RGU Hit Form As Warrenpoint Falter

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Downpatrick RGU 1-14  Warrenpoint 2-09 THE RGU Seniors kept their promotion hopes alive in a nail-biting encounter against  Warrenpoint on Sunday afternoon (2nd October) at Pairc Tomas Ruiseil (writes Michael Starkey). With the opposition involved in a relegation dog-fight there was to be no room for complacency, and the Warrenpoint men signalled their intent when they fired over a point from play in the opening seconds of the game. This was immediately cancelled out with a well taken point by Jarlath Brannigan. Warrenpoint controlled the next 8 minutes of the half leading by 4 points to 2, all subsequent scores coming from frees. [caption id="attachment_30220" align="alignleft" width="281" caption="Gerard Collins gets the ball under control for the RGU against Warrenpoint."][/caption] The Points’  Ross McGarry played an excellent game up front harassing the RGU defence. But the Hoops then consolidated and started to gain momentum and after pointing two more frees, one from an almost impossible angle from Peter Telford, the Hoops drew level. In the 22nd minute Warrenpoint scored another free to retake the lead  but a great point from Garrett Trainor who burst through the defence after a perfect ball from Sean Bell levelled the scores at 0-5 to 0-5 with 8 minutes remaining in the first half. One minute later a defensive error handed the lead back to Warrenpoint with an easily fisted point. This was to be their last score of the half, but the now rampant Hoops were far from finished. Four points in the final 4 minutes of the half saw the RGU men takes a 3 point lead into the break. Two of these were frees converted by Jarlaith Brannigan. The other two were made by Andrew Telford and finished off by Kevin Gracey and Sean Bell. The whistle came at a time when the Hoops were in full control, and the half-time score was 0-9 to 0-6 in favour of the RGU. The second half seemed to follow the same pattern as the first. Warrenpoint were the stronger and the Hoops were unable to regain the impetus they had built up in the first half. Warrenpoint put over 2 points from play to get to within a point, and it was not until the 10th minute of the half that the Hoops got their first score by virtue of a free from Jarlath Brannigan. Two minutes later he converted another and restored the 3 point advantage. Warrenpoint responded immediately with a well taken free from 35 metres, and then in the 15th minuted they opened up the Hoop’s defence and hammered the ball into the back of the net. If this wasn’t bad enough, the next score was also a Warrenpoint goal, this time in the 18th minute after carving up the Hoop’s defence with the same ease as previously. [caption id="attachment_30221" align="alignright" width="292" caption="Garrett Trainor in action for the RGU against Warrenpoint"][/caption] The Hoops were now in trouble and trailed by 4 points with 12 minutes remaining. Jarlaith Brannigan brought the Hoops to within one kick of the opposition when he put over a 45 in the 22nd minute, but the game had now become very scrappy and all the fast flowing play from the end of the first half seemed light years away. Three wides in the next 4 minutes gave the supporters nothing to be optimistic about, and no-one could have foreseen that their fortunes were about to change. Then the RGU found the inspiration they needed.  Up popped Ryan Slavin in the 28th minute, seemingly out of nowhere, to kick the ball soccer style into the corner of the Warrenpoint net from a scramble in front  of the goal. This was greeted with a tremendous roar by the local supporters and levelled the scores once again. A strong finish from the Hoops saw Jarlaith Brannigan score another free from 35 metres, and Kevin Gracey kick over a humungous free from 40 metres to seal a 2 point win. The final score seconds later was 1-14 to 2- 9. This was one of the most exciting finishes by a Hoops team in a long time, and the win was well earned. A total of 10 wides could have been their undoing, but resilience and determination reigned supreme. All eyes will now be on next week’s do-or-die encounter against local rivals Loughinisland, when a win or even draw will take the RGU to the play-offs for a place in Division 1. RGU Scorers: J Brannigan 0-8, R Slavin 1-1, K Gracey 0-2, and S Bell, G Trainor, and P Telford all scored a point each.]]>

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