Cumann Pheadair Naofa 0-08 V Bryansford 0-08
Teachers of English when they teach literature to their pupils love to speak of pathetic fallacy, on Friday night in Páirc Liam Uí Ír the long-awaited return to football turned out to be a sporting as opposed to a literary pathetic fallacy. That is to say the dullness of the evening, the rain, the absence of supporters and dreary nature of the play added to the gloom. Yes, it was great to be back, to see and hear leather being kicked in Moygannon once again but this joy was accompanied by a striking realisation that football behind closed doors is just not the same. The colourful characters who turn up to support their team and the club workers who provide the background music to every match were very much missed just like the water when the well runs dry.
Bryansford won possession from the throw in and held possession before feeding Danny Savage who scored from close range in the second minute. A Warrenpoint attack broke down amidst a bout of short passing when the ball went off Ryan Mc Aleenan to go wide. From the kick out The Point won possession and made their way forward when Donagh Mc Aleenan was awarded a free Ross equalised with a straightforward free. Shortly after that a free was awarded when Paddy Murdock was subject of a crushing challenge from Daniel Mc Donnell, Ross has often scored more difficult opportunities but this one drifted wide. In the next minute Ryan O Higgins had a wide from a free and soon afterwards Ross Mc Garry was off the mark with his forty-yard free. Tonight also saw the introduction of the new playing rules and a beautiful diagonal ball from Danny Savage picked out David Mc Kenna who fielded to perfection and raised his hand to be awarded a forward mark. His subsequent kick put Bryansford back in the lead. Surprisingly this was the only use of the mark all evening but it was a textbook example. This was followed up by one of many textbook examples of ‘the packed defence’ when all the Bryansford players were behind their own forty yard line. It was a times like this that Bryansford looked like the new Ballyholland with style. As the Point went forward it was difficult to create space and scoring opportunity but Aaron Magee managed to do just that with a fine equalising point in the eight minute. Ryan O Higgins put Bryansford back in the lead with a well taken point from about thirty five yards out. Warrenpoint had to wait until after the water break when Aaron D’Arcy scored following a quick taken free in the sixteenth minute. A few minutes Danny Savage with another marvellous kick from the left corner put Bryansford back in the lead with a point. In the twentieth minute Bryansford threatened for a goal but Ryan Mc Aleenan did enough to upset and dispossess the kicker. It all happened in the square and it was a pivotal moment in the match as the ref waved play on when some especially the Bryanford contingent felt sure a penalty was on the cards. Ross missed another scorable free and Bryansford remained in the lead by a point. With about eight minutes remaining in the half Jamie Grant began to assert himself moving out to the forty to secure his own ball. In the twenty sixth minute he shot from the left hand side and the ball seemed to me to curl just to the inside of the right hand post. The Bryansford umpire signalled a wide and the referee appointed umpire signalled a point after consultation the point was given much to the consternation of the Bryansford people. It seemed over to me but it was definitely one for Hawk Eye. Jamie’s next effort from almost the same position was certainly wide although it drew a few ironic calls of ‘Point Ref’ from the Bryansford subs. The final score of the half which put Warrenpoint into a one point lead came from a superb Ross Mc Garry shot following good work along the left from defence. Half Time score Warrenpoint 0-05 Bryansford 0-04.
At the resumption of play Bryansford won possession from the throw in and advanced but mid fielder Ryan O’ Higgins shot wide when a score was on. Danny Savage equalised with a fisted point for Bryansford in the second minute of the half. A forty yard shot from John Boyle went wide and good work from him shortly afterwards robbed Bryansford of a scoring chance. Ross Mc Garry secured the lead again moments later when he scored a forty yard free a few minutes later he was unlucky with a ‘fifty’ that went narrowly wide. When Donagh Mc Aleenan was pulled down some minutes later it seemed well within his range but he kicked short and the goalkeeper collected his effort with ease. When Joe Magee was fouled close to goal Ross converted to put Warrenpoint two points ahead. Joe was the first of the half forward line to be replaced by Alan Davidson and in the remaining fifteen minutes Arron D’Arcy was replaced by Eoghan Byrne and with a three minutes left Ruairí Mc Cormack was replaced by Niall Mc Govern. Just before the water break Ryan O’ Higgins scored a fine point, to leave the score Warrenpoint 0-07 Bryansford 0-06. As Warrenpoint struggled to create chances for themselves Bryansford became more dominant in possession during this time Gary Mc Mahon protected the Point from certain defeat when he saved a great low shot heading for the corner of the net. Points from David Mc Kibben and followed by sub Paddy Sherridan put Bryansford a point in front with just six minutes left. Warrenpoint’s day was saved when they were awarded a close in free which Ross converted with ease. This was the final score of the evening and a draw game at eight points each. In the dying minutes Warrenpoint did manage to break at pace and expose the Bryansford defence but on a bad night for Warrenpoint forwards in general Alan Davidson opted to take a shot from forty yards out when a diagonal pass to advancing colleagues might have been the more productive option.
All in all a draw was a fair result from the evening’s endeavours, Bryansford no doubt returned home rueing a few decisions from the referee and Warrenpoint while satisfied with the work of the defence must reflect on the missed chances and the inability up front to create scoring chances, their three scores in the second half came from Mc Garry frees with no scores from play. In truth Warrenpoint were the more fortunate to come away from the match with a point.
Ross Mc Garry 0-05 (0-04 frees), Aaron Magee 0-01, Aaron D’Arcy 0-01, Jamie Grant 0-01.