DOWNPATRICK’S Christmas went from bad to worse when they were dumped out of the Clarence Cup by a fearless Ballynahinch Olympic at Rosconnor on Saturday, click on the link below to read more…
Match Report By Charlie McStay
Saturday 31st December – NAFL Clarence Cup 1st Round
Downpatrick 4 v Ballynahinch Olympic 6 (2-2 after extra-time)
Both sides were missing several key players, but they were still able to serve up a sizzling cup tie where Olympic’s resilience prevailed.
Downpatrick settled first and wasted some good chances in the opening 20 minutes with Eoin Boyle out of luck in front of goal. Olympic were also wasteful and with 25 minutes gone Adam McLean missed a great opportunity to break the deadlock when he fired wide after Jason Noade had sent him clear. A minute later the young striker had a good effort well saved by Michael McKenna as the action started to heat up.
However, it was Downpatrick who broke the deadlock in the 31st minute when Ricky Kerr set-up Tony McIlhone for an easy finish on the edge of the six yard box. Olympic didn’t have long to wait for the equaliser and eight minutes later the willing McLean crossed perfectly for Nyal Walsh to unerringly caress the ball home from the edge of the box.
Olympic had their tails up and three minutes later Jason Noade got on the end of a Walsh free, but his header was saved by McKenna. Downpatrick had the last say of the half when they worked an overload down the right and McIlhone sent Jack McLaughlin scampering into the box. Aaron McLean had tracked McLaughlin’s run, but a dip of the shoulder from the teenage striker saw him create a bit of space before he offloaded an unstoppable shot that flew to the net.
Olympic were back on level terms three minutes after the break when Adam McLean turned on a sixpence on the edge of the box after receiving a Jason Noade free and clipped the ball past McKenna with telling accuracy. Conor Killen went seriously close to giving Olympic the lead in the 57th minute when his improvised effort hit the crossbar with McKenna beaten. Down at the opposite end McIlhone headed a Kerr cross over the top and the former Killough playmaker was again out of luck after linking up well with Conor McCarron.
Downpatrick were now in the ascendancy and lining up to take shots at Ryan Walsh, but Liam Sloan, who was the glue that held Olympic together, held firm and repelled all boarders. Downpatrick continued banging on the door and how they could have done with pushing either Kerr or Teggart forward for a final fling.
Alas, it wasn’t to be as Olympic were more than content to take the game to extra-time and penalties. It was as good as over for Downpatrick when Ryan Walsh saved Downpatrick’s first two penalties and Stevie Noade, Nyal Walsh, Karl Lewis and Adam McLean made no mistake to send Olympic through to meet Rathfriland Rangers.
Downpatrick FC: M McKenna, N Teggart, M Holland, M Carson, R Kerr, B Holland, A McGarry, J McLaughlin, E Boyle, T McIlhone, C Holland. Subs: C McCarron, B Fitzsimons, S McMahon.
Ballyhahinch Olympic: R Walsh, G Wilson, Aaron McLean, L Sloan, J Noade, R Noade, K Lewis, S Noade, C Killen, Adam McLean, N Walsh. Subs: C McNamara, C Reid, S King.