16’s Come Out on Top In The Battle At The Top Of The League

The under 16’s took a major step closer to securing their league title when they defeated Lisburn Distillery who are joint top of the league in an incredible match. Downpatrick only need 1 point from their last game to win the league, click on the link below to find out how they came from behind…

Wednesday 22nd April 15 – Lisburn Invitational Junior League under 16’s

Downpatrick FC 4 v Lisburn Distillery 2

Today’s game was a match which carried great importance for both teams.  The winning team would open up a gap at the top of the table and pull away from their rivals as we eked towards the end of the season and the championship.

These games are the games all players, management and fans should relish even with the highs and lows, ebbs and flows of the game. Our first season in the league and the boys are performing well above expectations.

However, our boys must have forgotten the script, each and every player showed nerves.  They were slow to react to play in all quarters and allowed Lisburn Distillery to take control of the game.  They carried the fight to Downpatrick FC and we had no answers.

The first fifteen minutes was a blur for our boys and as much as some of the players tried, they could not affect the game in the right direction.  So much so, that Lisburn Distillery scored two goals from individual errors.

It was now wave after wave of attack and Fintan Canavan was working the hardest from all the players; he pulled off save after save to keep the score line as it was. It was a rare foray for the boys, Nathan McShane received a through ball from James McAleenan, he took on the defenders and raced towards the goal and fired in a low left footed shot (1-2).

The game changed and the confidence in the boys grew, they began to take control of the match and they were now winning their personal one versus one battles all over the pitch. The football and the confidence flowed from every player in a green shirt.  Tiernan Noade and Callum Shields went close with shots at Lisburn Distillery’s goal, but, to no avail.

The boys were not only working hard with the ball they were also doing well as a unit, closing down space and causing the opposition to make mistakes. Downpatrick gained a corner and Ben Curran, who put in a great delivery, the ball was met by Nathan McShane and he headed home (2-2).

The boys continued to try and play football, Lisburn Distillery were still causing problems; the back unit of Fintan Canavan, John Hill, Conor Breen, Ben Campbell and Daniel Kelly were working hard to prevent Distillery from getting in behind the lines. The midfield of Ben Curran, John Patterson, Tiernan Noade and James McAleenan were very industrious, they were breaking down play and setting up forward play that allowed some respite for all concerned.

One attack allowed Callum Shields to receive the ball and he ran with the ball; he put a ball over to McShane who scored with his right foot (3-2), the perfect hat-trick. There was euphoria in the team and from the side-line, with both parents and management applauding the team and the turn-a-round in fortunes. Hard work and effort had reaped rewards for the team.

Half Time: Downpatrick FC 3 – 2 Lisburn Distillery

After a well-deserved break and a team talk with fuel taken on board, the boys got back to playing the football we expect, along the ground, wide and expansive. Buoyancy coursed through the whole team and they played football.  They attacked the opposition goal with regularity now and it was only a matter of time before they scored again.

The boys were working tirelessly; they were doing the ugly side of football.  They were making the field of play big and wide on attacks and tight and narrow when defending. One such play allowed the ball to be played down the right channel from James McAleenan for Callum Shields to beat two players and put a cross in for Nathan McShane; he had a shot at goal, but, it was blocked, a melee ensued and the ball came back to Callum Shields who put the ball in the back of the net (4-2).

This was not a one-sided game by no means and Distillery were also working hard to try and claw back the deficit. A huge effort from all the players in closing down the space, working between the lines, winning tackles prevented Distillery from getting a foothold in the game again.

The boys were still attacking the Distillery goal; attempts from Noade, McShane, Curran, McAleenan, Shields and Patterson were either wayward or saved. A little bit more composure would allow a better quality of finish in the final third. The boys began to tire and were having to defend with passion and desire; bodies were being put on the line both physically and mentally.

Canavan, Kelly, Hill, Breen and Campbell were big, strong and resolute.  The opposition resorted to long range shots because they were getting no joy at close quarters.  When they did break the lines, Canavan was on hand to protect his goal. He commanded his area well, coming for the ball in the air when needed to take the pressure of the team.  His kicking and distribution was excellent too. The boys controlled the game, even though fatigue set in for the last ten minutes, the attacking line could just not get another goal to help them relax more.


Downpatrick FC 4 – 2 Lisburn Distillery

Man for man each player should be proud of the performance they put in today, even with the support from injured players and the substitute, parents, management.  It was a mammoth task for all concerned.  A huge sigh of relief was breathed by all concerned at the final whistle.

The boys were brought together to discuss the events of the match.  We emphasised the need to enjoy tonight and to take this performance on to Saturday, then tonight’s efforts were not in vain.

# one more game # on last push # 3 more points # U16 champions # believe

Again, the standard of refereeing in this game was outstanding.  The man-management style and decision making was superb, even with the comments been thrown at him at times.