RATHFRILAND Swifts made the short journey to Newry Showgrounds in a derby fixture in the Reserve Championship league and despite a 1–0 half time scoreline, the game finished 6–0 with the home side scoring four in the last ten minutes.
On what is one of the best grounds in the Irish League outside of Windsor Park and on a fantastic zippy surface the Swifts suffered a blow as early as the fifth minute when a ball over the top caught out the Rathfriland central defenders and the No 9 raced through to strike low into the bottom corner.
The home side pushed well with the Swifts “standing off” and allowing the pressure on the defence but Niall Fitzpatrick shot wide with only the `keeper to beat for a great chance to pull the teams level after a good ball in by Kyle Heslip.
Derek Curran pulled off a couple of fantastic saves to keep the score at 1–0 with Timmy Grant proving a real handful for City.
On virtually the stroke of half time Rathfriland missed another glorious chance to draw level when Joe Toal found himself in space and when it looked certain to score with only the keeper to beat he poked the ball just wide of the post leaving the half time score with only a goal between the two sides.
On the restart Newry were off the mark quickly and again Curran pulled off a good save. They hit the crossbar twice but got the advantage of their second goal when a shot came down off the crossbar and off the goalkeeper’s shoulder and just over the line to make it 2–0.
The Rathfriland players seemed to drop their heads after this second goal and with 10 minutes remaining it was soon 3–0 with a neat break away goal.
Newry also hit the post from distance and then Grant notched a clever goal with a neat finish. The home side then scored three more on quick succession and it the end it finished 6–0.
Overall Newry deserved their win but you have to take your chances against these teams when you get them plus you cannot give them the space to play that Rathfriland allowed then to have.
TEAM: Derek Curran, Simon Groves, Connell Jackson, Paul Burns, Brian Magennis, Mark Connolly, Niall Fitzpatrick, Ryan Monaghan, Lee Mackin, Joe Toal, Kyle Heslip. Subs: Conan Power, Philip Johnston, Colum McComish