Cumann Pheadaír Naofa 5-3
It took two inspirational half time substitutions and a massive second 25 minutes performance that saw a six point turn around for Cumann Pheadaír Naofa, who were down by four points at half time and looking like a defeated side to see their fortunes turn around and win by two.
To say Warrenpoint were lucky to come away from Páirc Aodha Dhuibh with the win would be putting it mildly. Carryduff, with home advantage, were expecting a big game from their south Down opponents. But Fintan Brady’s Carryduff side who, going into this league fixture undefeated thus far, were out hurling their seaside opponents for the first twenty-five minutes. Carryduff’s blocking and tackling had managed to keep Cumann Pheadaír Naofa quiet for the opening 12 minutes of the game and it was the home side who had opened the scoring after 7 minutes with a well taken point 30 metres from goal and were unlucky not to have gone further in front, but for a great save from James Duggan in goal. It was the tenacious midfielder Tiernan Kelly who got the blues off the mark with a forty metre strike from out on the left wing. Within two minutes Carryduff had struck back and went on to stretch their lead to three over the next ten minutes. In defense James Sweeney, Niall Hughes and Matthew Duffy were seeing a lot of action and were the stand out performers in blue over the first 25 minutes.
With things looking bad for the blues, a few positional changes saw Duggan moved further out the field and with his first possession he broke three tackles to plant a bullet high into the Carryduff net and in doing so draw the sides level. Almost on que Carryduff struck back with a goal of their own, swiftly followed by a pointed free to take a comfortable lead that should have seen them home and hosed. Half time Cumann Pheadaír Naofa 1-1 Carryduff 1-5.
Having had a stern talking too at half time Warrenpoint managed to wake the giant within themselves and started the comeback they were capable of. From the throw in It was the mercurial Oran Murney who started the ball rolling, having won possession from under intense pressure, he narrowed the angle and saw his intended strike for a point find the far top corner of the net, as the Carryduff keeper misjudged the flight of the sliotar for Warrenpoint’s second goal. Duggan, who was now having to content with being doubled marked, broke the shackles and once more rattled the ‘Duff net, goal number three. All of a sudden Carryduff were no longer of the outcome of this league fixture and although they did manage to score two more second half goals, it was their visitors who had gathered the biggest momentum with Oisín Ruane, back from injury playing an inspirational role in the middle of the park. Whenever Carryduff threatened the blues goals, Niall Furlong comfortably mopped up and drove the sliotar deep down Carryduff’s throat towards the threat of Liam O’Connor and James Duggan. With fifteen minutes gone and Warrenpoint down by a point, the sliotar was sent down into the corner towards the diminutive Mickey Keohane and with the slightest flick of hand and hurl, he bamboozled two inrushing defenders as the sliotar seemed to just leap into his hand leaving him bearing down on goal, seeing the inrushing Ruane in a scoring position he slipped the sliotar out wide for Oisín to flash to the net. Duggan floated over a 65m and another from play to see the blues narrowly take the lead they so desperately yearned. Carryduff hadn’t finished and weren’t going to just let the visitors off so easy as they struck for their second goal of the half. With Cumann Pheadaír Naofa now moving up into top gear it was Duggan who had the final say as he pounced for his hattrick and see Warrenpoint finish with a hard earned two-point victory.
With an away fixture to Bredagh next Friday, swiftly followed by another away to table toppers St Patrick’s, Chris Rooney and Loughlin Duffy have a bit of work on their hands to get their young side playing for both halves of the game, as another poor first half against either of their next opponents may not see them as fortunate again.
Team: Niall Furlong, Mark Campbell, Matthew Duffy, James Sweeney, Niall Hughes, James Duggan (3-2), Evan McLoughlin, Oisín Ruane (1-0), Tiernan Kelly (0-1), Liam O’Connor, Darragh Austin, Ben Lock, Charlie Cole, Oran Murney (1-0), Michael Keohane.