Monday 1st April 2019
Sunday 31st March 2019
BOI Celtic Challenge group H, R1 – Dunsilly, Antrim
Down 6-18 Antrim 0-8
Caldwell on fire against Antrim
Down U17s Celtic Challenge team travelled to Dunsilly on Sunday 31 March to play Antrim in the first round of the competition. It was a perfect day for hurling and a perfect display by Down. Francis Caldwell proved to be far too much for Antrim chalking up 5 goals. Oisín Coulter proved to be the perfect strike partner for Francis scoring four points from play.
That said a lot of credit needs to be given to the Down midfield of Aodhán Furlong and Finn Collins and half forward line who delivered the perfect ball time and time again. Lukas Boyd, team captain, work rate set the standard for the rest of the team and across the park Down out worked and out fought the Antrim team.
Best & Fairest winner Eoin (Bomber) Magee was deadly from frees (0-5) punishing Antrim for every indiscretion, killing any Antrim momentum. Despite the setback of the first half Antrim started the second with renewed vigour, but another Caldwell goal early in the second half effectively finished the game
Cahal Lavery, the Down goalkeeper delivered the ball with precision, Down winning 85% of puck outs. Darragh Kelly kept his full back line of Ethan Bell and Eoin Pucci in check, while the half back line of Owen McDermott, James Duggan and Lukas Boyd provided the perfect platform from which to build the attack.
JP Napier, Down Manager said after the game "I am extremely pleased with the boy’s performance, it is great to watch this new squad gel. We haven't had the ideal preparation but the lads did everything I asked of them and I was extremely pleased with how the boys performed. We are not getting carried away and know there is a lot more work to be done. Last year we were extremely pleased to walk away from this fixture with a seven-point win and it is even more satisfying to see the lads push on from that result".
Down's first half performance gave then management the ideal opportunity to run the bench, and it was satisfying to watch the lads slot into positions without any adverse impact on the Down performance. Ryan O'Neill left the pitch after scoring a fine goal.
Additionally, there were fine performance from Imran Hussain, Tom McGrattan and Ciaran Savage with Enda Gargan scoring a nice point within seconds of entering the field of play.
This was such a very pleasing performance by the Down lads with everyone having contributing to the result.
Down Team: Cahal Lavery, Eoin Pucci, Darragh Kelly, Ethan Bell, Owen McDermott, James Duggan, Lukas Boyd (Capt.), Finn Collins, Aodhán Furlong, Eoin Magee (vice Capt.) (0-5), Coran Trainor, Ryan O'Neill, Jon Fisher, Francis Caldwell (5-1), Oisín Coulter (0-4)
(John Paul Napier - MANAGER)