GAA Football

Warrenpoint face Downpatrick in Down SFC eye-catcher

Ryan Mallon had a huge impact off the bench in Warrenpoint’s win over Bryansford last week and will be hoping to start today’s round 2A clash against RGU Downpatrick
By Sean Mahoney

WHEN the draw was made you'd be forgiven for thinking someone spilled their alphabet spaghetti with CPN taking on RGU but regardless, today's clash is sure to be a tasty encounter.

Cumman Pheadair Niofa (Warrenpoint) manager Niall McAlinden is expecting a titanic battle against Downpatrick RGU in today's round 2A game in Castlewellan (3pm).

Warrenpoint raised a few eyebrows by beating Bryansford (0-13 to 0-8) in the opening round but manager McAleenan feels his side must raise their game if they are to get past Downpatrick, who rattled 4-14 against An Riocht.

Downpatrick RGU have performed well in Division One of the Down League this season and have even beaten Burren twice and with the Turley brothers – Damian and Peter – in excellent form Warrenpoint have a tough task ahead.

“We know it will be a very physical test, they are a strong team with a lot of pace and they racked up a massive score against the Kingdom last week,” said McAleenan.

“We are under no illusions that unless we bring a big performance to the game then it is going to be very difficult for us.

“We are pushing to try to get into the quarter-finals through the front door as if we were to lose then we could be meeting the likes of Bryansford again, or Kilcoo, Ballyholland, Burren, Mayobridge or Clonduff. So we will be doing our utmost to win the game on Saturday and we will have to play well to do that.”

They have been touted as the dark horses of the Championship and while there is no doubt CPN are an up and coming team, the win over Bryansford has meant they are being mentioned among the contenders.

But for McAleenan he is only one game away from achieving his target.

“Our plan at the start of the year was to get safe in the League and get to the quarter-final of the Championship and we are one step away from that,” said McAleenan.

“The team is very young and we are playing at the minute without two of our better defenders – Ryan McAleenan (cruciate) and Cormac McCartan (long-term hamstring) – so our only ambition is to win against Downpatrick.

“But we are aware that in terms of the championship pecking order that we would be well down it.”

CPN will need Ciaran McCartan, Ross McGarry, Donal McAleenan and the Boyle brothers – Ryan and John – to be in top form to stay in this game and no doubt the introduction of Ryan Mallon will be used to try and hammer home their authority.

The action then moves to Pairc Esler from 5pm, when Castlewellan take on Saval in another round 2A game.

Anything other than a Town win will be a surprise but if Pat Havern, Keelan Rice and big Niall Madine have their shooting boots on they may cause the Castlewellan defence some problems.

This will be followed at 6.30pm by the knockout clash (round 2B) between last year's finalists Clonduff and Longstone.

Clonduff are favourites to come through today as had they taken even half their goal chances then they would have beaten Kilcoo last Sunday.

Longstone found the going too tough against a free-flowing Mayobridge in the last round but they will fancy their chances against the Yellas tonight, in what should be an entertaining battle.

LAST year's intermediate champions Bredagh progressed to the next round of the Down SFC with a hard-hitting win over Ballymartin in Newcastle last night writes Sean Mahoney.

The Cherryvale men led Frank Dawson's side 0-5 to 0-2 at the break. The Whites found it difficult to pick up scores due to a strong Newcastle wind, while Bredagh fared slightly better.

With scores at a premium, Ballymartin's Ciaran O'Hare and Bredagh's dual star Donal Hughes traded points in the opening 10 minutes. The Belfast side should have bagged a goal but Benny Hasson blazed over from close range.

Brian Rice (free) and Brendan Gallan extended Bredagh's lead but Ballymartin's Noel Kerr had his head in his hands as his shot went over instead of under the crossbar.

Micheal Magee gave Bredagh some breathing space as they finished the half with a

three-point lead.

Ballymartin missed a glorious chance to level the score in the opening minute of the restart when Cathal Doyle crashed his penalty off the crossbar.

The sides were level on 42 minutes as Ross Cunningham, Ryan McCullagh and Cathal Doyle rattled over points in succession for the Whites.

Gallan and Pete Fitzpatrick traded points as the sides couldn't be separated going into the last quarter.

Jody Gormley's side kicked three wides in a row before Ballymartin's Ryan O'Hare put his side ahead only for Bredagh's Donal Hughes to kick two massive points to regain the lead.

Ryan O'Hare had a chance to level but kicked his free wide.

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