Downpatrick hang on for priceless win

Downpatrick hang on for priceless win

7 November 2018

DOWNPATRICK will be playing their football in the top flight again next year after a nervy win over an Riocht at St Patrick’s Park, Newcastle, on Saturday afternoon.

The Hoops were given a torrid examination in the second half as a game An Riocht threw everything into their bid to remain in Division 1, but the Hoops just about held on in testing conditions.

Early points against the wind from Michael Magee and Tim Prenter had Downpatrick supporters beaming, but a free from Ronan McAlinden had An Riocht quickly on the RGU’s tail. 

A sublime free from Jarlath Branagan was negated by An Riocht’s Noel McArdle who brought the sides level with two accurate conversions.

Branagan restored Downpatrick’s lead midway through the half as the Hoops continued to play the ball at speed and they struck the jackpot just before the break when a speculative pointed-effort from Conor McGrady did a bit of ducking and diving before ending up in the back of the net.

Downpatrick looked firmly in control with a 1-4 to 0-3 lead, but Deaglan Morgan, who was not letting his side 

go down without a fight, left three points in at the break with another good score.

The wind and rain that Downpatrick hoped would be in their backs in the second half and despite Sean Bell extending their lead to four points, it was An Riocht who seized the initiative.

McArdle really was in inspirational form and as well as firing over three frees, he still had time to ruffle a few feathers with his never-say-die attitude and desire to rattle several Downpatrick cages.

A sensational point from Branagan and a McGrady free seemed to knock the stuffing out of An Riocht, as they made it a 1-7 to 0-7 game, but the Hoops hadn’t reckoned on McArdle.

The livewire half forward took the bull by the horns and two more frees had Downpatrick quaking in their boots. An Riocht did have a goal opportunity in the dying stages to steal victory with a goal, but a superb James Deeny save denied John O’Rourke a certain goal. 

Downpatrick were more than happy to hear the final whistle and there was no denying them their moment in the sun, but An Riocht were totally crestfallen as they now prepare for life in Division 2.

Downpatrick: J Deeny, R Murphy, C MacNabb, D Braniff, C McCarron, J Bell, A Doherty, P Turley, S Bell (0-1), C McGrady (1-1f), J Branagan (0-3,2f), T Prenter (0-1), M Robinson, G Trainor, M Magee (0-1f). Subs: T Loudon for Robinson, R Quinn for McCarron, N McShane for S Bell, C Boyd for Braniff, C Doherty Trainor. 

An Riocht: S Doran, J O’Rourke, C Doyle, M Trainor, C Clarke, P Allen, R Spiers, J Colgan, D Doyle, N McArdle (0-7, 6f), R Cunningham, R McAlinden (0-1), C Killen, P Gartland, D Morgan (0-1). Subs: J Cunningham for Killen, K Colgan for Gartland. 

Downpatrick 1-7

An Riocht 0-9