ON Saturday past the Swifts Reserves travelled to Seagoe looking to progress in the Mid Ulster Cup, the same venue being scheduled to host the final, giving the Division Three outfit a big inventive to progress for hope of a home final.
The Swifts Reserves started brightly, using the ball well and controlling possession, albeit without threatening in the final third.
The first opening was created when good play down the right hand side by Daryl O’Reilly who fed Hollingsworth, his strike pulled wide of the far post to the relief of the Seagoe keeper.
The Jackson brothers held strong at centre half, equal to the constant aerial approach from the home side. Another rare breakthrough came when an incisive through ball fell to Gary O’Reilly whose well time run ended with a strong strike, matched by an impressive save.
Ten minutes before half time the Swifts were hit with a sucker punch when an apparent handball from a poorly cleared ball into the box went unpunished, allowing the striker to fire in from close range. Rathfriland were frustrated for the remainder of the half, the score line at the break 1-0.
The Division Four visitors rallied at halftime and looked to get back on level terms from early in the second half, a great cross from Hollingsworth found the head of Maginn at the back post, his effort failed to find the net.
As Rathfriland pushed for an equalizer, they were left exposed at the back but Derek Curran kept the game alive with an impressive save with his right foot when left one on one.
As the minutes ticked by Rathfriland pushed, however the retracted Seagoe side were determined in defence and equal to each the attacks posed.
The final whistle sounded with home celebrations and with it the hopes of double success were dashed.
On the day Rathfriland failed to created enough chances to win the game, but in equal measure were unlucky to loose. Cup competition gives no second chances and is unforgiving, the disappointment felt among the Swifts reserves will hopefully spurn them on to a strong league finish.
Team: D.Curran, D.O’Reilly, C.Jackson, J.Jackson, A.Scott, K.Megaw, N.Maginn, D.Gilmore, C.Power, G.O’Reilly, D.Hollingsworth. Subs: A.Steward, J.Lawson, P.Johnston