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Abbey Rangers U16s Battle to Earn a Draw

posted 24 Mar 2019, 02:24 by Louise Fitzgerald
KWETB U16 Division 4  Round 4 (23/03/19)Venue: Ballykelly Abbey Rangers v Confey 

Our under 16’s put in a hard shift today to earn a draw with table toppers Confey in Ballykelly. We had the perfect start when Dara Byrne knocked over an early point before Oisin Irvin placed a looping shot over the Confey defence and into the top corner of the net.

With our lads playing superb attacking football Confey were very much on the back foot and a second goal soon followed. After Joe Broughall and Ciaran Byrne had worked the ball out of defence Joe Walsh sent a low shot to the bottom corner of the net to put us 2.1 to nil ahead as we reached the mid point of the half.

We were then dealt a blow when Cole Grattan went off injured and, with only 15 players available on the day, we were now down to 14 men. Confey then took control and kicked 1.2 over the next few minutes and we went in 2.1 to 1.2 up at half time.

Then second half started with an opening ten minute stalemate as both sides battled to get control of the game and it took some tough defending from Thomas Browne and Cormac Finnegan to keep Confey out. They eventually broke us down with a goal and a point to go two points ahead but John Kelly burst forward to score an inspirational point to leave the minimum between the sides again. Two Confey points came one either side of a Dara Byrne free as we entered the final minute with Confey two points infront.

As we went in search of a goal Russell Grattan played a long ball to Jack Curran as we crowded the Confey goalmouth. Confey attempted to clear but Rory McGrath gained possession and put his shot past three diving defenders and into the net for a goal that put us a point up.

In the second minute of injury time the visitors won a free that levelled the game but we had one more play to try to win it. A free from out near the sideline dropped into the Confey goalmouth but as the ball dropped the referee blew full time with the final score reading Abbey Rangers 3.3 Confey 2.6.

Considering we were a man down for three quarters of the game and had two players struggling with injuries in the final ten minutes, it was a remarkable achievement for our lads to draw this game. They showed great spirit and determination where other teams might have thrown in the towel and deserve great credit for a gutsy display.

Our next League game is at home to Ellistown next Saturday.

Abbey Rangers

Sean Fitzgerald, John Kelly, Thomas Browne, Joe Broughall, Cole Grattan, Ciaran Byrne, Danny Holohan, Russell Grattan, Daragh Byrne, Oisin Irvine, Joe Walsh, Cormac Finnegan, Stephen Whyte, Jack Curran, Rory McGrath.

Report by Declan McGrath