Downpatrick Beat Immaculata For Place In Border Cup Final
NAFL Border Cup Semi-Final
Wednesday 9 November at Seaview, Belfast.
Downpatrick FC 3 Immaculata FC 1.
Downpatrick progressed to the final of this year’s Border Cup in impressive style, defeating last year’s nemesis Immaculata by three goals to one at the Crusaders’ Seaview floodlit 4G pitch in Belfast.
Having played Immaculata and being beaten in the the league twice last season by them and trounced in the Clarence Cup final also last season, this victory was well deserved by the Downpatrick team and well enjoyed by the fans who travelled to Seaview to witness the tables being turned round.
Immaculata was probably the biggest threat to Downpatrick winning the Border Cup. Rathfriland are marked as favourites against Comber next Wednesday and it is all heading to be a terrific Border Cup Final on the 27 December at Seaview, whoever wins this other semi-final.
Downpatrick manager Joe McMahon said after the match: “This was a deserved win. We played well from the whistle.
“We had at least another five clear chances through this match if not more and the team looked business-like and comfortable. They played really well including the subs.
“We are all looking forward to the final at Seaview. We are in form at the minute so let’s hope we can produce a good result on the day and give all our fans something to cheer for!”
Downpatrick started the game in blistering fashion and their direct, lightning attacking style caused havoc for the Immaculata defence as the front line trio of Stephen Galbraith, Philip Traynor and Jack McLaughlin sliced through them clinically.
The first chance of the game fell to Downpatrick’s Galbraith in the opening minutes when he the ball released down the left wing and his first time cross was met by the marauding Ricky Kerr whose well taken volley was well pushed out by the Immaculata keeper seeing McLaughlin trying to weave a shot through the Immaculata defence.
Immaculata sped down the right wing minutes later in a quick break and the ball was played to the edge of the box for their striker Adrian Oliver was unlucky as Downpatrick keeper Michael McKenna comfortably saved the shot. McKenna was a safe pair of hands throughout the match.
Downpatrick broke the deadlock on 17 minutes when Traynor was fouled on the left wing. A Barry Treacy free kick caused confusion in the box and the ball was only partially cleared to the edge of the box to Traynor. The Downpatrick striker tried to control the ball but was closed down and the ball looped back over the ‘Mac’ defence. Kerr reacted quickly and as the keeper came out to close him down he passed the ball inside where McLaughlin had the simplest of tasks of heading the ball into the empty net from five yards out. Downpatrick’s constant pressure on Immaculata was paying off.
Five minutes later Downpatrick produced the move of the match which nearly resulted in the goal of the season. McKenna gathered the ball from an Immaculata scuffed shot, and rolled the ball out to the right back position to Treacy. Treacy passed the ball onto Kerr in midfield and the midfielder helped the ball round the corner first time to Galbraith who was out wide on the halfway line.
The Downpatrick striker played the ball down the line to McLaughlin, and his first time flick found Kerr who had continued his run. Kerr beat the defender before producing the perfect cross into the box. Traynor attacked the ball but agonisingly saw his header drift wide of the far post. This effort alone proved to Downpatrick that they were in the driving seat and certainly buoyed dup their confidence.
Downpatrick, however, wasted a number of good chances before the game entered the 40th minute. Immaculate had made a few surges into the Downpatrick half but they faced a solid defensive wall and a keeper on form.
Philip Traynor had an excellent game pressing Immaculata and he certainly could have had a hat-rick in this game with a bit more luck and composure. One great effort occurred when McLaughlin passed to Traynor in the goal area and Traynor beat a defender but found his angle had narrowed. His shot at goal was a belter but rose just over the post.
Ricky Kerr picked up possession just inside his own half, he tried to find Glabraith but the ball was cut out. The Immaculata defender scuffed his clearance and Galbraith pounced on the loose ball before playing the ball through for McLaughlin who had beaten the offside trap. The young striker drew the keeper out before coolly slotting the ball past him in the 42nd minute low into the net for his and Downpatrick’s second goal.
Half Time: Downpatrick FC 2 Immaculata FC 0.
Downpatrick started as in the fist half pressing but both teams had plenty of possession at the beginning of the second half but could not create any clear cut chances of scoring. The play was mostly in the Immaculata half and the game certainly was more physical and the temperature was definitely higher as Immaculata were intent on pulling back the difference.
Downpatrick scored their third in the 60th minute when left winger Aaron McGarry cut out a forward pass by Immaculata in the left back position. He played a one-two with Ricky Kerr before passing the ball into midfield to Jack McLaughlin who quickly attacked the space in front of him, running thirty yards with the ball before passing to Philip Traynor at the edge of the box.
Traynor jinked one way before another creating a yard of space to curl a delightful shot into the top right corner of the Immaculata goal over the heads of the defenders and the keeper who was rooted to the spot, a helpless spectator.
Andrew Begley suffered an injury and had to be replaced by Tony McIlhone.
The change in personnel caused Downpatrick to alter their formation and this allowed Immaculata to come back into the game. With twenty minutes remaining they pulled hack a goal with a good passing movement which saw them get in behind the Downpatrick defence on the right hand side. The ball was pulled back to Immaculata’s Joseph McClenaghan at the edge of the box. His first time volley seemed destined for the bottom right corner, but Downpatrick keeper Michael McKenna got down low to produce an excellent save. The ball appeared to be going out for a corner but was kept in play. As McMcKenna was bearing down on the ball, the Immaculata forward calmly passed it back to the edge of the six yard box for the Mac’s unmarked Padraig Adams to shoot high into the Downpatrick net.
Immaculata now sensed that they had an opportunity to get back into the game and started to pile on the pressure in a flurry of attacks. They created a number of chances but couldn’t find that killer touch. At one point Oliver unleashed a ferocious low volley at the Downpatrick goal but keeper McKenna smothered it with a great diving save.
On one occasion a free kick was whipped into the box and Mark Holland watched on as his attempted clearance looked to be going into the back of his own net only for McKenna to dive full length and push the ball away for an unbelievable save. The ‘Mac’s’ chances ended when one of their players was shown a second yellow card leaving the field with five minutes to go allowing Downpatrick to see out the remainder of the game comfortably to advance to the Christmas final at Seaview.
Downpatrick: 1) M McKenna 2) N Taggart 3) M Holland 4) M Carson 5) R Kerr 6) A Baggley 7) B Treacy 8) J McLaughlin 9) S Galbraith 10) P Traynor 11) A McGarry 12) C Holland 14) C McCarron 15) T McIlhone.