On a blistering hot day with temperatures reaching 25 C we had 10 young players over at the Pat Sheehan Memorial Tournament. The boys and girls having to play some of the top teams from around Ulster. Getting off to a flying start scoring 4 goals against their first opponents Sean Treacy’s the team played really well peppering the goal mouth with balls to have a couple knocked in with Conall Vaugh connecting tosend it to the net. Tom Hickson was instrumental in this game scoring a couple of goals and driving forward from midfield.
Next up were Ruari Og’s from Cushendall for the start of their three games in a row. In a good battle the kids were beaten by 7 points with no goals going in thanks to some wonderful goalkeeping by Aodhan Young, doing the splits for a couple of the saves! Cushendall went on to win the cup competition and did not have as tough a test as Carryduff presented through the rest of the day, Isa McCarron and Owen McHugh battling and fighting for every ball.
Rossa, Belfast, were next, steeped in history with hurling through Antrim and Ireland. The performances from every player in Carryduff was amazing, the team did everything but score for the first 7 minutes and were stunned by a chanced goal against the run of play. Carryduff regrouped and played the ball up the middle seeing attacks by Sean Teague, Oliver Whyte and Evie McHugh which culminated in a well worked equalising goal. The match ended as the team were attacking again and the final whistle blew with a great draw. Having lost the skills and energy of Sean Young against Cushendall the result against Rossa was even more impressive as they had played with only 9 players V 10 for most of the game when Sean sensationally came back.
Now the Carryduff team were in the final of their group matches, having already played 45 mins with the last of these games they had to take on loads of water to get up for the game against St John’s Belfast. It was clear to see the tiredness playing in high heat and yet with all they managed to be competitive for 10 mins before their legs tired. St John’s finally ran out winners of the tie and again the kids did everyone proud Owen McHugh and Isa McCarron stepping up to show leadership, control and teamwork. Rory McConnell carrying an injury from soccer the previous day tried really hard and showed grit and determination to get involved against a physically strong St John’s team.
With other results in the group this placed Carryduff in 3rdposition in their group for the quarter finals of the Shield competition. Their opponents would be Glenariffe.
The quarter final of the shield saw a regenerated Carryduff team after some nice lunch from St Gall’s take to the field with the team eagerly contesting every ball – the ebb and flow of the game was exhilarating as each team exchanged scores and the team battled on with Sean Young forgetting he was injured we saw the team give the game a real shot. Alas they were beaten by a single score and that was that.
The improvement in the skills of our young team shows that we have the ability to be competitive at a very high standard and with more practice at home we will continue to grow this development and see our kids be a real threat in Down and Antrim in hurling.
Thanks to all the parents who assisted with keeping the team watered and fed through out the morning.