Carryduff travelled to Armagh to take on Cuchullains with hope of bouncing back from a difficult season last year, narrowly avoiding relegation to Division 4.
Cuchullains started the brighter with several pointed frees from half forward Conleth Lavery taking advantage of Carryduff overcarrying the ball on several occasions. Eoin Rooney responded by tipping over his first point of the game and Sean O’Callaghan’s frees edged Carryduff back into the game. With the wind sweeping towards the Carryduff net and midfielder Davy Bridges stamping his authority on the match, Cuchullains increased their pressure on the Carryduff defence. As Cuchullains’ forward Patrick Mackin attempted to strike against his former club, the Carryduff defence held strong with key tackles coming from Ciaran Goodwin and Conor Cassidy. Carryduff then had a breakthrough with a well worked team move starting from defence ending up with half-forward Daniel McCartan who made no mistake in burying the ball into the bottom corner of the Cuchullains’ net. An end-to-end first half concluded with Cuchullains bagging a goal of their own through the lively Mattie Rafferty at corner forward, pushing the home side one to the good at half-time. HT Score: Cuchullains 1-5 Carryduff 1-4.
Carryduff started the second half stronger with several long-range Sean O’Callaghan frees splitting the posts, with the help of the breeze which was now in the away side’s favour. Cuchullains struggled to get a foothold in the match after the break and two quickfire points through Eoin Rooney pushed Carryduff further ahead. With Carryduff’s lead extended to six points, this left the home side looking for goals toward the end of the match. A late Cuchullains charge led by centre-back Ciaran Clifford eventuated in several dropped balls into the Carryduff square which were well defended by corner back Eoin Maguire and goalkeeper Conor McLornan. Carryduff subsitute Pete Loughrane then came on to score a fine individual point to put the match out of sight for Cuchullains, with Carryduff securing the win by a seven point margin.
After a positive first half, Cuchullains will be disappointed to only score one point in the second half. They will hope for better fortune in a couple of weeks as they face Carryduff’s neighbours Bredagh. Carryduff will be happy to start their campaign with a victory and will have a difficult match against Rasharkin up next.
Full Time Score: Cuchullains 1-6 Carryduff 1-13
Scorers: Carryduff – Sean O’Callaghan 0-8 (0-7f), Daniel McCartan 1-1, Eoin Rooney 0-3, Pete Loughrane 0-1
Cuchullains: Conleth Lavery 0-5 (0-5f), Mattie Rafferty 1-1