Downpatrick resolve frightens Bryansford

Downpatrick resolve frightens Bryansford

DOWNPATRICK went into this Senior Football Championship first round derby tie without several key players, and they did the club proud with an exemplary display of committed football.

Bryansford’s Conor Gribben opened the scoring with a converted 21m free, but this was quickly cancelled out by county minor, Conor McGrady. John Polly, another certain star of the future, then put RGU ahead with a super goal, but Bryansford responded with a point from Jim Magorrian.

Karl Oakes extended Downpatrick’s lead to three points before scores from Danny Savage and Chris Clarke left just a point between the sides.

The game took a dramatic turn when Bryansford were awarded a hotly disputed penalty and Savage made no mistake from the spot to give his side the lead.

A speculative punt from Luke Byrne then evaded everyone in the Downpatrick 14 and ended up in the net to give the ‘Ford a four points lead.

Further minor scores from Conor Maginn and Gribben (2) extended Bryansford’s lead to seven before Johnny Bell completed the first half scoring with a point for Downpatrick as they went in at the break 2-7to 1-4 down.

Bryansford opened the second half with points from Savage and Clarke, but the deadly free taking of Karl Oakes kept RGU ticking over. Bryansford seemed to have sewn up the match when further points from Gribben and Savage put them 11 points clear with less than 10 minutes remaining.

However, Gerard McStay, one of the game’s great motivators, cajoled his players into one final effort and how the players responded.

Jarlath Branagan was unlucky not be awarded a penalty and two Peter Turley (inset) shots went perilously close before super sub Paul McAlinden was fouled in the square.

Up stepped Branagan to take the penalty, but his shot was brilliantly saved by Sean James Brannigan. The ball was parried out to Branagan and this time he made no mistake when he drove the ball to the back of the net.

McAlinden then fired an unstoppable shot to the back of the net to leave just four points in it with the game in added time.

Unfortunately, a couple of near misses denied RGU from grabbing a replay after coming back from the dead.

The RGU defence was again in top form with Damian Turley, Declan Turley outstanding. Peter Turley was magnificent in midfield and more than held his own against Kalum King.

Bryansford: S. J. Brannigan, A. McDonald, S. Toner, R. Wells, N. Murray, A. Somers, L. Byrne (1-0), A. Keenan, C. Gribben (0-5), C. Clarke (0-2), C. Maginn (0-1), D. Savage (1-5), J. Magorrian, K. King, M. Brannigan. Subs: R. McDonald for Toner, D. McKenna for Keenan, S. Brannigan for M. Brannigan.

Downpatrick: G. Brown, C. MacNabb, A. Doherty, J. Bell (0-1), J. Polly (1-0), Declan Turley, D, Braniff, P. Turley (0-1), K. Gracey, K. Oakes (0-4), I. McAuley, J. Branagan (1-0) Damian Turley, C. McGrady ()-1). Subs: R. Slavin for Bell, R. Foy for Braniff, P> McAlinden (1-0) for McAuley.

Bryansford 2-14 Downpatrick 3-7