Brave Colts narrowly miss out on semi final slot
League champions Mourne Rovers were pushed all the way in this tie by a Colts performance that was full of quality and deserved a semi-final place.
The Colts dominated the first half, created most of the chances and had Rovers so concerned that they changed their formation a couple of times to try to counter the threat they faced.
And it was a controversial goal that decided the game when the ball appeared to go out from a corner but was headed back across the goal and somehow found its way into the visitors net.
It was rough justice but this was a display that should give Carryduff real heart for the rest of the season.
Rovers thundered into some early challenges, one left Ryan McGarry doubled over in pain for a few minutes, but his attitude epitomised the whole team as he got back on his feet and went to play superbly well. Colts players stood up to this early buffeting and started top play some great football with James Erne’s pace in particular causing all sorts of problems for the home defence, with Paul Maguire and McGarry providing the support.
The Colts central midfield trio of Chris Curran, Michael Deeny and Fergus McBride took control of the game to the extent that Rovers players were arguing among themselves.
The best chance of the first half came when Erne broke down the right and left the defence for dead and pulled his cross back from McBride to fire his drive against the upright. Midway through the half, Erne did the same again and this time Curran just failed to get on the end of the cross that was driven across the face of the goal.
Colts back four of Rory McDonnell, Stevie Doherty, Paul Murphy and man of the match Joe Sweeney didn’t give an inch and on the rare occasion they broke through found Chris Overend to be in top form, with a couple of outstanding saves.
Unfortunately Carryduff lost danger man Erne at the start of the second half with an ankle injury but Jordy Toal came on and provided a different type of threat winning numerous aerial challenges and putting himself about.
Mourne scored their only goal midway through the second half but Colts had them pinned back for the last 15 minutes and Rovers used every opportunity they could to run the clock down, such was their concern.
There was good performances also from debutant Kealan Devlin, formerly of Rosario, and Conor O’Toole who played really well when he came on to slot in at centre back to allow Stevie Doherty to push on up top.
The Rovers coach commented after the game that he had been really impressed with how far Colts had come on since last season – all that was lacking was a cutting edge but that will come if they keep performing to this level.
Colts: Overend, Sweeney, Murphy, McDonnell, Doherty, Deeny, McGarry (Devlin), McBride, Erne (J Toal),Curran, Maguire (O’Toole)