DOWNPATRICK picked up their first victory of the season with a well-deserved, though in the end, nervy win over a highly fancied Warrenpoint outfit at Pairc Tomás Ruiséil on Monday evening.
After having their pocket picked in the death throes of the season opener in Mayobridge, there was something of a must-win feel going in to this game, especially with the reports of how Warrenpoint had dispatched Bryansford in their first game.
This was a game played at a ferocious pace in the first half with both teams utilising their pacy full forward lines with effect.
Playing with a slight breeze, and into the hill, the visitors were first on the scoreboard with points form Walker and McAleenan before Conor McGrady settled the home team with a couple of points from dead balls.
Warrenpoint then broke clear after 10 minutes and Deeny pulled off a fantastic one on one save when livewire McAleenan looked odds-on to score.
But, as often happens in such situations like this, the tables were turned
almost immediately when at the other end.
The talismanic Peter Turley broke clear and made a great off-load to Ruairi Quinn, who was unerring with his finish to the net.
Thereafter, to the end of the half, it was a case of both teams trading points, McGrady (2), Doherty and Boyle for Downpatrick, and McAleenan (2) Magee (2) and Cowan for the visitors to leave the margin two at the break in favour of the home side.
The second half started with Downpatrick again gaining the upper hand in midfield where Peter Turley was asserting his influence as only he can, ably assisted by Conor Doherty.
McGrady opened his second half account with a pointed free before Ruairi Quinn burst along the by line before being upended in the small square. From the resultant penalty, Eoin Boyle made no mistake to leave the margin at six.
From then on it was again a case of trading points with the ever reliable Donncha McAleenan adding six points for Warrenpoint, (5 frees) and Conor Doherty and McGrady adding two for the home side.
The last 15 minutes were frenetic at times with both teams committing handling errors as the dew fell.
The ‘Point were reduced to 14 men when Murdock received a second yellow before the Taylor Louden also was sent to the line for a black after yellow.
Deeny had a good game in goal whilst Damien Turley at full back was back to something like his best form.
The half back line of Louden, Doherty and Bell were the springboard for many of the Hoops attacks whilst Turley and Conor Doherty were excellent at midfield. McGrady was a great target at full forward ably supported by the tireless Boyle and Quinn.
McCartan was the pick of the ‘Point defenders along with Ryan Boyle, with McAleenan a constant threat with his darting runs and accuracy from the placed ball.
RGU now travel to Burren on Friday night with a renewed spring in their step and will take great encouragement from this win over many pundits’ pick as dark horses for 2017.
Everyone at the club wishes Gerdie Collins all the best after being stretchered off 10 minutes from time with a knee injury. Here’s hoping that the injury proves not to be too serious once the initial swelling settles.