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Castlewellan against Clonduff looks too close to call

Aidan Carr is crucial to the Castlewellan cause
Sean Mahoney

THE quarter-finals of the Morgan Fuels Down SFC get underway on Friday at Pairc Esler (7pm), with an intriguing opener between Ross Carr’s Clonduff and John ‘Shorty’ Treanor’s Castlewellan.

Both sides have impressed this season, with Castlewellan playing a slick energetic system, where ‘the Town’ like to hold possession in their own half before bursting with pace and punching holes in their opponents’ defence. Clonduff have proved they can mix it too, as they displayed against Ballyholland when they sat back and defended for 45 minutes and then took the direct route to win convincingly. Against Mayobridge, they were confident enough to go to-to-toe and were deserving victors.

Barry O’Hagan has been one of the bright sparks of Down football this season. He excites when in possession and his speed and unpredictability makes him a nightmare for defenders. Stephen McConville is another forward Castlewellan will want to watch, while Arthur McConville has delivered for Clonduff each time he has come off the bench this championship.

Aidan Carr and Niall Tumilty are the heartbeat of ‘the ‘Yellas’, while Castlewellan have talent throughout their squad. Sean Dornan has started from the bench for much of the championship, which is a relief for most defenders. Rory Burns hasn’t been as impressive in attack as he was last season, but Cahal Crilly, David Gilmore and Daniel Morgan have been sharp in front of the posts.

There shouldn’t be much between the teams. Castlewellan may have that little bit more class, but it is the team with the most conviction on show who should prevail.

In the second game of the double-header, between Bryansford and Downpatrick (8.30pm), anything other than a Bryansford victory would be a major upset. Downpatrick will be happy to go into the game under the radar and they have proven to be a dogged side.

But Bryansford possess too much quality to be caught by RGU. The agile Danny Savage has been in devastating form this season and is likely to be in Down boss Eamonn Burns’ plans for next season. Ruairi Wells and Paddy Sheridan have impressed when starting or introduced from the bench this year and Bryansford should win with quite a bit to spare.

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