Early April Fool Motivates Downpatrick 2nds To Vital Win

This game got off to the most comical of starts at a blustery Annsborough on Saturday afternoon. The game scheduled to kick off at 2pm was delayed 20 minutes and started with both teams wearing identical jerseys and not match ball in sight. As Downpatrick took to the field at 2pm, to read more click on the link below…

Saturday 28th March – NADAFL Division 1 Supplementary Cup

Castlewellan FC 2nds 1 v Downpatrick FC 2nds 3

Castlewellan trotted out with only nine men and wearing the matching colour jerseys as their visitors. The ref immediately noticed the calamity and instructed the home side to provide a set of different jerseys. After waiting twenty minutes with no sign of replacement jerseys, and the hosts now at full strength, he decides to start the game only to find that Castlewellan cannot provide a match ball.

Downpatrick came to the rescue but with only 5 minutes on the clock it got lost to the river nearby. Finally the jerseys arrived with 10 minutes played and as the match restarted Downpatrick opting for the wind advantage, bombarded the Castlewellan goal, creating chance after chance.

Carlos Djaio had a great chance to open the scoring on 15 minutes but skied high over the bar from two yards when it looked easier to score. In the 25th minute, Chris Curran tried his luck from range and a hesitant keeper batted the ball around his right-hand post. A couple of corners later Curran nearly floated an effort towards the top corner with the keeper worried.

Just before the half-hour, Neil Young supplied Conaill Kerr but the keeper saved well once more. Another effort from the teenager was pushed out to Djaio on the edge of the area but his miscued shot was blocked. Just before the whistle, Barry Fitzsimons delivered a cross on to the head of the stretching Young, who nodded just wide.

Half Time: Castlewellan 2nds 0 v Downpatrick FC 0

At the break Downpatrick’s performance lacked only one thing – a goal and even a second or maybe a third they deserved. That fact came back to haunt them three minutes into the second half when Matthew Carson slipped to allow the Town striker to round Robbie Hagan for the opener.

Downpatrick’s response was magnificent. They fought their way back into the game and then imposed their football. Neil Young guided home a header to equalise on 75 minutes. Conaill Kerr floated in a cross from the left flank for Young, who kept both his balance and his wits about him to guide a gorgeous header back past the keeper.

Minutes later Chris Mullan fired in a rocked-fuelled effort from 25 yards and, yet again, the visitor’s shotstopper was somewhat unconvincing as he tipped the ball over the bar. The visitors began to pepper the Castlewellan penalty area. The home side coped with most of them but the persistent pressure gradually drew them into their shell as Mullan, Sean McMahon and Young continued to play purposeful patterns just outside the home penalty. Only a stray Castlewellan leg or, in fairness, well-timed tackle prevented Downpatrick taking their lead.

On 78 minutes Young turned provider with an inch-perfect ball over the top for Mullan, the midfielder tried an early effort but his shot was high over the bar. Two minutes later the midfielder wouldn’t waste another opportunity, quick thinking by Barry Fitzsimons with a throw saw Mullan race through on goal and he held off the attentions of the defender before firing home off the far post.

Downpatrick were now beating on Castlewellan’s back door. Chris Curran stole in front of the defender to nod a corner against the bar. And moments later McMahon tried to clip the ball through but it hit the keeper’s outstretched hand. As seconds ticked away Castlewellan resorted to desperate methods, changing their keeper with their centre forward and this was to prove the ending gag.

On ninety minutes a bad challenge on Sean McMahon on the half way line resulted in a Downpatrick free kick. The keeper felt he needed to get involved and raced to the half way line but the quick thinking of Carson spotted that the keeper hadn’t a chance of making it back to his goal line and with the approval of the referee Carson fired the free kick over the head of the scampering keeper to claim all three points for his side in this somewhat comical and eventful game.

Downpatrick: 1) R Hagan 2) B Fitzsimons 3) G Trueman 4) M Carson 5) P O’Reilly 6) N Young 7) C Mullan 8) C Curran 9) C Kerr, 10) S McMahon 11) C Djaio 12) D Telford 14) C McGrady 15) P Kerr