Match ReportsMens

Mens first eleven ease into Irish Trophy semi final

North Down had a comfortable 6-1 victory over Newry in the quarter final of the Irish Trophy at Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday.

North Down opened at a fast pace putting the Newry defence under pressure. Jonny Linter played an overhead to Gareth McKeown but poor control allowed the ball to go over the byline. Ross Blair and Gareth Bailie combined but Bailie’s effort was saved. Moments later. Andy Boyd played a great ball into the circle and Bailie got an important touch to put the home side 1-0 ahead. At the other end Boyd made a great tackle to keep the Newry forwards out but North Down were playing nice one touch hockey and Blair set up Josh Gilmore only for his shot to be saved. Young Matty Bruce then won a penalty corner but the effort went wide and still pressing forward Ross Linter found Mark Shannon with a great pass but the Saturday Results Show presenter’s effort went wide. Just before the quarter break Connor Tweedie won a corner which Gilmore slotted home to put North Down 2-0 ahead.

In the second quarter Newry came more into the game. A dangerous cross was cleared by Wilson before Bruce, McKeown, Orr and Bailie combined but the keeper made a fine save from Bailie. At the other end Darren Rodgers made a fine block but a stick tackle from the clearance gave Newry a short corner from which Jordan linter was unlucky to see his attempted clearance come off his leg giving Newry a penalty which was expertly converted to bring the visitors back into the game at 2-1. More Newry pressure led to Rodgers clearing the danger from yet another corner. With minutes to go in the half, a good passing movement involving Gilmore and Scott Moore set up a chance for Blair and he expertly slotted the ball into the net to restore North Down’s two goal cushion.

During the break, Coach Paul Ritchie demanded more from the team and they duly responded. Jamie Orr received a pass from Ross Linter but his effort was wide and then Newry won a corner but the shot was blocked and cleared. With the home defence disorganised, Newry took a quick free but their effort on goal was wide. North Down slowly regained control again and a quick passing movement saw Gilmore shoot wide but he made amends when he then set up Shannon who made no mistake from mid circle to make it 4-1. A strong run by Connor Tweedie created a corner where Orr was on hand to slot the rebound home. North Down were now well on top and, when they won a free, Bailie’s shot was deflected home by Orr for his second goal putting the result out of doubt at 6-1.

The highlight of the final quarter was Shannon’s air shot and dive which left him on his face. He picked himself up and blasted Gilmore’s pass wide. Just before the end Tweedie won a corner and McKeown’s effort just evaded Boyd at the back post.

This was a comfortable victory which pleased coach Ritchie who took the opportunity to try players in different positions.

Burch Autos Man of the Match was Connor Tweedie

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