Cumann Pheadair Naofa 3-11 Burren 1-10
In an entertaining derby game played in Pairc Esler on Sunday night, it was Warrenpoint who moved into the winner’s pot for the second round of the Down Senior Championship, having beaten their neighbours Burren. In a very open game of football both teams played an attacking brand of football with no sweepers or any sign of packed out defences. The game was won and lost in a twenty minute spell in the second half when both teams went a player down after receiving black cards. Burren had the advantage first but didn’t take full control of this with Warrenpoint defending superbly and playing out the 10 minute spell very wisely. Warrenpoint in contrast scored a goal and two points to Burren’s one point during their advantage and finished the much stronger looking team.
Burren got off to the better start and raced into a three point lead after 8 minutes. Kevin McKernan with a brace either side of a Donal O’Hare free. Warrenpoint levelled matters in the 9th minute when Ryan Boyle soloed the ball from defence and squared a pass across the goal for Ruairi McCormack to steer the ball into the Burren net. Niall McCartan added a point for the Blues and Donagh McAleenan stretched the Blue’s lead with a great point. Warrenpoint looked very comfortable halfway through the first half but from a silly mistake in their forward line, Burren turned the ball over and counter attacked. Conor Toner drove through the middle off the point defence and slipped the ball for the oncoming Liam Kerr who rifled the ball past Gary McMahon, to put Burren back in front by one point. Ross McGarry had the teams level on the 17th minute converting a 20m free. Ryan Boyle and Paddy Murdock were starting to dominate in half back and both these men were the catalyst for the Warrenpoint attacks. Ryan Boyle made a couple of his trademark runs from defence and set up Ross McGarry and Alan Davidson to knock over points from play to give the Blues a 2 point lead. But Burren didn’t lie down and finished the half much stronger. A Donal O’Hare free was followed up by a great save from Warrenpoint’s Gary McMahon. A great run from Liam Kerr set up Donal O’Hare for a goal chance. His shot was brilliantly saved by McMahon. The ball fell to Paudie Poland, who slotted the ball over the bar to haver the sides level at half time with both sides scoring 1-5 each.
Burren opened the scoring in the first minute of the second half with Conall McGovern getting his first score after a great ball from Stephen Fegan. Ciaran McCartan levelled matters straight away after a superb point from the outside of the boot from 40m. Liam Kerr was proving to be a problem for Warrenpoint’s defence and after another probing run he set up Ronan McGrath to score a point to put Burren ahead 1-7 to 1-6. It looked like Warrenpoint’s night was going to be spoiled in the 35th minute when Cormac McCartan earned himself a black card for a foul on Liam Kerr, and the Blues found themselves down to 14 men for the next 10 minutes. Unfortunately for Burren, they didn’t capitalise on this and only scored one point in that time, a free from Donal O’Hare. Warrenpoint, however were much stronger and played those 10 minutes as if they had the extra player. Paddy Murdock and the two Boyles, Ryan and John, got on a lot of ball and made great runs into the Burren half leaving Burren starved of possession. Ciaran McCartan added another long range point and Ross McGarry added another free to leave the sides level 1-8 a piece with 42 minutes gone. With the game evenly poised with 15 minutes left, disaster struck for Burren. Paddy Murdock was making his way out of defence on another attacking run when he was taken down by Liam Kerr. The Burren man received a black card for his tackle and this was the springboard for the Warrenpoint dominance in the last quarter where they took full advantage of the extra man. Donagh McAleenan had a cool head on his shoulders when he fired over his second point of the evening when others would have gone for goal. But the goal did come two minutes later on the 47th minute. Alan Davidson played a delightful ball into the on running Ross McGarry, who eluded the tackle from Gerard McGovern and put the ball past the advancing Cillian Burns, to put the Point men 4 points up. Burren came back and after a great run from Gerard McGovern and some clever play by Cathal Foye, Donal O’Hare fired over his fourth point of the evening to leave it a one score game 2-9 to 1-9 in favour of the Blues. With 5 minutes left and both sides back to their full quota of 15 men it was Warrenpoint who killed off the game. Adam Lynch made a run from corner back and got onto a pass from McGarry to score a point. Ross McGarry converted another free after a foul on Ruairi McCormack. Peter Fegan set up Conall McGovern for his second point of then match in the 59th minute, but at this stage Burren needed a goal to get themselves back into the match. Two goal chances did arise in injury time but both were for Warrenpoint. Alan Davidson found himself in acres of space and went straight for goal only to see his shot go inches wide. One minute later Ryan Mallon found himself one on one with the Burren keeper after a great ball from John Boyle. He didn’t disappoint the Warrenpoint support as he rifled his shot to the top corner of the net to leave the final score 3-11 to 1-10 to Warrenpoint.
Warrenpoint were worthy winners and had some great individual displays on the night. Ryan Boyle and Paddy Murdock started and created numerous attacks for Warrenpoint with their direct running from defence. The McCartan brothers, Ciaran and Cormac were excellent around the middle of the field and the hard working Donagh McAleenan gained vital possession up front for the Blues.
Gary McMahon, Ryan McAleenan, Paddy Murdock, Adam Lynch (0-1), Ryan Boyle, John Boyle, Ryan Magee, Cormac McCartan, Ciaran McCartan (0-2), Ruairi McCormack (1-0), Alan Davidson (0-1), Niall McCartan (0-1), Aaron Magee, Ross McGarry (1-4), Donagh McAleenan (0-2), Eoghan Byrne for N McCartan, R Mallon (1-0) for A Magee, Jamie Grant for A Davidson.