Mayobridge win Down U21 Championship
Tuesday, 13 December 2016
TWO Paddy Smyth goals secured Mayobridge the Down U21 A Club Championship title against a 14-man St Peter's Warrenpoint.
Played in Burren on Sunday, St Peter's Warrenpoint made formidable opponents in a fitting finale, but Mayobridge's clinical finishing essentially clinched the title.
As expected in December, it was hard hitting with tough tackling and although Kilcief referee Adrian Sharvin took strongly worded advice from both dug-outs, he permitted the game to be played at full-throttle.
That said he had no choice but to send off Warrenpoint's Sean Gallagher on 19 minutes after he struck Mayobridge's Conaill Gallagher.
Sean saw red only seconds after Paddy Smyth bagged his first opportunist goal. Aaron Gribben floated a long ball towards the square where Warrenpoint keeper Gary McShane fumbled and Smyth swooped in and drilled home from close-range.
Up to that point the game was in the balance as Mayobridge tried to find a way to halt Warrenpoint's exciting Donnagh McAleenan. The nippy corner forward gave Warrenpoint a two-point lead with only three minutes gone. McAleenan was a breath of fresh air with his quick feet and attacking nature.
Shane Smyth opened Mayobridge's account by converting a 45' before McAleenan replied with his third point.
Mayobridge found a solution to the McAleenan problem after the Warrenpoint dismissal as they could afford to double-mark the Point livewire, with Martin Reece and Darren McPolin tasked with that job.
CJ Barr grew into the contest and he impressed by winning much of the midfield battle, while up front Corey Quinn kept the Warrenpoint defence on their toes.
Points from Quinn, Gallagher and another converted 45' from Shane Smyth extended Mayobridge's lead but a close range converted free from McAleenan closed the gap at the break.
Mayobridge suffered a blow before half-time, when Paul Lively had to go off with a leg injury.
Despite being a player down Warrenpoint got off to a blistering restart as first McAleenan converted a free and then he was instrumental in setting up a goal as he ran along the game-line at pace, shifted a couple of heavy tackles, but he had the strength and agility to stay on his feet and fed a vital pass across the face of goal to Jason Sloane, who made no mistake from close range.
With 33 minutes played the sides were level, but Mayobridge upped their game and displayed conviction as they attacked in numbers to edge ahead.
Points from Corey Quinn and Conaill Gallagher put Mayobridge in front and although McAleenan's converted free closed that gap, Paddy Smyth's second goal on 39 minutes suggested the writing was on the wall.
It was not only the score that made the impact but the manner in which it was scored as Shane Annett made a 40-metre juggernaut run, played a clever one-two with Shane Smyth before making the final pass to Paddy Smyth, who finished neatly into the net.
But Warrenpoint did respond and despite being down to 14 players for almost three quarters of the match, they forced Mayobridge onto the back foot but frustratingly they failed to impress on the scoreboard and kicked too many wides.
Corey Quinn and the unmarkable McAleenan traded points on two occasions but despite throwing everything they had, the Warrenpoint men could not penetrate a solid and hardworking Mayobridge defence.
The Sky Blues were worthy winners and as Benny Coulter begins his tenure as senior manager of Mayobridge he can be confident of the quality of players coming through the ranks.
Mayobridge were at the losing end of last year's final, to Hilltown, and Warrenpoint should take hope from that. Warrenpoint manager Bernie Ruane will be pleased with what he has seen this year as part of the Down U21 management team.
MAYOBRIDGE: Sean McLoughlin, Martin Reece, Conor Fitzpatrick, Darren McPolin, Shane Annett, Barry Cunningham, Brendy Murtagh, Daniel Catterson, CJ Barr, Aaron Gribben, Paul Lively, Shane Smyth, Paddy Smyth, Corey Quinn, Conaill Gallagher. Sub used: Rory McPolin.
CPN: Gary McShane, Chris Monaghan, Paddy Murdock, Joe McLoughlin, Ryan Magee, Sean Gallagher, Danny Murdock, Cormac McCartan, Frank Aiken, Aaron Magee, Aaron Darcy, Ruairi McGivern, Jason Sloane, Aaron Joe Maguire, Donnagh McAleenan.
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