Rathfriland Swifts Reserves played host to Silverwood Reserves and were 4-1 up when the match was abandoned on 80 minutes due to a brawl.
Rathfriland’s five man midfield used both flanks well and had the visitors camped into their half for the opening 20 minutes. However, Silverwood hit the Swifts Reserves on the break and a deflected shot rebounded off the post, hitting Neil Trainor and trickling over the line.
The Swifts reacted superbly and scored within five minutes, Eamonn Magee rifling a strong left foot effort in off the underside of the bar.
Ryan Hillen then kept a cool head to slot home a retaken penalty to give the Swifts the lead. They ended the first-half ruing a series of missed opportunities as Hillen and O’Reilly both failed to capitalise when through one on one. The impressive Bernard Brannigan had the ball in the net but his goal was ruled out for offside and Magee also saw an effort hit the crossbar.
The Swifts Reserves set about the second-half with a determination to be more clinical in front of goal, while the rear guard of Scott, Jackson and O’Neill stood firm.
The introduction of Daryl O’Reilly looked to be an inspired substitution. He settled into the game quickly and delivered a pinpoint pass to the great run of Niggy who coolly slotted under the advancing keeper’s legs to make it 3-1. The lead was nearly extended when Hillen was sent through, opting to chip the keeper only to see an outstretched arm divert the ball out for a corner.
Hillen’s quick-thinking found the late run of McComish who drilled a strong left foot effort low into the bottom corner. A Silverwood midfielder was then sent off for a second booking and the resulting protests saw another sent off for foul and abusive language. The Silverwood manager also had to be sent from the pitch of play.
However, the victory wasn’t completed. With 10 minutes left to play, a brawl erupted and the referee blew to abandon the game.