Colleges opener for De La Salle

Colleges opener for De La Salle

30 May 2012

DE La Salle’s young players made history at a sun-drenched Carryduff where they secured the school’s first ever Ulster Colleges football title.

The Downpatrick based side were on top throughout as their brand of attacking football proved too much for a plucky Edmund Rice offering. Two late goals from the Glengormley outfit made the scoreline look at a bit more respectable, but in truth the De la Salle were much the better team.

With a slight wind advantage in the first half, the De La Salle opted to play long diagonal balls into their two man full forward line. With support runners coming from all angles, the Downpatrick offering piled the pressure on the Edmund Rice backline.

Centre half forward Conor Doherty was first to get on the scoresheet as he glided over a fine point. The burly Caelin Savage then added a goal soon after. The major arrived after the Edmund Rice goalkeeper parried a shot from wing forward Mark Magennis. Savage was quickest to react as he shot to the net.

With McCarron and McCoubrey dominant around the middle of the park, De La Salle had plenty of possession and another five points arrived before the half-time whistle. The excellent Michael Phillips got two of them, Conor Doherty added a free with Ruairi Quinn and Conor McCarron also getting in on the act.

Edmund Rice only managed three assaults on the Downpatrick goalmouth throughout the half as Aidan Brady, Dylan Duffy, Jordan Carson and Ryan Fitzpatrick marked tightly and gave away few chances. Towards the short whistle they did breach Corey Martin’s uprights once to leave a half-time score of 1-6 to 0-1.

A bright start to the second half, which yielded 0-3, put De La Salle in an even more commanding position. The menacing Ruairi Quinn added his second score of the afternoon and this was complimented by Doherty’s second converted free and an effort from Caelin Savage.

Scores were traded on two occasions to leave the score 1-11 to 0-3 in De La Salle’s favour, the De La Salle points coming from Conor McCarron and a Conor Doherty set-piece.

With just ten minutes left Edmund Rice got their fourth point of the contest. However, young substitute Ruairi Fitzpatrick dampened any hope of a miraculous comeback by the Belfast team. Fitzpatrick goaled when he found the back of the net, having moments earlier hit the bar with his first touch. Caelin Savage’s rebound was superbly saved.

With time running out and De La Salle 13 points in front, Edmund Rice went for broke and got a goal. The Downpatrick boys didn’t panic, though, as the athletic Jamal Othmanh Khalid sauntered forward to raise the white flag. Edmund Rice pressed again and were rewarded with an injury time goal, but it was far too little too late.

This De La Salle win was based on superb cohesion and an unquestionable work ethic. Corey Martin was assured and focused in goals and his ability to pinpoint kick-outs to the midfield area was crucial in the victory.

The robust Cavan Flynn held the full back line together while Dylan Duffy and Aidan Brady hardly give their opponents a sniff in the corners. Adrian McCoubrey had a very steady game at number six. He attacked and defended with poise. On the flanks Jordan Carson and Ryan Fitzpatrick provided competent outlets for Martin’s kick-outs whilst they were brave on the ball.

Conor McCarron was arguably the best player on the field in the middle sector. The towering RGU lad won numerous balls in the middle third and his use of possession was accurate and consistent. His partner Jamal Othmanh Khalid covered a lot of ground and always provided a useful link between defence and attack.

Conor Doherty’s free taking expertise was invaluable and he also contributed one from play in a very economical performance from the centre half forward. On the left wing Michael Phillips was everywhere whilst popping up with two points in the process. On the other flank Mark Magennis worked hard and set up Caelin Savage for the first half goal.

The full forward line worked their socks off throughout. Kevin Polly was excellent in his withdrawn role which left Savage and Quinn with acres of space, which they exploited to no end.

Of the two substitutes used, Ruairi Fitzpatrick had a crucial impact with a well-worked goal towards the end of the game. Nathan Davey got on the ball a lot and held up possession in the dying embers.

Overall, this was a magnificent win for the De La Salle. Not only did they create history but they did so in terrific fashion.

The 31 players on the panel and their management team deserve immense credit for what was a very successful Nagle Cup campaign.

De La Salle: C. Martin (Loughinisland), A. Brady (RGU), C. Flynn (Ardglass), D. Duffy (Bright), J. Carson (RGU), A. McCoubrey (RGU), Ry. Fitzpatrick (RGU), J. Khalid (RGU, 0-1), C. McCarron (RGU, 0-2), M. Phillips (Drumaness, 0-2), C. Doherty (RGU, 0-4, 3F), M. Magennis (Ardglass), R. Quinn (RGU, 0-2), C. Savage (Kilclief, 1-1), K. Polly (RGU). Subs: N. Davey (Kilclief), Ru. Fitzpatrick (RGU, 1-0). Coaches: Kevin Murray and Joe McStay.

De La Salle, Downpatrick 2-12

Edmund Rice, Belfast 2-4