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Raphoe in contention for New Year’s Day final.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

IN their final Linden Cup group game, Raphoe's 3-0 victory at home over Ballynahinch puts them in contention for a place in the final on New Years Day.

Against a much improved Hinch side, who put double figures past Armagh a week ago, this young Raphoe team knew they had a game on their hands.

They started the game very strongly, dominating play in the first ten minutes. Ballynahinch sat very deep and allowed Raphoe a lot of possession in their half.

The home team created several chances but could not convert. Both Tom Eaton and John Watt striking the woodwork in the first few minutes and Tommy Orr forcing a save from the Ballynahinch keeper at the near post. The County Down side weathered the storm however and started to work their way into the game.

Royal and Prior schoolboy Jordan Devenney halted their progress midway through the first half with the opening goal. He found himself in space at the top of the circle and fired home a lovely shot on the reverse, leaving the keeper rooted to the spot. 1-0 Raphoe.

The home side continued to play well through the first half and doubled their lead before halftime when newly appointed captain Simon Goudie struck home. From a short corner, he rifled a drag flick into the roof of the net. Halftime score 2-0 Raphoe.

Raphoe were good for their lead but knew that Ballynahinch had more to throw at them in the second half. The visitors improved significantly in the second period and if not for some good saves and clearances from keeper David Moore, Ballynahinch may have got back in the game. The away side resorted to a more physical game in the second half and the umpires had a busier time of it.

Both sides pickedup green cards for an accumulation of poor challenges.When back to full strength Raphoe pushed on and found the third goal of the game, again from a short corner and again from a Goudie drag flick.

A good win and confidence builder for a young Raphoe team, with five schoolboys in the squad the team will rely on the experience of senior players like Ian McGonigle, John Watt and Alan Meehan when a tough Premier League campaign starts this Saturday away to Belfast Harlequins at 2.30pm

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