RAPHOE LET a two-goal lead slip as the Donegal side went down to South Antrim in the Kirk Cup on Saturday afternoon.
Raphoe 2 South Antrim 4
Second half indiscipline undid a lot of good first half work in a Jekyll and Hyde performance for the Raphoe side.
Raphoe withstood some early South Antrim pressure to build a two-nil lead at quarter time. David Moore in the home net repelled a drag flick from the Lisburn side a couple of minutes before Raphoe took the lead from a counterattack.
In the 12th minute, from a South Antrim sideline ball, Raphoe right back, Tom Eaton, stepped ahead of the South Antrim attacker to intercept at the halfway line, setting Raphoe on the counter.
Eaton hastily made ground before passing to Lee Stewart in a central position. Stewart mis-controlled the pass but critically kept possession before making his way into the South Antrim ‘25’.
A terrific spin and lay off from Stewart set Gavin Lecky free on the edge of the ‘D’ with the South Antrim defence stretched. Lecky fired a slap hit shot across goal that nestled just inside the post.
South Antrim had a spell of possession after that until the second Raphoe goal came. South did not heed the earlier counterattack warning with Tommy Orr’s pace constantly challenging the Antrim sides defence.
Orr found space inside the ‘D’ to receive a pass and to play a disguised pass to the back post, when most thought he would shoot himself. George Patterson had the simple task of finishing into an empty net as the keeper was drawn to Orr.
In the second quarter Lecky started the train of indiscipline with a green card, two minute suspension, after fouling when hassling a defender.
South Antrim capitalised on having an extra man from their second penalty corner. Scoring from a low right hand side deflection in the 22nd minute. Raphoe saw out the rest of the half despite playing with 10 men following a yellow card.
The Donegal men managed the game through keeping possession with Ian McGonigle, Evan Lyttle, Lee Stewart and Gavin Lecky prominent during this phase.
Unfortunately, Raphoe did not learn the lesson in the second half. A second yellow card left Keith Meehan standing on the sideline for five minutes.
During this time South Antrim scored the equaliser from a penalty corner, with Meehan missing from the defence, a drag flick went through Lecky on the line on the 39th minute.
Before Raphoe could get the full complement of players back on the pitch David Moore in the Raphoe net mistimed a tackle on the breaking South Antrim attacker resulting in a five-minute yellow card and a penalty stroke.
With no substitute keeper on the bench Gavin Lecky faced the stroke without the keeper protection. Stepping early to his left Lecky brilliantly saved the stroke with his stick keeping the game all square. That was the last positive Raphoe could take from the game as the match passed the halfway mark of the third quarter.
Raphoe could not hold out the remaining minutes without having a goalkeeper, unable to defend a penalty corner.
The game got away from Raphoe in the final quarter once South scored a fourth penalty corner with a carbon copy of their first goal from a deflection. Further sin bins from cards left Raphoe unable to test the South Antrim defence.
The final result leaving a bitter taste after a positive start.
Raphoe: D. Moore, Z. West, T. Eaton, E. Lyttle, I. McGonigle, A. Meehan, G. Patterson, A. Crumley, G. Lecky, L. Stewart, K. Meehan, J. Long, J. Wilson, T. Orr.Tags: