A virtuoso performance from Colts first team secured a memorable 4-0 win over title rivals Newcastle Swifts – sending out a strong message that this is a team determined to win its first ever senior Premier League title.
Concert violinist Fergus McBride and his midfield partner Kealan Devlin were in perfect harmony as they pulled the strings in the middle of the park but all 14 players were pitch perfect as Colts exacted revenge on the only team to have beaten them this season in the league.
Newcastle Swifts started off brightly and looked to carry a real threat with two huge strikers through the middle but the outstanding central defence pairing Conor Cassidy and Rory McDonnell got the measure of them after about 10 minutes and the high flying Mourne men hardly managed a shot on target in the whole game.
Odhran Devlin made his debut in goal and while he didn’t have a serious save to make, his speed off the line and distribution made a significant contribution to this famous win.
After an even start, Carryduff took the lead with a goal that is probably goal of the season even with four months still to go. Kealan Devlin launched a long diagonal ball and it was met by maestro McBride with a brilliant left foot volley into the net off the far post.
Cue the violin playing celebration!
Darragh Brownlee doesn’t take kindly to playing second fiddle to anyone in the goal scoring department and he added a second after 22 minutes. Again, conductor McBride was involved finding the wee man on the edge of the box, he stepped inside the defender and fired an unstoppable curling shot into the net. Not to be outdone,he added another string to his bow with the same celebration as McBride.
And it was scarcely believable given the quality of the opposition that Colts scored a third with half an hour barely gone. Again McBride was the composer as he found top scorer Stevie Doherty who finished brilliantly, firing low into the corner, meaning he has scored in each of his last seven games.
Newcastle had destroyed Colts on the wings earlier in the season but the two Pauls, Maguire and Murphy, were outstanding to the point that the wingers kept swapping positions only to find the opponent on the other wing was even tougher!
Stevie Doherty on the left absolutely tortured the right back, who didn’t know if he as going to the by-line or cutting inside, leaving the poor guy with twisted blood. On the other flank, Calum McSorley won every header and ran his marker into the ground with a tireless display of skill and determination.
Colts also gave a full debut to Sean Irwin up top and his physical presence was disconcerting to the Newcastle defence.
The visitors tried to step it up in the second half but Colts defence was totally on top and they gave nothing away, and had several chances at the other end before Stevie Doherty sealed the points with another great finish for his 12th of the season.
Arron Waddell, Nico McDaid and Michael Deeny all came on and played their part to ensure victory.
Although Ballyvea are five points clear, Colts still have to play them and other title contenders Annalong twice, so this league really is in their own hands. This latest performance showed they are finely tuned just now and capable of hitting the high notes in the games ahead.
Colts O.Devlin, Murphy, Maguire, McDonnell, Cassidy, McBride, McSorley (Deeny) K.Devlin, Irwin (Waddell) Doherty, Brownlee (McDaid)