ACHL Div.3 League Cup Final
Carryduff 2-18 Cuchullain’s 0-16
An opportunist goal by Gareth Lynch in the 10th minute of the first half and a second from Conor McAlister in the 26th minute of the second secured an impressive victory for Down side, Carryduff over their Armagh rival, Cuchullain’s in this division 3 league cup final at Dunsilly today.
Lynch’s was on hand to finish to the net following a mighty scramble in the Cuchullain’s goalmouth at a time when the Armagh side were holding a slender one point lead and it proved to be a turning point in the game as the Down men, led by the impressive Ronan Beatty went on to lead by four at half time though it looked far from over at this stage.
Beatty was proving almost unmarkable for the Cuchullain’s defence, proving supremely accurate from both frees and play and when he placed Conor McAlister with Carryduff’s second goal on a plate with six minutes remaining there was no way back for the Armagh city side.
It was Carryduff who opened the scoring with a point from Sean O’Callaghan with Conlaith Lavery replying for Cuchullain’s before Adrian Downey edged Carryduff ahead again with a point in the 9th minute.
Lynch extended that lead from a sublime side-line cut and both sides wasted chances before Niall Duffy and Tony Duffy edged the Armagh men in front by the 13th minute but it was a lead that was short lived and when the Cuchullain’s defence failed to deal with a high delivery it was Lynch who got the final touch in the scramble that followed.
It was fairly even in the exchanges leading up to the water break with Lavery and Devlin pointing for Cuchullain’s and Lynch and Beatty on target for the Down side who led 1-5 to 0-5 going into the second quarter.
On the restart Adrian Downey and Gareth Lynch extended the Carryduff lead to five but a well struck ‘65’ from Connlaith Lavery got Cuchullain’s on their way again as both sides continued to waste chances.
Cuchullain’s were finding it hard to break down a solid Carryduff defence where Conor Cassidy and James ‘Twin’ Woods were turning away everything that came their way and were dependent on the free taking of Lavery who hit another fine score to keep his side in touch.
Another from play from Conor Devlin kept the opposition within striking distance but two late frees from Eoin Conway and the superb Beatty saw the Down side in a strong position at the break where they led 1-9 to 0-8.
With the slight breeze no in their favour Cuchullain’s needed a good start to the second half and when Lavery pointed an early free it was down to three between them and should have provided the platform for the Armagh side to drive on.
Carryduff had other ideas however and replied through Ronan Beatty from a close range free and when the same player was crowded out at the expense of a ‘65’ as he bore down on goal it was the talisman number 11 who directed the award between the uprights.
Tony Duffy for Cuchullain’s and Eoin Conway for Carryduff exchanged further points and a late Conlaith Lavery point just before the second water break meant that the gap between the sides remained at four points.
When play resumed Con Lavery had an opportunity to reduce the gap further from a close range free and a point would have been a good score at this stage but the big number 14 opted to go for goal and his shot was saved and cleared to safety.
Play swung immediately to the other end and Ronan Beatty looked in for a goal for the Down side but fired well wide when right through on goal. A let off for Cuchullain’s but Beatty wasn’t fazed by his miss as he pointed a free in the 23d minute as his side continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges.
Connlaith Lavery made amends for his earlier miss as he pointed another free but his side were getting no change from a strong and well organised Carryduff defence and when Michael Conway sent the sliothar between the sticks from all of 70 meters the momentum was with the Down side.
Ronan Beatty had been a constant thorn in the side of the Cuchullain’s defence and he received the sliotar about 40 meters from goal and raced through the heart of the opposition defence before placing Conor McAlister who batted to the net from close range in the 26th minute.
It was as good as over at this stage but the Armagh city side kept going to the end and were rewarded with points from Clifford, Lavery and Devlin with Beatty finishing as he had started with a couple for Carryduff to see them claim the division 3 league cup.
Carryduff: Conor McLornan, James Woods, Conor Cassidy, Ciaran Goodwin, Conal Haigney, James Lavery, Niall McArdle, Michael Conway, Eoin Conway, Gareth Lynch, Ronan Beatty, Ciaran O’Callaghan, Sean O’Callaghan, Adrian Downey, Conor McAlister. Subs:
Cuchullain’s: Adam Murtagh, Caolan McReynolds, Stephen McParland, Caolan Rice, Ciaran Duffy, Tom Marley, Ciaran Clifford, Conor Devlin, Conor Cartrill, Niall Duffy, Tony Duffy, Fionntan Oliver, Jordan Murtagh, Conlaith Lavery, Ronan Davidson. Subs:
Referee: Brendfan Toland (Lamh Dhearg)