Down Intermediate Hurling Championship final
Bredagh 2-19 Carryduff 0-9

BREDAGH claimed the Down Intermediate hurling title and South Belfast bragging rights as they accounted for Carryduff at a chilly Pairc Esler in Newry on Saturday.

The Harps just had the better quality and were much more economical in the scoring zone against their local rivals who did it to themselves in many ways with 16 wides overall, eight in each half.

They also ran to an inspired Ian Galway in the Bredagh goals who made two superb stops in then opening half and then made a stunning penalty stop in the second period from Gareth Lynch, yet by this stage the gap was at 10.

Centre-back Niall McFarland claimed the man-of-the match award and it was probably fitting as the Bredagh defence was excellent throughout, their appetite for hard work what this victory was build upon and in attack, they plundered a lot of their scores off broken ball as they were just that bit sharper.

Of course, they had played in the Down Senior Championship this year, yet Carryduff has scored an impressive win over Newry Shamrocks in the semi-final who had also dropped out of the Senior round robin, but this time it was beyond them as Bredagh took the honours and set-up an Ulster Championship meeting with Antrim's Creggan on November 5.

Both sides passed up an early opportunity before Niall Smyth pointed Bredagh into a second minute lead.

The Harps were just that bit sharper to the breaks as their first touch would come into play as the half wore on, allowing them to create and score with Sean McGourty opening his account five minutes later.

Carryduff were finally off the mark in the ninth minute through midfielder Oran Teague, but it would be another 13 minutes before they would trouble the scoreboard again.
By this time, Bredagh had another five points with McGourty squeezing a shot inside and then picking out Mark Patterson to fire over.

Patterson would have another in this spell with Sean Hughes (free) and Tiernan Sheehan thumping over from deep as the wides began to stack up at the other end.

Carryduff were looking to go direct and this approach almost paid off on a couple of occasions as Gareth Lynch rose to bear in on goal, but Ian Galway in the Bredagh goal was equal to his effort and he made an even better save shortly after when Michael Conway pulled on a long delivery.

Quickfire points from Donal Og Rooney (free) and Eoin Rooney narrowed the gap to four, but Bredagh hit back in kind as Sean McGourty hit his third of the opening half followed by centre-back Niall McFarland bursting from defence and splitting the posts.

It would get even better in first-half stoppage time as Patterson cut in on the right and although Conor McLornan made the stop, Niall Smyth turned the rebound home.

Oran Teague pointed at the other end in response, but Patterson responded again with his third of the half as Bredagh went in at the break holding a commanding 1-10 to 0-4 lead.

Donal Og Rooney nailed an early free for Carryduff as they came out in the second period much livelier, but the wides continued to pile up when they could have ate into the gap.

They were punished from a Sean Hughes free and then Ciaran McMullan landed from deep to extend the gap to 10.

The scores from Carryduff were far too sporadic as Donal Og Rooney put some missed frees behind him to land from play out on the right only to see Hughes hit back in kind.

A lifeline came on 45 minutes as Michael Conway made a charge at goal only to be impeded and a penalty was the award. Lynch, who had been one of Carryduff's standouts, struck hit shot well, but Galway dove to his right and made a stunning save. That was that.

Hughes added another pair of scores with Liam Hogan getting in on the act fir Bredagh with James Woods and Conor Cassidy getting on the board at the other end, but the game had by now petered out.

The icing on the cake came in stoppage time as Patterson made a rapid break forward but unselfishly popped inside to Aaron Carey - denied now long before by a Carryduff defence that put in a good shift - and the full-forward rounded Conor McLornan to finish.
It was a fairly comprehensive win for Bredagh in the end with Carryduff left wondering what might have been.

BREDAGH: I Galway; O McFlynn, L Smyth, L Hogan (0-1); M Woods, N McFarland (0-1), T Sheehan (0-1); M Patterson (0-3), J Hanrahan; C McMullan (0-1), S McGourty (0-3), S Hughes (0-5, 4 frees); N Smyth (1-1), A Carey (1-0), C Costello.
Subs:  M Lavery for C Costello (HT), J McCollum for C Costello (53), M McAreavey for O McFlynn (53), K Power for A Carey (60+2), E Maguire for T Sheehan (60+2)

CARRYDUFF: C McLornan; N McArdle, C O'Neill, C Goodwin; D Goodwin, C Cassidy (0-1), D Og Rooney (0-3, 2 frees); O Teague (0-2), M McCaughey; S O'Callaghan, J Woods (0-1), C Early; E Rooney (0-1), G Lynch, M Conway.
Subs: C O'Callaghan (0-1) for L McCaughey (25), C McAlister for S O'Callaghan (HT), O Wyer for C O'Neill (46), A Downey for M Conway (57)

REFEREE: David Carr (Newry Shamrocks)