Carryduff U14 Boys played their final Division One league game of the season when they hosted neighbours Bredagh at Páirc Aodha Dhuibh. Carryduff knew that a win would ensure they finished joint top of the division with Bryansford, but their visitors were doubtless eager to spoil the party.
With seven regular starters absent due to holidays, this game would test the strength of the squad and it was perhaps not surprising that the team took a while to find their feet. Initially, the Duff made a bright start, their inside forwards moving well as the sides exchanged early points. However, the game was turned on its head around the ten-minute mark when Bredagh struck for two goals in a minute to take a firm grip on proceedings. The Duff defence were struggling to contain their visitors, while at the other end Bredagh were stopping Duff runners outside the scoring zone. Rory Crosbie stroked a number of long range frees to keep the scoreboard ticking over for Carryduff, but a third Bredagh goal saw the half time whistle blow on a score line of Carryduff 0-4 to Bredagh 3-4.
Few would have predicted what was to follow, but that didn’t account for the character of this Carryduff team. With a number of positional changes, Carryduff were a different team in the second half. Their half back line, led by the powerful Jacob Kelly, pushed up on their men and cut out much of the supply at source. Anything that did get past was snaffled out by a resolute full back line as a previously rampant Bredagh attack was restricted to just a solitary point after the break.
At midfield, Crosbie and Tom McCarroll took control and fed a forward line who worked hard for their scores. Crucial was a great goal from Oran Donaldson just after the break. It came at the end of a fine Duff move, Cian Duffy supplying one of a number of clever passes to Donaldson, who fired across the Bredagh keeper to the back of the net. It would set the tone for the Duff recovery. Donaldson, McCarroll and Crosbie tagged on points as Carryduff gradually ate into the deficit. Still Bredagh worked hard to protect their lead, their goalkeeper pulling off some fantastic saves, and as the game entered the closing stages they may have thought they had done enough to see out the game. But the Duff boys weren’t finished yet and Ciaran McReynolds set off on another of his trademarkmarauding runs. Although initially stopped by a Bredagh defender, McReynolds had the wherewithal to slot the loose ball to the net and give the Duff the lead for the first time in the game. McReynolds knocked over an insurance point for good measure and late Bredagh pressure was seen off by a Duff defence that now really had the bit between their teeth.
The long whistle blew with a score line of Carryduff 2-10 to Bredagh 3-5. There were some huge displays from Carryduff players. Their big men really came to the party in the second half, but credit also to the seven u13’s who lined out and all played their part in a great game of football.
Carryduff A v Bredagh: Fergal McNicholl, Joseph Doherty, Jacob Kelly, Ryan Sherry, Oisin McGurk, Jamie Cunningham, Fergus McGrady, Rory Crosbie, Tom McCarroll, Eoin Donnelly, Cian Duffy, Callum McLeod, Lorcan O’Hagan, Ciaran McReynolds, Oran Donaldson, Niall McGivern, Conleth McCormick, Eunan O’Hare, Ronan Donaldson, Patrick McFarlane.