Week five of the East Down U14 Boys football leagues saw both teams involved in high scoring and entertaining games.
In Division One, Carryduff hosted Castlewellan and the Duff lads started brightly, building a sizeable lead in the opening 15 minutes. Goals from Lorcan O’Hagan, Ciaran McReynolds and Cian Duffy were augmented by fine points from McReynolds, Jamie Cunningham and Tom McCarroll as Carryduff took a firm grip on proceedings.
Castlewellan, however, weren’t out of it and when they belatedly found their shooting boots, they hit a goal of their own which signalled a good spell for the visitors during which they hit 6 of the next 7 points, some impressive scores among them. The teams turned around with Carryduff leading 3-5 to 1-6.
Carryduff again started well after the break, with Liam Blaney hitting home their fourth goal, but the visitors were still well in the game and there was some excellent point taking from both sides. McReynolds, McCarroll and Jacob Kelly were the men who stepped up to the mark, slotting a series of points from distance for the Duff. At the other end, Castlewellan were asking plenty of questions of the Duff defence and they had another good spell of their own around the mid-point of the half, during which they reduced the deficit to 2 points. As the game entered the closing stages, Carryduff were awarded a penalty. Eoghan O’Connor slotted home to settle the home side’s nerves and they finished with a flourish, hitting two goals in the closing minutes. Both were good finishes, from Odhran Doherty and James O’Donnell and as the long whistle blew the Duff were victorious on a scoreline of 7-10 to 3-11.
In Division Two, Carryduff travelled to league leaders Darragh Cross, the home side protecting a 100% winning record in the division. Darragh Cross were on the front foot from the off, hitting three goals in the opening ten minutes before Carryduff slowly got themselves into the game. Defenders, Fergus McGrady and Eoin Donnelly provided the platform, winning plenty of ball and driving their team forward as the Duff began to move the ball much better and started to get a few scores of their own. Darragh Cross had built a big lead by the break, but Carryduff had begun to get a foothold in the game.
Into the second half and Carryduff looked much sharper, goalkeeper Patrick McFarlane finding his men well with his kick outs and as the Duff drove forward they drew a series of frees from the home defence. Oran Teague and Eoin Blaney hit over a number of placed balls, but the Duff passed up plenty of scoring opportunities too.
The game was end to end at this stage, Darragh Cross denied on a couple of occasions by some fantastic saves from McFarlane, while at the other end Blaney and Matthew Robinson found the back of the net for Carryduff. The sheer physicality of the home side was hard to stop, but midfielders Conleth McCormick and Rory Maguire battled manfully and halted a number of Darragh Cross runs at source. The spirit of this Carryduff side was epitomised by a late point from McGrady that came at the end of a great passing movement that started in the full back line.
Darragh Cross emerged victorious, 7-11 to 3-11, but Carryduff had outscored their hosts in the second period and showed real spirit to fight back into the game. At times they moved the ball particularly well out of defence with some great support play and runs from deep, all pleasing to their coaches and promising much for the future.
Carryduff v Castlewellan: Fergal McNicholl, Jacob Dixon, Ruairi McCann, Eoghan O’Connor, Oisin McGurk, Jamie Cunningham, Ryan Sherry, Jacob Kelly, Ciaran McReynolds, Lorcan O’Hagan, Tom McCarroll, Cian Duffy, Oran Donaldson, Declan McArdle, Liam Blaney, Cameron McClure, Odhrán Doherty, James O’DonnelL
Carryduff v Darragh Cross: Patrick MacFarlane, Shea Guinness, Fergus McGrady, Oran McMeel, Eoin Donnelly, Niall McGivern, Conleth McCormick, Rory Maguire, Oran Teague, Eoin Blaney, Eunan O’Hare, Callum McLeod, Ronan Donaldson, Kyle Osborne, Matthew Robinson, Eoin Vaugh, Matthew Tunney