Senior Men were defeated in their opening IFC match against local rivals Darragh Cross in Downpatrick at the weekend. In a match that was in the melting pot for most of the game, a lack of composure when in the final third was probably the difference between the sides. With the front door now closed, it’s the back door route for the lads.
Senior Ladies hosted league leaders Ballymartin in their IFC match at St Patrick’s Park last week and put up a fantastic performance in the first half particularly, before the Mourne ladies imposed themselves and proved their calibre in the second half.
Saul started the brighter side with the wind assisting them in the first half. Bronagh McErlean scoring a goal within the first 5 minutes. Ballymartin attacks where met head on by a Saul defence that were determined and on top, blocking and pressurising with high intensity, forcing wides and keeping the chances for goals to a minimum. A very slick fast move from Ballymartin ended up with their only goal of the half… this came at a cost with talisman forward Lauren Cunningham injuring her ankle, which we hope isn’t too serious and she makes a speedy recovery. This seemed to unsettle Ballymartin and spur some energy into the Saul ladies, with two quick goals from Charlotte Rooney and Gemma Traynor. Cara Gordon in nets, the catalyst setting up plays with great kick outs, with some fantastic support play and direct running at a Ballymartin defence which had no answer to Gemma Traynor, Charlotte Rooney, Caiomhe Hayes, Maeve Galloway, Bronagh McErlean and Christine Campbell giving all sorts of problems for the lilywhites. A couple points traded leaving half time score 3-2 to 1-10.
The second half started in whirlwind fashion with Ballymartin coming blistering out the blocks to show why they clear favourites for the title this season scoring a goal from the re start with the Saul ladies just caught sleeping. This was a wake up call and for the next 15 minutes Saul absorbed a serious amount of pressure but they stood tall and worked tireless to keep Ballymartin out for goals limiting them to long range efforts and free kicks to keep the score board ticking. Laura Edgar, Deborah Magee, Carla Dorrian, Emma Savage, Lauren Fitzsimons and Anna Robinson gave a back 6 display that was worthy to pull on the blue and gold any day of the week. Into the last quarter of the game Ballymartin started to fade slightly and Saul even though they had put in a mammoth effort so far, dug in and gave it one last push. Alanah Manley and Molly Murnin entered as subs, their rewards was only a single point but only due to quite few shots tailing wide and two great goal chances saved off the line by Ballymartin!! This all came through the driving force in midfield of Tara Laverty and Ella Rourke who covered every blade of grass on St Paticks Park.
With the full time whistle arriving the scoreline seemed a handy win for Ballymartin but it was far from it. Without a doubt this was Saul’s gutsiest, determined and free flowing game all season. On what was a tough season on the playing field this game showed that Saul Ladies can be back on the map competing.
U16 girls have Dundrum at home on Wednesday at 7pm and Ballymartin away on Sunday. With all three teams in contention for the league, its as tough a week as they will ever have had!
U16 Boys were on the road again, this time in Castlewellan and came away with a share of the spoils in a very entertaining game, with both teams having had chances to win. Another raft of changes due to player unavailability meant Saul started slowly, while the ‘Town’ had 1-02 on the scoreboard. A point from Ben McGrath opened the account and was followed by a fine Ronan Connor free kick to give the boys a bit of momentum. Castlewellan slotted another fine point over, but then it was Saul who took over. A magnificent goal from the right boot of Jack Fitzsimons who shot from 25m into the bottom corner gave the boys belief that they could get back into the game. Further points from Connor, Philly Doran and Aodhan Harney after good support from Odhran Murray put them two up. During this fifteen minute the defence of Matthew Murray, Niall Maguire, Rhys Cunningham repelled the green shirts coming forward and ensure the attack had plenty of ball. Castlewellan did come back and helped by another goal with the half nearly done, retook the lead. A fine goal from the scoring machine Devlin on the stroke of halftime, however, gave the boys a two point lead heading into the break. 2-08, to 2-06.
Castlewellan started the second half with two equalizing points and then the talented Jack Fitzsimons went on another run towards goal. Great team work with Ronan Connor and Odhran Murray who had a good hour, ended with a great shot to the net, that nearly matched Jack’s goal in the first half for quality. The home side came straight back and the unlucky Luke Boyd in goals conceded another one to keep the game in the melting pot. Doran, who ran all night scored a fine individual point followed by another goal from Devlin, who volleyed home. Points from Connor seemed to give the boys a lead that wouldn’t be caught but again, they proved how determined they could be and with a few minutes left had raced into a three point lead. Saul couldn’t get close to goal, but persisted and this paid off when Devlin volleyed his third goal of the night to bring the teams level. Another two attacks yielded nothing and the game finished Castlewellan 4-15, Saul 5-12. A great game for those who were there and both teams should be pleased with the way they came back into it at times when it seemed they had lost their way. Next up for the boys is the last league game of the season away to Darragh Cross.
Craig Cup week two was another great evening of football. Raholp remain top after another week of wins, though any of the three teams below them still have enough games to overtake. Same time this week!
Coffee Morning in memory of Phil and in support of Marie Curie was on Saturday morning in the clubhouse. Many thanks to everyone who supported it and especially to Irene and the Stratton family for their hard work in ensuring everything was organized so well.
Golf Day is arranged for Friday 8th September 2017 at St Patricks Golf Club, Downpatrick. There will be a SHOTGUN START at 3.30pm and tee times are available by contacting any member of the committee, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org