Bredagh 'played out of their skin' says ladies football manager Caolan Hendron
BREDAGH ladies joint-manager Caolan Hendron has heaped praise on his young charges who wrestled back the Down title from Carryduff on Saturday.
The game was a cagey affair early on, but when Anna McKee finished off a superb team move in the 19th minute, the south Belfast side led 1-5 to 0-4 and never looked back.
They led by eight at the break, and eventually won by 13 points.
“They played out of their skin to be honest,” said Hendron.
“Everyone was kind of prepping for a one point victory either way for either team, so they definitely were just exceptional. Everything went right for us on the day, it was fantastic.”
“They were defending champions, we had won it in 2016, and then they beat us last year, so there was a lot at stake.
“After the goal we kicked on. We got a couple of more points and they were, I’m pretty sure, unanswered. I don’t know did Carryduff get any scores in the last 10 or 15 minutes of the first half at all.
“We defended absolutely brilliantly, it was kind of a real mammoth effort at the back and kept them out. There was a couple of goal chances they had but again there were just girls throwing their bodies at the ball.”
Maghery man Hendron and Granemore clubman Peadar Doyle, whose daughter Anna plays for Bredagh, are in their first year in charge.
Hendron knows that the challenge now is to hopefully get a run in Ulster – they have a bye straight into the Ulster senior club semi-final next month where they will play either the Donegal champions or Cavan champions Lurgan – and to back up their Down triumph.
He is certain that the team have the credentials to give that a real lash.
“They’re great girls, and they’re a really, really young team,” he said.
“I would say the average age is probably 18 on the team. A lot of them are still playing minors – the vast majority of the squad, so they’re open to learning, and they just do whatever they’re asked.
“There are no questions asked – it’s kind of different to other clubs probably where you would have a lot of senior girls. They’re a very good group.
“The win on Saturday was a real relief. Inevitably there is a lot of pressure on girls and just the fact that it’s a final and then throw into the mix that it was Carryduff and that real intense local rivalry.
“Carryduff beat us in our last league game, in our last meeting. And I think that set us up well, the girls were very determined, they were very hungry that it wasn’t going to happen again.
“In Maghery, we won the championship in 2016, then we were back in the final in 2017 and were beaten going for two in a row.
“Two in a row is very, very hard to do. Carryduff were going for it and they were comprehensively beaten.
“It’s hard to get back there – what with the hunger levels and training and all the hours you put in to win it – it’s hard to psyche yourself for that again so it’ll be a different challenge but a nice one to have all the same.”