GAA Football

Stakes high in city derby as Bredagh battle it out with Carryduff

Down's Conor Francis and Mayo's Conor Loftus and Fergal Boland in action during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 2 between Down and Mayo in Pairc Esler on Saturday June 22 2019. Picture by Philip Walsh.

Bredagh v Carryduff (tonight, Laitroim, 7.30pm)

THE much-awaited Belfast derby between Carryduff and Bredagh takes place in the natural wilderness of Laitroim this evening and it’s hard to see a clear-cut winner.

Carryduff were runaway winners (5-8 to 0-9) when the sides last met but that was back in early April and a lot of ball has been kicked since.

Carryduff put Castlewellan to the sword in round one, a match in which county man James Guinness was outstanding.

He’ll be key to the ’Duff again tonight. Carryduff top Division Two of the Down ACFL and players such as Sean McGonigle, Connor Cassidy and Gareth Henderson have been pivotal in getting them there.

There is, as yet, no confirmation as to whether Daniel Guinness will feature after a spell in the USA, but if he does return, his presence could be the difference.

Another county panellist, Owen McCabe, will also be itching to start after missing a lot of football due to the broken jaw he sustained while on county duty against Mayo.

Bredagh are a massive club and will not want to lose this derby.

They sit two places behind promotion favourites Carryduff in Division Two. Conor Francis Joe Shields and Cormac O’Rawe are fine footballers and sharp in front of the posts and if these three players can click then Bredagh will be very competitive.

Either way, a place in the quarter-final awaits the winner, while the loser will have another chance.

Castlewellan v Burren (tonight, Clonduff, 8pm)

BURREN will be still reeling from their last-gasp extra-time defeat to Mayobridge the weekend before last and won’t want to be caught again by Castlewellan tonight.

‘The Town’, though, seem to be in turmoil going by recent results, and face the real prospect of relegation from Division One.

It took Burren, and indeed Mayobridge, about 40 minutes to reach anywhere near championship pace in that epic round one encounter, but they will want to hit the ground running tonight.

Donal O’Hare remains the chief attacking architect for the holders and some of his 10 converted frees at Pairc Esler were breathtaking.

Although Steven Fegan is still ruled out through injury, Paddy O’Rourke will expect more from many of his star players.

Young Liam Kerr is likely to enjoy a bit more freedom than Mayobridge’s Shane Annett afforded him, while Kevin McKernan, captain Cathal Foy, Ryan Treanor and Paudi Poland are expected to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Castlewellan fell to Carryduff in round one and are currently bottom of Division One.

They will need to get the best out of Sean Dornan; county keeper but club midfielder, Rory Burns; David Gilmore; Kevin Duffin and Daniel Morgan if they are to have any chance of challenging this evening.

They will need to lift their game considerably and, even if it’s not enough, show some battle for the relegation dogfight which lies ahead of them.

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