Town vs Ford RFL

November 8, 2018

As expected from an encounter between local rivals this was a hard fought but sporting game which saw Bryansford run out as victors. A two point gap separated the teams at the break with the Ford leading 0.07 to 0.05. Play switched from end-to-end like the rise and fall of the tide. Martin Mc Kibben and Niall Mc Ardle were on target for the Town while Gerard Smyth (0.02), Stephen Mc Kibben (0.02), John-Paul Brannigan, Edward Murray and Martin Duggan found the mark for Bryansford.
Late into the first half, Bryansford’s claim for a penalty, which appeared valid, was waved away and this nearly cost them the game.
On resumption the Town took the initiative and although Ryan Brannigan clipped over two points for the Ford the home-side looked a bit wobbly in defence. Mc Kibben pulled back a point. Seconds later a Paddy Hardy punt was fisted back across goal by Niall Mc Ardle, who looked to celebrate. Ford keeper, Paddy Baker had other ideas and an unbelievable full length dive across his goal saw him edge the ball to safety with the tips of his fingers. Even the Castlewellan support acclaimed Baker’s wonder save. Mc Ardle then had another chance to find the net within two minutes. This time in attempting to by-pass Baker, the shot hit the inside of the upright and rebounded back across goal to Rory Brannigan, who cleared. Bryansford it seemed had got out of gaol but it wasn’t to be for long.
The excitement was intense with only five minutes of the second half played. Within two minutes, the Town’s Fergal Mc Laughlin pounced on an attempted clearance by Rory Brannigan, that had been blocked down by Hardy. The net bulged and the Ford goal had been breached. Bryansford it appeared had begun to capitulate as the scores against them began to accumulate. Having now taken the lead, 1.07 to 0.09 the Town pressed on and three more points were accrued by Mc Ardle (2) and Audie Mc Veigh before the forty-fifth minute. With just a quarter of the game remaining, and the domination of the Town, one may have thought that the game was over but this wasn’t to be.
Shay Flanagan, was soon to earn his corn in the Town’s goal. Bryansford’s, Marty Duggan burst through the opposition defence and his shot was parried away brilliantly by Flanagan. The ball was played to the other end of the pitch were it was fired wide. Baker’s kickout found Johnny Cunningham who set off towards the Town posts. A flick right found J.J. Brannigan in support and Brannigan’s pass took out two defenders as Cunningham continued his run. Decky Allister blazed a trail in front of Cunningham who fisted the ball into the path of the part-time fireman. Flannagan in the Town goal left his line to cover but Allister slid the ball low passed the keeper’s left hand. Bryansford were now on fire! Four points were to follow from J.J. Brannigan, Smyth and Mc Kibben (2) and though the Town continued the challenge the match was Bryansford’s.

It was a shame the final whistle had to sound because this was a great game of open football, with both sides determined to play in a sporting manner. Bryansford won on the day but no-one was sure which way it would end, right up to the final few minutes.