Bank of Ireland Ulster U21 club Football Paddy McLarnon Cup Quarter-Final
Carryduff 2-13 Enniskillen Gaels 0-9
By Brendan McTaggart
Down champions Carryduff continued their fairy-tale season as they became the first team to reach the last four of this years Bank of Ireland U21 club tournament in Creggan. 10 points separated the sides at the full-time whistle, but it was a dominant performance from Carryduff and a masterclass performance from James Guinness that ensured their passage to the last four.
Guinness would finish the last eight tie with 1-8 to his name after putting in a man of the match performance for his side but it was a thoroughly deserved victory for the Down men who have still yet to concede a goal in their championship run. Their defence was superb throughout the hour and while Enniskillen Gaels had opportunities in the opening quarter, once Carryduff settled into the game there only looked to be one winner.
In a cagey opening, it was the Gaels and Callum Jones who opened the scoring. Jones, a star of the Gael’s Ulster minor winning side converted a free with barely 60 seconds on the clock. Guinness gave us a taste of things to come when he converted back to back frees to give Carryduff the lead for the first time in the match in the fifth minute and while Nathan Tierney equalised soon after, it was as close as the Gael’s would be to Carryduff.
The Gael’s were denied a major in the 10th minute, Eoin Beacom punching a long ball onto the crossbar with ‘keeper Mark Hynds missing the dropping ball but the Down men began to take full advantage of the elements in their favour during the first half and opened a lead.
Enniskillen Gael’s had another goal chance with John Reihill going close but six unanswered points, five from Guinness, two frees and one from Pierce Laverty gave the Down champions full control. A free from Reihill briefly halted the Carryduff charge, the Gael’s man splitting the posts in the 23rd minute to give them their first in 17 minutes and while they started to look stronger in the middle third, Carryduff seemed to hold more attacking threat.
Five points separated the sides when the first half entered injury time and Carryduff hit the first hammer blow of the quarter-final. A long ball landed on the edge of the square where James Guinness broke the ball superbly into the path of his brother Daniel. The Carryduff man showed great composure by dummying Cian Newman in the gael’s goals before firing to the back of the empty net on the stroke of half-time.
At the time, Daniel Guinness’ goal felt like it gave Carryduff an insurmountable lead. After 60 seconds Enniskillen Gael’s mission improbable became mission impossible. Carryduff scored their second goal of the match with their first attack after the restart and it was James Guinness who applied the finish with a touch of finesse to open an 11 point lead for his side.
The Gael’s hit back with four unanswered points of their own, Jones (two), Conor McShea and Ronan Beattie raising the white flag for the Fermanagh men as they cut the Carryduff advantage to seven points with still 24 minutes remaining but a trio of points from Joshua Connery, Caolan Cunningham and James Guinness’ seventh of the match regained Carryduff’s stranglehold on the match.
John Reihill scored his second point of the match in the 53rd minute but the Gael’s needed goals to get back into the match and the Carryduff defence was water tight, giving no glimpses of goals to their opponents. Conal Quinn and James Guinness’ eighth point of the match finished the scoring for the Down champions and although the Gael’s had the last say of the hour when Conal Quinn split the posts in the last minute of normal time, it did little to revive the Gael’s hopes of a comeback.
Daniel Guinness’ match was ended early, referee Maggie Farrelly awarding a second yellow card to Carryduff’s first goal scorer for a high challenge on Gael’s sub Patrick Beresford but the dismissal came too late to have any impact on the game.
Carryduff progress to the last four in a fortnights time, they find our their opponents after Sunday’s quarter-finals and on this showing, they will be a handful for whoever they come up against.
Carryduff: Mark Hynds; Caolan Cunningham; Paddy McConnell; Shea Reilly; Donal Og Rooney; Pierce Laverty; Daniel Guinness; James Guinness; Joshua Connery; Michael Lawson; Daniel McCartan; Conor Rooney; Andrew McCartan; Owen McCabe; Gareth Henderson
Subs: Rory Reilly for S Reilly (HT); Eoin Maguire for D McCartan (49 mins)
Enniskillen Gaels: Cian Newman; Aaron Nolan; Patrick Cassidy; Odran Agnew; Nathan Tierney; Jonathan Cassidy; Ronan Quinn; Brandon Horan; Ciaran Brough; John Reihill; Callum Jones; Ronan Beattie; Conor McShea; Eoin Beacom; Conal Quinn
Subs: Matthew McAleer for E Beacom (12 mins); Matthew Nixon for J Cassidy (42 mins); Patrick Beresford for R Quinn (58 mins)
Carryduff: James Guinness 1-8 (4 frees); Daniel Guinness 1-1; Caolan Cunningham 0-1; Rory Reilly 0-1; Pierce Laverty 0-1; Joshua Connery 0-1
Enniskillen Gaels: Callum Jones 0-3 (1 free); John Reihill 0-2 (1 free); Conall Quinn 0-1 (1 free); Conor McShea 0-1; Ronan Beattie 0-1; Nathan Tierney 0-1
Ref: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan)
Report and photos provided by The Saffron Gael.