RAPHOE GOT THEIR FIRST win of the season on Saturday with a fine Kirk Cup triumph over North Down at Comber.
North Down 1-3 Raphoe
Successive 3-2 losses against Belfast Harlequins and Mossley saw them endure a frustrating start to the campaign but goals by Alexander Tinney, George Patterson and Paul Stewart gave the Donegal side the win they craved.
Raphoe started the game well and put pressure on the North Down defence from the first whistle and within five minutes they had their first short corner but Matthew Lecky’s effort was well saved.
Not long after Raphoe took the lead from their second short corner – this time Lecky’s effort from the top of he circle was saved by the keeper but Tinney was on hand to tuck the rebound into the bottom corner.
Raphoe kept the pressure on after this but when one of North Down’s players got injured following a collision with one of his own players they seemed to take the foot off the gas and North Down equalised when Gareth Bailie ran unnoticed in around the back of Raphoe’s defence and deflected Andy McGimpsey’s cross into the net.
Having scored this goal it was North Down’s turn to apply some pressure and Raphoe started to get very sloppy with their passing and tackling and their discipline also slipped as William Kilpatrick and Paul Stewart were both sin-binned in a ten minute period.
With ten minutes left in the half Raphoe regained their lead.
An aerial ball over the top from Ben Wallace was picked up by Stephen Cleverley and, when his shot was half cleared by the ‘keeper, Patterson plucked the ball out of the air and slammed it past the keeper from a tight angle.
Two minutes later Raphoe scored again. When the ball was quickly cleared from the back, Stewart got a lucky ricochet off a North Down defender and from here he played a neat one-two with Luke Witherow to get past the last North Down defender.
When the ‘keeper came out Witherow returned the pass to Stewart who took his time and tapped the ball into an empty goal to leave the half time score 3-1 to Raphoe.
Raphoe should have gone further in front when a ball from the back found Alan Lyttle deep in North Down territory he was able to pick out Kilpatrick on the top of the opposition circle but with acres of space and time he managed to pull the ball wide of the left hand post.
North Down had a couple of half chances during the half but Johnny Rankin had his back four well organised to deal with everything that came their way.
Ben Wallace and Matthew Lecky cleared the danger at the back with aerial balls and this allowed Raphoe create several good chances to increase their lead as the half wore on but they couldn’t find the killer pass to kill the game off.
Going into the final few minutes with North Down pushing hard to get a goal back Keith Meehan was sin-binned for not retreating the required five metres from a free and Luke Witherow was also sin-binned for deliberately breaking down play.
North Down couldn’t break through Raphoe’s stubborn defence and the final score was 3-1 to Raphoe. Best for Raphoe was George Patterson.
Next week Raphoe play their final Kirk Cup group game against Kilkeel at the Royal School Grounds. Push back for this match is 2.30pm.
Raphoe: Johnny Rankin, Matthew Lecky, Simon Goudie, Alan Meehan, Alexander Tinney, William Kilpatrick, George Patterson, Ben Wallace, Keith Meehan, Alan Lyttle, Luke Witherow, Paul Stewart, Stephen Cleverley, Ian McGonigle.Tags: