Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Honours even in Mourne ultimatum

Irish Premier League Newry City 1 Warrenpoint Town 1

While there was a lot of very important sporting occasions throughout the district over the weekend the one which captured the imagination was the game which was dubbed the Mourne Ultimatum.

At the Newry Showgrounds on Friday night “the fairytale “ first ever Danske Bank Premership match between Newry City and near neighbours Warrenpoint Town took place. 

The “first local Premership derby” attracted a huge interest and crowd to see who would claim the bragging rights but more importantly for the duo was the 3 points that was on offer. Warrenpoint on foot of their first win over Cliftonville last weekend which saw them climb off the bottom of the table faced a City side that had recorded 2 wins from 7 starts upon their return to the top flight.

Before a large crowd at the Showgrounds, definitely the biggest of the season, Newry City and Warrenpoint Town competed in a tense Premier League Mourne Derby that produced some good bouts of football, strong tackling, unfortunately minimum of clear cut openings, a scoreless opening 45 minutes, but a second half period that changed for the better, with the introduction of goals. The opening period was no more than a sparring session from the two sides, not that much creativity of chances materalising from it. Warrenpoint were seeing more of the football than the home side, they looked more comfortable in possession, were getting in much too easily on the city goals, causing problems that kept Andy Coleman on his toes.

Newry on the other hand were finding it difficult to break down the ‘Point defence, the City’s first shot on target from Declan Carville came around 30 minutes, but was dealt capably by Aaron McCarey in the visitors goals. But Newry with less than ten minutes remaining must have believed that they had found the opening, Steven [Rambo] Hughes cutting in from the left flank, side-stepped a couple of defenders, got his shot away, but the ball taking a wicked deflection, high up over the head of McCarey, but unfortunately for the city maestro just wide of the keeper’s right upright. Newry came out for the 2nd half in a more adventurous mood, pushed up on the ‘Point, and within 3 minutes, they did better in those three minutes than they did in the opening 45 minutes previously. A foul on Mark McCabe inside the 18-yard box was converted with power by Jimmy Walker. Newry were now off to the right start, Mark Hughes lashed the ball into the Warrenpoint side-netting, could have been two. The visitors were now struggling to retain their first half form, were getting caught in possession too easily, and it wasn’t until the 15 minutes of the game, that the Seasiders started to assert some pressure on the border sides goals, Andy Coleman getting down well to save at his left hand post. With time almost up and Newry dealing with most of what the ‘Point threw at them, there didn’t seem to be any danger that any of the three points were going to leave the Newry Showgrounds. As the fourth official held up the Minutes Board that said 4 remaining practically out of nothing, it happened. A harmless ball in from the left sideline catching the City defence asleep, Philip Donnelly headed the ball home at the back post, to give the seasiders a share of the spoils that they probably deserved but were fortunate to get. Newry City line-out- Andy Coleman, Patrick Mooney, Darren King, John Boyle, Thomas McCann, James Walker, Declan Carville Mark McCabe, Stephen Hughes, Mark Hughes [Captain] Dak Montgomery. Newry City substitutes Steven Maguire [ Goalkeeper] Conor McCaul, Stefan Lavery, Tiernan Rushe, Conall Delaney, Stephen Teggart, Kevin McArdle. Warrenpoint Town line-out Aaron McCarey, Steven Moan, Emmett Hughes, Max Kougoun, Simon Kelly [ Captain] Danny Wallace, Robbie Norton, Fra McCaffery, Eamon Scannell, Alan O’Sullivan, Mark Griffin. Warrenpoint Town substitutes- Josh Lynch, Conall McGrandles, Matty Lynch, Dean Watters, Ciaran O’Connor, Philip Donnelly, Berratt Turker [Goalkeeper] Referee- Lee Tavinder. Assistants- Gareth Eakin, Adrian Sobieski. 4TH Official – Barry Monaghan.