offside.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic, as James McPartland brought a save out of O’Neill, but with ten minutes of the first half remaining Olympic really should have doubled their lead. Hughes again manged to beat the offside trap, but instead of squaring to Nigel Johnston he went for goal and Greer saved.

The RBL goalkeeper was beaten moments later, but Tiarnan Brennan saw his shot hit the inside of the post and David Suitor cleared the danger.

It all seemed to be going Olympic’s way, but three minutes from half time Dean Campbell was dismissed for a what must be in contention for the silliest sending off of the season.

Having been booked earlier for backchat to the referee, the former RBL player raised his foot as Greer attempted to kick the ball from hand, earning himself a second yellow.

Keyed up by a half-time rollicking from McParland, RBL started the second half strongly. Jamie O’Neill had a couple of decent chances, the best being a header from a McParland cross which he skewed just wide.

RBL received their reward just before the hour mark when Philly McGarvey showed tanacity to win the ball before beating O’Neill with a well placed left foot strike.

Having got themselves back in the game RBL threw it away again barely two minutes later. Olympic were awarded what, from an RBL perspective at least, was a soft freekick 25 yards out. Kelly stepped up and curled the ball round the wall and past Greer in the RBL goal.

There was still plenty of time for RBL to get back into the game, but even with the one-man advantage they failed to dominate the game. Substitute Stuart Young had perhaps RBL’s best chance, but he blazed over when a cutback looked the best option.

For Olympic, the midfield worked tirelessly and were the key to the victory, with Sean ‘Rambo’ McVey in particular putting in a terrific shift.

Indeed, Chris Mullan’s men could have added to their tally in the last ten minutes, but a combination of poor finishing and good goal keeping meant the game ended 2-1.

This Saturday Olympic will be at home to Carnmoney FC in the league with a 2pm kick off at Beechway. Training will continue at 7pm on Thursday at MUSA.

The Lucky 4 Lottery numbers for Saturday 11th October were 1, 8, 14 and 16. There were no winners who matched four numbers for the £425 jackpot or 3 numbers. The jackpot will now be £450 for next week’s draw and tickets are available from any club member