Seconds Falter At Quarter-Final Stage

Downpatrick seconds run in the Harry Clarke cup came to an end at the hands of Tollymore in the Quarter Final’s on Saturday, click on the link to read more…

Saturday 31st January – NADAFL Harry Clarke Cup Quarter-Final

Tollymore United 2 v Downpatrick FC 0

TOLLYMORE just did enough to secure their spot in the ClubSportNI Harry Clarke Cup semi-finals for the second year in a row after taking care of a weakened Downpatrick FC seconds at a bitingly cold Bear Park on Saturday.

The strong, gusting and freezing wind that blew constantly throughout the game gave both sides a few problems early on, but Downpatrick, with the wind in their backs created the first opening after only five minutes. A Sean McMahon corner wasn’t dealt with by Tollymore and the ball fell kindly to the lurking Neal Cunningham. He had a clear sight on goal, but shanked the ball well wide from a great position.

Ten minutes later Gareth Small saved well from the bustling Paddy Kerr as Downpatrick tried to make use of the wind advantage. Both sides are to be commended for playing the ball on the deck as the easy thing would have been just to hoof it and let nature do the rest, but that is not either club’s way.

Tollymore threatened on the counterattack and with 26 minutes gone Robbie Hagen had to race off his line and clear the danger as Chris Hogg threatened to get on the end of a long clearance from the rock steady Johnny Hall. The visitors were then made pay for pushing too may men forward when they were hit with a sucker punch in the 34th minute. Stephen Cousins broke up a Downpatrick attack and immediately sent Matt Smyth scurrying down the left flank. Smyth took the ball to the line and with Hagen in no man’s land, crossed perfectly for Hogg to steer the ball home from a few yards out.

Tollymore had a glorious chance to go 2-0 up on the stroke of half-time when the adventurous Smyth created an opening for Hogg, but he shot wide when he really should have done better. 

Half Time: Tollymore 1 v Downpatrick 0

Downpatrick took a leaf out of Tollymore’s book and patiently played a possession game against the wind after the break and they went close to equalising in the 48th minute. McMahon showed nice control to take command of the situation on the edge of the box, but his attempted lob sailed wide. 

With 55 minutes gone the dangerous Smyth fired over before Danny McAleese shot narrowly wide as Tollymore turned the screw. Downpatrick remained dangerous on the break, but they failed to get numbers into the box when they did push forward and had to shoot from distance. Cousins, who had an outstanding game in the middle of the park, then spotted Hagen off his line and cheekily chanced his arm from distance, but the ‘keeper was alert to the problem.

Tollymore finally put Downpatrick out of their misery in the 90th minute when a Philly Dodds challenge on McMahon way out on the right flank, deep in the Tollymore half, saw the ball career out of control and end up on the opposite flank. The ball couldn’t have landed any better at Paddy Cunningham’s feet and he left Chrissy Curran for dead before embarking on a devastating sole run that took him from inside his own half to the Downpatrick 18 yard box. Hagen came off his line to confront Cunningham, but the Tollymore right back calmly slotted the ball past him and into an empty net.

All Downpatrick got out of this was a red card for McMahon who complained that Dodds had fouled him in the build up.

Tollymore United: G. Small, P. Cunningham, B. Wooley, P. Dodds, J. Hall, V. Rice, J. Valentine, S. Cousins, C. Hogg, D. McAleese, M. Smyth. Subs: V. Rice, C. Rice
Downpatrick FC II
: R. Hagen, D. Telford, C. MacNabb, C. Curran, P. O’Reilly, N. Cunningham, B. Ford, N. Young, P. Kerr, S. McMahon, C. Kerr. Subs: P. Donnelly, C. Curran, A. Murphy.