Carryduff Colts seniors produced the best performance of this or any other season to secure a memorable 4-3 win over a highly talented Celtic Bhoys at Lough Moss.
A good crowd turned out to watch the game and they were rewarded with great entertainment and a heart stopping finale.
This was Colts’ sixth straight win and has taken them into second place in the league table, the club’s highest ever position in senior football.
Celtic started off strongly but found the defence of Paul Murphy, Rory McDonnell, Sparky Hegney and Conor ‘King’ Cassidy in outstanding form.
Colts took the lead after just six minutes when top scorer Stevie Doherty was found at the back post after great work by Adam Shilliday on the left. He committed the defender by feigning a shot and then stroked the ball home with his other foot for his 10th goal of the season.
The Downpatrick team thought they had equalised moments later when a shot looked destined for the bottom corner but the inspirational John Mulhollland pulled off one of the saves of the season to touch it around the post.
Colts were two up after 15 minutes with a sensational move. Calum McSorley received the ball midway inside the Celtic half, laid if off for DA Brownlee whose return pass was sublime and McSorley drove the ball into the net.
Celtic had a series of free kicks around the edge of the box which were all defended brilliantly by a superb defensive performance but they got a lifeline when a shot was deflected past Mulholland to reduce arrears on 25 minutes.
But McDonnell restored the two goal lead when a terrific Brownlee free kick found the big centre half at the back post on the half hour mark and he struck a quite brilliant volley into the corner of the net.
With Fergus McBride and Kealan Devlin outstanding in the middle of the park Colts kept Celtic at bay at the beginning of the second half and the points looked to have been sealed on 65 minutes when Brownlee pounced on a loose ball in the box and placed his shot low into the left hand corner.
Calum McSorley who only arrived back from Poland earlier in the day had run his course and was replaced by the hard working Arron Waddell while Eoin McDonnell and Jack Crompton replaced Paul Murphy and Sparky Hegney who had both picked up injuries after producing terrific displays.
But the home side faced a nervous finale when Celtic pulled a goal back on 81 minutes and then clawed it back to 4-3 with five minutes remaining. Some brilliant goalkeeping by Mulholland and the brick wall of Cassidy and McDonnell were not breached again and they held out for a famous win.
This was a terrific performance of great skill, defensive resilience and bravery, exemplified by McBride who played until the end of the game despite haves suspected broken thumb from the opening minutes of the second half.
Next week the seniors get a break from league action when they travel to Ballymena for the last 32 of the Junior Shields and no-one could write them off from progressing further. If they maintain current form they could make this their best season ever at senior football.
Colts: Mulholland, Murphy (McDonnell), Hegney (Crompton), Cassidy, McDonnell, McBride, Doherty, Devlin, McSorley (Waddell), Shilliday, Brownlee.