Video highlights: Daniel Guinness sends Carryduff to Ulster U21 final
Bank of Ireland Paddy McLarnon Ulster Under 21 Club Football Tournament semi-final: Carryduff 2-12 St Brigid’s, Belfast 2-11
The opening Under 21 Club Football semi-final at Creggan provided a contender for game of the year.
Dubbed as the ‘BT9 Skinny Latte Derby’ over the PA system before the throw in, St Brigid’s and Carryduff served up a classic but in the end it was the Down champions who edged it with the minimum between them after 60 minutes of pulsating yet hugely entertaining football.
From the first whistle, this contest was played at a frenetic pace with both teams going for the jugular.
There wasn’t a blanket defence or sweeper to be seen at Páirc Chiceam with both sides playing an entertaining brand of football.
Despite St Brigid’s making all the early running and stretching into a three point lead, Josh Connery’s 10th minute goal settled the Down champions into the game.
Peter Webb excelled for St Brigid’s in the first half, scoring 0-3 in the opening 30 minutes while Ronan Beatty was clinical from placed ball for Carryduff.
In an end-to-end contest, Carryduff held a slender two-point lead at the interval with Pearce Laverty, Connery and Owen McCabe the main driving forces for their side while Patrick Finnegan, Webb and James Smith were excellent for the Antrim champions.
Carryduff started the second half on top but the pace of the game hadn’t dwindled over the interval.
It was still the same epic, gripping, flat-out football.
St Brigid’s drew level when Peter Henvey scored their first goal in the 35th minute, only for Carryduff to land their second major with the next attack. Darragh Connolly finished to the net after fine work by John McGeough in the build-up.
Carryduff looked to have the edge, maintaining at least a three-point lead before St Brigid’s scored their second goal with five minutes remaining. James Smith put the finishing touches after Paul Bradley and Peter King provided the assistance.
Moments later Carryduff had a goal disallowed for square ball, Eoin Rooney’s goal-bound effort deflected into the net by midfielder Laverty while inside the square.
It was a reprieve for St Brigid’s and when Smith fired over from distance in the 58th minute, all thoughts turned to extra time.
Carryduff had no such thoughts however with Daniel Guinness storming through the heart of the St Brigid’s defence, evading four tackles with guile and physicality before splitting the posts.
St Brigid’s pushed in the time that remained for another equaliser but Carryduff held out in a pulsating ending.
St Brigid's: John Toner; Henry McGuigan, Conor King, Daire McGarvey; John Morgan, Michael Cummings, Daniel Foster; Peter King, Patrick Finnegan (0-1); Peter Webb (0-3), John Blaney (0-1), Rory Brolly (0-2), Michael Cummings; Ethan Carleton, James Smith (1-3, 1f), Peter Henvey (1-1).
Subs: Brian McCarthy for H McGuigan (36); Brogan Austin for D Foster (43); Paul Bradley for D Connolly (49).
Carryduff: Darren Ross; Lorcan Toal, Gareth Henderson, Caolan Cunningham; John McGeogh (0-1, 1’45), Daniel Coogan, Daniel Guinness (0-1); Pearse Laverty (0-1), Josh Connery (1-1); Rory Anderson, Owen McCabe (0-1), Peter Loughran; Darragh Connolly (1-00), Ronan Beatty (0-7, 5 f’s), Ciaran Sherry.
Subs: Michael Lawson for C Sherry (40); Eoin Rooney for D Connolly (53)
Referee: Martin Conroy (Moy, Tyrone)