Rathfriland Rangers Suffer Defeat To Derriaghy CC FC
Border Regiment Cup Final.
Tuesday 28th December 2021.
Venue: Seaview, Belfast.
Final Score: Rathfriland Rangers 0 Derriaghy CC 1.
The long-awaited Border Regiment at Seaview began with a quick foray from Derriaghy with Rathfriland fighting back and Mathew Holloway getting an early header chance for Rathfriland writes Jim Masson.
Immediately Derriaghy were back at the Rathfriland goal and Jordan Baker launched a shot but keeper Brian McMullan pushed it out and Nathan Best hit again deflecting off the keeper for a corner.
The opening gambits heralded the competitive game that lay ahead with both closely matched team giving their all.
Derriaghy began to get a grip of the game and pushed forward with a number of swift attacks but Rathfriland were still dangerous… Jack Smith launched a shot at the Derriaghy goal but defender Curtis Brown just managed to block it.
Minutes later Derriaghy’s Jordan Baker broke through the Rathfriland defence and volleyed on target but McMullan was in the way to block it.
Then Rathfriland bounced back and when Jonathan Scannell was taken down 40 yards from the Derriaghy goal, the free kick launched at inside the post was again blocked by a defender. And Rathfriland pressing back won another free kick when Matthew Holloway was taken down near the box. The shot by Fitzpatrick hit the wall of defenders, and right away Derriaghy were up the pitch attacking the Rathfriland goal again on a quick break.
After 30 minutes play the match was on a knife-edge. Both teams were creating chances, and both were waiting to open the scoring. But it was Derriaghy who finally got onto the scoresheet. After another quick break on 35 minutes, Ethan Taggart got possession in the Rathfriland box and slotted the ball past keeper McMullan.
Rathfriland unleashed a number of attacks to redress the balance and the best opportunity came when Holloway on the left crossed to the head of Adam Neale but it was just inches too high to nod the ball into the Derriaghy net.
The first half ended with Derriaghy breaking at the Rathfriland goal once again, giving their opponents little room to manouevre.
The second half was a fairly one-sided affair as Rathfriland relentlessly pulled out all the stops to get back into the game. Rathfriland were playing well, holding possession, and enjoyed several solid attacks at the Derriaghy goal.
There were a few attacks by Derriaghy but they played mostly defensive in the second half keeping Rathfriland at bay. Ryan Leetch did manage an excellent volley from the edge of the box but keeper McMullan got the ball under control.
Rathfriland made several more constructive attempts at the Derriaghy goal, one notable one being a long solo run by Fitzpatrick from the half way line and on arriving at the box crossed to Neale who shot just wide of the post.
Despite Rathfriland’s best efforts, they had done everything they could… except score. As the fast-paced game wore on, players started to cramp up, and some were suffering from the physical tackles. As the game got into the final period, Rathfriland certainly were showing more urgency and looked fitter.
Kelly unleashed a volley at the Derriaghy goal to be denied the equaliser once again. And Brian Johnston also took a pot at the Derriaghy net but keeper Craughwell smothered the ball safely.
Rathfriland in the last 15 minutes went into overdrive throwing everything they had into the match to survive, and Neale, Holloway, Fitzpatrick and Scannell were working hard pushing forward.
Derriaghy were doing all they could to hold on to the final whistle from referee Mark Domican.
When an extra five minutes of injury time was added on, it must have seemed like an eternity for Derriaghy manager Ally Wilson as he counted the seconds. Rathfriland showed their fitness and battled to the end in this very entertaining final.
Rathfriland Rangers: 1 Brian McMullan. 17 Brian Johnston. 3 Robert Graham. 12 Jordan Hayes. 5 Johneen Black. 8 Andy Kilmartin. 7 Ruari Fitzpatrick. 11 Matthew Holloway. 6 Rhys Kelly. 15 Jesse Carson. 10 Adam Neale. Subs: Sam McAllister. Marty Havern. Harry Campbell.
Derriaghy CC: 1 Jason Craughwell. 10 Jack Smith. 3 Curtis Brown. 2 Gareth Henderson. 4 Jordan Malone. 12 Ryan Leetch. 11 Nicky Napier. 5 Ross Harland. 8 Ethan Taggart. 6 Andy Foster. 7 Nathan Best. Subs: 16 Nick Beta. 9 Jordan Baker. 14 Chrissy Patterson.