North Down entertained Leinster high fliers Dublin YMCA in the first round of the Irish Cup on Saturday. The Dublin side were unbeaten in the Premier League and to date had not conceded a goal. With skipper Tom Donnan, Chris Speers and Mark Linter late cry offs North Down knew that they would be up against it and coach Aaron Mills added himself to the squad in an effort to provide some alternatives.
The Dublin side started on the attack and North Down were slow to settle. They conceded early on when YM converted a penalty corner then poor tackling allowed a forward a clear run on goal and he gave McBride no chance. North Down slowly got their game together and the hard working Bailie and Dalzell were causing problems for the visitors defence. YM scored their third when McBride was beaten at his near post with a strong shot from a narrow angle. The game was now more of a contest with play swinging from end to end. On the stroke of half time YM added their fourth after the ball had needlessly been given away.
The second period was a much more even affair and it was North Down who reduced the arrears after the YM keeper had been sinbinned for consistent verbal abuse and Shepherd scored from a penalty corner. Luck was on YM’s side when a harmless cross seemed to be deflected into the net by a home defender. At the other end Bailie was upended by the keeper and the same player scored the resultant penalty flick. McBride in the home goal saved well from two penalty corners and Jordan Linter did well to take a shot off the line.
Bailie who never stopped running for the whole game pulled another one back for North Down when he scored with a reverse shot from mid circle and he then had a call for another flick when he appeared to be taken out by the keeper but the umpire awarded a hit out. YM completed the scoring with minutes to go when the home defence was caught out of position.
Dublin YMCA were the better side and deserved to win but the 6-3 scoreline slightly flattered them. The depleted North Down side can be proud of their effort and look forward to this week’s visit of Mossley in the Premier League.
Report by Ribbon Mitchell