By Kieran Lynch
THE draw for the next round of the Down Senior Football Championship threw up some interesting pairings, but there is arguably no better game than the meeting of Carryduff and Loughinisland.
The two sides were neck and neck in the Division One league, which Carryduff won after a 1-12 to 0-11 win over Kevin Duffin’s side in the penultimate round of fixtures.
Since winning the league, the luck of the draw hasn’t favoured Finnian Moriarty’s men, as they were drawn against Kilcoo in round one, and now having beaten Saul, they have drawn against the toughest possible opponents in Loughinisland.
“Loughinisland will be a tough test. I suppose it’s the tie of the round for us again,” said Moriarty.
“Look, you take whatever comes out of the hat. After Loughinisland getting beat by Burren, and us getting beat by Kilcoo, it’s a fair pairing. Whoever comes out of it, it will be a good win for them, because they will be going into the last eight with a bit of momentum built up.
“We have played them twice this year in the league and both games were extremely tight. But to be honest, I think it’s a good draw for us really, because we will see where we’re at. We’ll either end up out on our ass, or we’ll be in a decent enough spot going into the quarter-finals.
“For me, this will almost be a second ‘championship’ match between ourselves and Loughinisland, because when we played them in the second last league match, the game was played at full throttle.”
Carryduff of course had huge confidence and momentum after winning the league, but they will feel as though they didn’t do themselves justice in the first round of the championship, as they lost 1-13 to 0-10 against reigning champions Kilcoo.
“We were disappointed with our performance against Kilcoo,” said Moriarty.
“We were in the game up until just before half time but conceding 1-2 in the space of two or three minutes wouldn’t really be like us, in terms of how we have played this year.
“The goal was really sloppy. If somebody scores a cracker against you, you can sort of hold your hands up, but we have a pretty good defensive record and by our standards that was disappointing.”
However, the back door system in Down kept them alive, and after a 1-13 to 0-9 victory over Saul, Carryduff are back on their feet and hoping to make another impression.
“We possibly had a wee bit of a hangover from the Kilcoo game, and it took us a while to get going,” said Moriarty.
“There was a wee bit of anxiety which crept in; we had three goal chances in the first half that we didn’t finish. That’s where the anxiety comes in, because you can be caught.
“But once we did get going, with all due respect, the game was probably over with about 10 or 15 minutes to go.”