Defensive errors cost Carryduff Colts dearly

St Matthews 2 Carryduff Colts 1

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 4:00 pm
Euan McNicholl fires over a corner for Colts Firsts against St Matthews in Junior Shield

First half defensive lapses cost the Colts dear as they fell just short of a great opportunity to progress into the latter stages of the Junior Shield.

Despite having the wind at their backs in the first half, Carryduff failed to make the most of the advantage and St Matthews dominated much of the play while comfortably defending against the occasional attack they faced.

They deserved to take the lead halfway through the opening period when the centre back was given too much time on the ball to pick out Matt’s young but highly talented striker. As the defenders stood off him, he took advantage and fired a powerful shot into the net for the opener and within 10 minutes the home side had doubled their advantage and again the defence could have done better.

The normally reliable Joe Sweeney had to go off feeling ill before the interval and was replaced by Odhran Sherry who made a huge difference with his ability to carry the ball and his pace, and although he was at right back quickly became Carryduff’s most dangerous player with Paul Murphy on the other side also putting in a great shift.

Carryduff came out in the second half a different team and dominated the second 45 minutes against opponents who are pushing for promotion from the league above, and anyone not knowing the status of both teams would have been challenged to know which one played at the higher level. Rory McDonnell and O’Rourke snuffed out the danger of the home forwards and Sean McCaffrey was on hand when they did get through to make some good saves.

Fergus McBride and Paul Hayley started to come on to a game in the second and controlled the midfield supported by some great defensive work by Michael Deeny. Colts man of the match Mattie O’Rourke was superb defensively but also when carrying the ball out from the back he caused mayhem in the home defence.

Tiernan McCullough and James White were introduced for Hayley and Deeny and added fresh impetus into the team as Ciaran Sherry, Mattie McNally and Euan McNicholl were probing for openings and went close on a few occasions.

Ciaran Sherry attempts to fire in a shot as the Carryduff Colts push for late equaliser

Colts had to wait until five minutes before time to get their breakthrough and it came with a superb header from O’Rourke that bulleted into the top of the net from a corner.

St Matthews were hanging on at the end and their hearts were in their mouth when there was a strong shout for a penalty in the final minute when the ball clearly struck a defender’s hand but the referee appeared to miss it and the east Belfast men held out to progress to the next round.

Colts: McCaffrey, Sweeney (OSherry), Murphy, McDonnell, O’Rourke, McBride, McNally, Deeny (White), C Sherry, Hayley (McCullough), McNicholl.