Bolstered Reserves capitalise on Rathfriland’s cancelled game to go top

Rathfriland’s second string bagged their sixth league win on the spin on Saturday taking top spot in the reserve championship with their 5-3 home win over Ballymacash Rangers Reserves.

Once again boosted by James Costello, who is ineligible for Irish Cup duty with the Rangers along with McGrath, Stewart and McCourt from the Rangers whose game at Bangor was again postponed, the Reserves were slow to start on the tricky Iveagh Park surface.

They went into half time two goals down after two howlers at the back - the first a defensive mix up and the second a goalkeeping error.

However, Costello pulled one back via a fierce free=kick early in second half only for Rathfriland to once again fall asleep at the back to allow Ballymacash to run in a third.

The locals rallied and in a strong 15 minute spell midway through the second half scored four goals without reply to put the game to bed.

Costello halved the arrears when he rounded the keeper after good work from Megaw in midfield. They got their equaliser when that man Costello rounded a defender and squared for Maginn to side foot home.

They nosed in front for the first time when Costello fired home number four for his hat-trick and the points were sealed mwhen Costello broke through and rounded the keeper to score his fourth.

There was still time for 16 year old James Pollock to calmly round a full back and steady himself only to fire straight at the keeper’s legs.

It was a strong second half performance with full-back Neil McCracken coping well with a useful opponent and the

home midfield working tirelessly to drive the team to a league topping three points.

It was hard to go past Costello for man of the match with four goals taking his tally to 20 goals in six games for the Reserves.

Next up is a local derby with Banbridge Rangers who will be keen to bring Rathfriland’s winning run to an end.

RATHFRILAND: Strain, McCracken, McCourt, Johnstone, Duffy, Megaw, Stewart, Maginn, Hollingsworth, Costello, McGrath.

Subs: Pollock, Power, McArdle.