U13 Boys Double Delight
The U13 East Down league commenced on Sunday past and with upwards of 40 boys in the squad, Carryduff are fielding a side in both Division One and Two.
A strong Division One team travelled to Castlewellan and produced an authoritative performance to secure a comprehensive victory over their hosts. Whilst tougher tests lie ahead this was a great start to the campaign and a real confidence booster for the team. Final score Carryduff 12-16 Castlewellan 2-6.
With the A team missing a few lads through unavailability, a number of players were required to step up and make up the numbers. They all played their part against Castlewellan, but the downside was that it left the Division Two side potentially undermanned in certain areas of the pitch. So it was a young side which took the field against St Paul’s Holywood, with all but one of the team under 12, and a sprinkling of U11s also included.
Conceding a physical advantage in most areas of the pitch, Carryduff set out to move the ball quickly and they started the game brightly. Unfortunately, the forward line took a while to find their range as they shot a succession of early wides. When St Paul’s did manage to break out they weren’t so wasteful, a direct approach paying real dividends as they hit the net twice in the early stages. Both goals were unfortunate own goals by Carryduff players and, just like Mayo in 2016, the question was asked of the Duff boys as to whether or not they would have the bouncebackability to recover from such potentially crushing body blows.
We needn’t have worried, with Lorcan O’Hagan fetching a series of great balls at midfield as goalkeeper Matthew Tunney cleverly varied his kick outs. O’Hagan’s midfield partner, Oisin McGurk, along with half forwards Cian Duffy and Eoin Blaney, delivered a range of superb balls to their inside line where Oran Donaldson and Odhran Doherty both found the net. The Duff were on top at this point, before conceding another soft goal. Once again this spurred the boys in to action as they hit a purple patch with a sequence of glorious points from Oisin McGurk, Eoin Blaney and Donaldson again to reach the break one point ahead, 2-5 to 3-1.
The second half opened with a lovely point from Cian Duffy and when Dara Cunningham rattled the net, Carryduff looked set to pull away. But back came Holywood with a goal and 2 points of their own to leave the minimum between the sides. The game was really opening up now and as we reached the crucial midpoint of the half, Carryduff made what would prove to be their decisive surge. With half backs Rory Hughes and Luke Morris pushing on with some excellent support play, the ball was going quickly in to an on fire forward line. Matthew Loftus, Ronan Donaldson and Matthew Robinson were moving well to pull the visiting defence all over the pitch and create the space for the three goals that followed. Cunningham hit his second of the day, while the electric Oran Donaldson bagged another couple to give the Duff an 11 point lead and, at last, some breathing space.
St Paul’s weren’t finished yet though, and they had their own dominant spell, racing through for 2-2 without reply to put the game back in the balance. They pressed for more but with Oran McMeel, Joseph Doherty and Hughes leading their fellow defenders in putting in a series of blocks, the Duff kept them out. The boys were putting in the hard yards, McMeel and James O’Donnell having to leave the field through injury, the latter quite literally spilling blood for the cause.
Shea Guiness and Michael Tinnelly both won important ball to keep Duff noses in front and when a late ‘45’ threatened to yield an equaliser, O’Hagan fielded a pressure ball in front of his goal and set in play a counter attack that ended with Blaney feeding an exquisite ball to Cunningham who duly slotted over the insurance score. The long whistle blew with Carryduff winning on a scoreline of 6-8 to St Paul’s 6-4.
For all that the win is well received, what will have pleased the coaches most is the effort put in by the boys. They literally ran themselves into the ground on what was a heavy and energy sapping pitch. At times the support play was excellent and this in turn created some nicely worked scores. Such a young team will inevitably have their ups and downs, but this was a great start to their U13 campaign.
Both teams are in action again on Sunday; the Division One team hosting Bryansford, with the Division Two side travelling to Teconnaught.
Carryduff v Castlewellan: Fergal McNicholl, Ciaran McReynolds, Fergus McGrady, Lorcan Swail, Jamie Cunningham, Rory Crosbie, Declan McArdle, Ruairi McCann, Rory Maguire, Niall McGivern, Tom McCarroll, Patrick MacFarlane, Ryan Sherry, Eoin Donnelly, Jacob Dixon
Carryduff V St Paul’s Holywood: Matthew Tunney, James O’Donnell, Shea Guinness, Joseph Doherty, Rory Hughes, Oran McMeel, Michael Tinnelly, Oisin McGurk, Lorcan O’Hagan, Dara Cunningham, Cian Duffy, Eoin Blaney, Oran Donaldson, Matthew Loftus, Odhran Doherty, Luke Morris, Ronan Donaldson, Matthew Robinson