The U13 East Down league continued on Sunday with both teams playing their second league game of the campaign.
In Division One, Carryduff hosted Bryansford and this proved to be a competitive and exciting affair between two well matched teams. The first half was nip and tuck all the way with Carryduff taking a one point lead into the break. Facing in to a strong breeze in the second half presented a real challenge to the Duff boys, but it was one that they met with a fantastic half of football that saw them emerge victorious on a scoreline of Carryduff 2-12 Bryansford 2-7. Eoghan O’Connor and Tom McCarroll hit the Duff goals, but this was a real team effort and a well-deserved win.
In Division Two, a young Carryduff side travelled to Teconnaught and the size of their task was obvious from the minute they lined out against an older and physically imposing home side. In spite of this, these young lads never shirk a challenge and they matched their opponents from the outset.
Teconnaught started brightly, but hit a number of wides, in large part due to the pressure being exerted by the Carryduff defence where Joseph Doherty marshalled his troops well and Shea Guinness was also winning plenty of ball and standing up to the physical challenge. The other full back was young David Morrissey, playing his first game at this level, and he had a great battle with his man and never shirked a challenge. And when the ball did get through, goalkeeper Matthew Loftus was brave and assured, particularly under the high ball.
The hard working defence gave confidence to the team who proceeded to have a good spell of their own. However, just like Teconnaught at the other end, the Duff found scoring difficult, although full forward Matthew Tunney, who was showing well up front, was particularly unlucky to see his rasping effort come crashing back off the crossbar.
The strong cross field wind was making life difficult for both teams and it was a rather unfamiliar scenario to see the game still scoreless after nearly twenty minutes of play.
Midfielders Oisin McGurk and Lorcan O’Hagan were having a great battle with their Teconnaught counterparts. Conceding a noticeable physical disadvantage they had to work hard to win ball, but clever movement saw them earn more than their fair share throughout. Both players worked well with their half forward line, combining particularly well with Oran Donaldson to move through the phases quickly. Donaldson was revelling in the playmaker role, dropping some lovely ball in to the full forward line which created plenty of scoring opportunities for his teammates. Carryduff kept pushing and finally had their reward as Dara Cunningham crashed home a goal and, as often happens at this level, one score quickly led to more as the Duff followed that major with fine points from Eoin Blaney and Ronan Donaldson.
Carryduff were moving well but were caught out by a long ball in to the full back line which wasn’t dealt with and ended up in the back of the net. Lorcan O’Connor restored the 3 point advantage with a sweet score before a point from the home side reduced the deficit to two points at the break.
The second half began with Carryduff still on the front foot. Cian Duffy was winning ball around the middle and playing some nice balls in to the forward line. Another of the younger lads, Cameron McClure, was having a superb game from half back, roaring in to challenges with much bigger men and driving forward impressively. Rory Hughes also had another solid game and was a big loss to the defence when he had to leave the field with an arm injury.
Eoin Blaney and Dara Cunningham were dropping deep to provide further support around the middle and both will be pleased with their efforts. They helped to create space for the lively Ronan Donaldson to fire over another point before Teconnaught hit 1-1 in reply to hit the front for the first time in the game. Back came Carryduff with Lorcan O’Connor’s pace and trickery getting the diminutive corner forward in for a further 1-1 as they again led by 3 with just under 10 minutes on the clock.
Unfortunately that would be as good as it got for the Duff as Teconnaught began to get on top in the closing stages. The deep running from the Teconnaught half back line was causing real problems for the visitors. The Carryduff lads were still putting in their tackles, but just couldn’t slow down their opponents. Teconnaught were using the high ball in to their big full forward line and 2 goals in quick succession saw them establish a four point lead as the clock ran down. Daniel Robinson, Luke Morris and Jack McGrath all helped to bolster the defensive ranks and worked hard to contain some imposing home attackers, but the home side were having their best spell of the game as the clock ticked down.
Many of the Duff lads looked out on their feet at this point and Odhran Doherty and Matthew Robinson, while conceding a size advantage to their opponents, worked hard to get the scoreboard moving again for the Duff. To their credit, the Duff roused themselves for one final effort and incredibly created three huge goal chances in the closing minutes. All were spurned as shots went wide when a pass to a better placed teammate was on and the game ended with Teconnaught victorious on a scoreline of 4-5 to 2-5.
Whilst there was disappointment with the result, which was somewhat harsh on the Duff boys, the performance was every bit as meritorious as last week’s victory over St Paul’s. The smaller Carryduff team had to work hard for their scores and at times they moved the ball beautifully. The effort put in eventually took it’s toll but the boys can be proud of their morning’s work and the experience will stand them in good stead for the future.
Both teams are in action again on Sunday; the Division One team travel to Kilcoo, with the Division Two side hosting Saul.
Carryduff v Bryansford: 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, Eoghan O’Connor, Jacob Kelly
Carryduff V Teconnaught: Matthew Loftus, Shea Guinness, Joseph Doherty, David Morrissey, Rory Hughes, Cameron McClure, Cian Duffy, Oisin McGurk, Lorcan O’Hagan, Dara Cunningham, Eoin Blaney, Oran Donaldson, Ronan Donaldson, Matthew Tunney, Lorcan O’Connor, Odhran Doherty, Luke Morris, Jack McGrath, Daniel Robinson, Matthew Robinson