Morgan Fuels Down Senior Football Championship Round Two
Carryduff 3-20 Saul 2-10
CARRYDUFF booked their place in the third round of the Down SFC with a 13-point win over Saul in a feisty encounter at Liatroim on Friday night.
Referee Peter Owens had his work cut out keeping a lid on proceedings and tempers spilled over in the final moments of the game when players from both sides became involved an unsavoury brawl in the middle of the pitch.
Yet, Owens didn’t stop play and Joe Tunney bagged his side’s third goal of the night to round off a commanding win for the South Belfast outfit.
Last season Carryduff suffered a first round defeat to Clonduff and recovered to reach their first ever senior final, losing out to current county kingpins Kilcoo.
DJ Morgan’s side lost out 3-8 to 0-13 against Downpatrick at Darragh Cross last Saturday after conceding three first half goals while Burren inflicted a 3-21 to 1-8 defeat on Saul at Liatroim last Friday night.
St Patrick’s returned to Fontenoys last night hoping for a better outcome and they more than a match for Carryduff during a frantic opening quarter.
Carryduff scored from the throw-in with captain Joe McFlynn splitting the posts after just 23 seconds while Saul replied via full-forward Ruari O’Hare.
A brace of points from the Guinness siblings James (free) and Daniel had Carryduff 0-3 to 0-1 ahead before Owens dished out yellow cards to O’Hare and Carryduff’s Josh Connery for tangling off the ball.
James Mahoney cut the hap back to a single point before Saul took the lead when wing-forward Philip Doran cut through the heart of the Carryduff defence before firing past Mark Hynes with a superb finish to put his side 1-2 to 0-5 ahead on 12 minutes.
Seán McGonigle levelled proceedings moments later, but his opposite number Ronan Connor might have plundered his side’s second goal, but his shot flew over the crossbar either side of a brace of points from Carryduff’s Cian Clinton.
However, a point from Saul centre-back Lorcán Harney left his side level, 1-4 to 0-7, at the first water break.
The second quarter belonged to Carryduff as the South Belfast side took control of proceedings. A wonderful point from Owen McCabe after a brilliant dummy solo moved his side ahead before Saul hit back with another point from Mahoney.
Yet, it was to be their final score of the first half and Carryduff retook the lead via Daniel Guinness.
They then moved three clear following back-to-back points from defender Michael McGrath – a late replacement for Conor Cassidy.
Carryduff stretched their lead further when they bagged their first goal from McFlynn following good build-up play by McGonigle and Daniel Guinness.
Saul’s prospects suffered another blow when Mahoney was showed a black card for a third-man challenge and Carryduff were 1-13 to 1-5 ahead at the break following further points from McFlynn and Daniel Guinness.
Needing a positive start to the second half, Saul landing the opening point via a brilliant effort from centre-forward Ciarán Harney.
Ronan McCartan’s side might have bagged a second goal moment later, but Pierce Laverty’s shot was cleared off the line by Lorcan Toal.
Harney fired over another point on 37 minutes, but their hard work was soon undone by a hat-trick of Carryduff points from the excellent McGrath, McFlynn (free) and Clinton.
When McFlynn converted another free, Carryduff were 10 clear and seemingly home and hosed.
Saul weren’t about to throw in the towel just yet though and another wonder goal from Doran had them back in contention.
From the kick-out following McFlynn’s free, Jack Hazard drove the ball straight down the middle of the pitch and a fortunate flick on dropped it into the path of Doran who ate up the ground in front of him before unleashing another rocket of a shot past Hynes.
When Harney hit his third point of the second half, Saul had cut the gap back to a more manageable six points. However, their comeback was undermined when they lost the services of Jamie Moran for 10 minutes after the defender dragged down Daniel Guinness.
Carryduff didn’t exactly put the game to bed in the next 10 minutes, but they matched Saul point-for-point.
Indeed, it wasn’t until Saul were restored to their full complement that Morgan’s men went for the jugular.
Another brilliant attack saw McGrath and Tunney put the impressive Daniel Guinness through on goal and the Down star made no mistake to move his side 2-20 to 2-10 ahead in the final minute of normal time.
The expression that you should “play to the whistle” rang true in stoppage time as several players become involved in a scuffle in the middle of the pitch. Despite this, play continued and Tunney completed the scoring with a goal from close range.
When order was restored, Owens dished out three yellow cards, but no reds and blew his full-time whistle soon after. Carryduff progress to the third round while Saul must now try and salvage their senior status as they head to the relegation play-offs.
CARRYDUFF: M Hynes; D Coogan, J Connery, C Cunningham, L Toal, M McGrath (0-4), D Guinness (1-3); B Cox, P McCabe; O McCabe (0-2), J McFlynn (1-5, 0-3fs), C Clinton (0-3); S McGonigle (0-1), J Tunney (1-0), J Guinness (0-2, 0-1f).
Subs: J Henry for Cox (HT), R Reilly for Clinton (48), C McCullagh for Connery (49), P McConnell for McGonigle (61).
SAUL: J Hazard; J Morhan, C Fitzsimons, C Mahoney; J Mahoney (0-2), L Harney (0-2), D Curran; G Robinson, C Byrne; P Doran (2-0), C Harney (0-3), A Harney; R Connor (0-1), R O’Hare (0-1), P Laverty.
Subs: C Laverty for A Harney (HT), C Watson for Robinson (HT), J Fitzsimons for Connor (40), J Johnston for O’Hare (55).
REFEREE: P Owens (Liatroim).