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Donaghadee boss Gerry Noble takes positives from cup defeat

Action from Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett, December 21 Close

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Stuart Grigg and St Oliver Plunkett's Gary Dunlop

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Stuart Grigg and St Oliver Plunkett's Gary Dunlop

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Manager Gerrard Noble

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Manager Gerrard Noble

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
St Oliver Plunkett's Manager Liam Hunter

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan St Oliver Plunkett's Manager Liam Hunter

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Graham Keenan and St Oliver Plunkett's Gary Dunlop

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Graham Keenan and St Oliver Plunkett's Gary Dunlop

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Graham Keenan and St Oliver Plunkett's Gary Dunlop

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Graham Keenan and St Oliver Plunkett's Gary Dunlop

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Graham Keenan and St Oliver Plunkett's Fintan Adams

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Graham Keenan and St Oliver Plunkett's Fintan Adams

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Graham Keenan and St Oliver Plunkett's Thomas Murray

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Graham Keenan and St Oliver Plunkett's Thomas Murray

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Colin Moore and St Oliver Plunkett's Terry Cavanagh

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Colin Moore and St Oliver Plunkett's Terry Cavanagh

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Gerrard Noble and St Oliver Plunkett's Terry Cavanagh

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Gerrard Noble and St Oliver Plunkett's Terry Cavanagh

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Norman Mitchell and St Oliver Plunkett's Joe Harbinson

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Norman Mitchell and St Oliver Plunkett's Joe Harbinson

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Manager Gerrard Noble

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Manager Gerrard Noble

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Norman Mitchell and St Oliver Plunkett's Stephen McDonald

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Norman Mitchell and St Oliver Plunkett's Stephen McDonald

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Colin Moore and St Oliver Plunkett's Gary Dunlop

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Colin Moore and St Oliver Plunkett's Gary Dunlop

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan St Oliver Plunkett's Aaron McCrory scores against Donaghadee

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013
Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan
Donaghadee's Craig Beazley and St Oliver Plunkett's Terry Cavanagh

Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Craig Beazley and St Oliver Plunkett's Terry Cavanagh

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Junior Soccer - Donaghadee v St Oliver Plunkett - Clarence Cup First Round - 21st December 2013 Copyright Presseye / Declan Roughan Donaghadee's Stuart Grigg and St Oliver Plunkett's Gary Dunlop

Drenched, defeated, but not down-hearted... Donaghadee’s player-manager Gerry Noble trudged off the soggy Crommelin Park surface with the quiet satisfaction of a man who, although on the losing side, feels certain they are heading in the right direction.

On paper, this 4-2 defeat to Oliver Plunkett in the first round of the Clarence Cup may not be remembered as the Division 2C’s result of the season, but there were enough glimpses of quality against a team two divisions above them that will give the Peninsula club hope for the future.

The former Brentwood Seconds boss has only been in charge for the past five weeks following the departure of previous manager Jason Johnstone, and already has had a positive impact, guiding the club to their fourth league win of the season against 4th Newtownabbey last weekend.

In truth, the better side showed their superiority on Saturday, with Plunkett dominant for the vast majority of the game, but it was the heart and attitude shown by his players that will have pleased Noble most.

“There are definitely big positives to take from today,” said the Donaghadee gaffer afterwards. “The boys can be pleased with their performance today – you have to remember this was a 2A team we were playing today.

“I am building a squad here, and have brought in four players from the seconds, and they have been doing well for us. I am confident that we can keep improving and we’ll look to add to the squad again in the summer to keep progressing.”

Noble himself only played for the last few minutes, but the other 20-odd players who took part throughout a testing afternoon deserve a great deal of credit for serving up a decent match in horrendous conditions.

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Plunkett started with purpose, and could have led in the eighth minute, when Terry Cavanagh took the ball from Colin Moore’s feet before whipping in a cross for Aaron McCrory, but he turned it over the bar.

McCrory was not to be so wasteful when his next opportunity arrived just two minutes later, as he rose well to nod in from a high ball from Martin Webb.

The visitors were in high spirits and really should have doubled their tally a few moments later when a defensive lapse allowed Gary Dunlop through for a one-on-one with Stuart Williamson, but the Donaghadee goalkeeper held firm to deny him against the odds.

Dunlop had another chance to get onto the score-sheet soon after this, but McCrory’s cross to him was cut out by the alert Craig Beasley, who moved quickly to head it out for a corner.

Plunkett’s hard work and endeavour was rewarded once more, however, in the 35th minute, as the instinctive McCrory was close at hand to tap in on the rebound following a sprawling Williamson save from a previous Dunlop volley.

Donaghadee had less attacking possession than their opponents, so when genuine opportunities came their way, they grabbed them with both hands.

This was demonstrated in first half injury time, after Stephen Killyleagh clipped Alan McClean on the edge of the box. McClean struck the resultant free kick low and hard, and although it was initially halted on the line by a Plunkett defender, Stuarty Grigg rushed in to smash it into the net.

The goal might have given Donaghadee renewed hope, but Plunkett made sure that this was short-lived. Straight from the second half kick-off, Dunlop broke free and slotted the ball neatly into bottom left hand corner.

If that wasn’t conclusive enough, Aaron McCrory completed a 55-minute hat-trick as he underlined his heading prowess when rising to beat the keeper yet again, this time from another fine Webb cross.

Plunkett were undeniably home and hosed, but few typified their relentless hunger more than Cavanagh. The industrious midfield man was unlucky not to notch a goal of his own, and came closest of all in the 65th minute, when he danced around three defenders only to finish with an effort which lacked the necessary power.

The 2A side were to be commended for not letting up despite their comfortable advantage, but likewise, Donaghadee did well not to let their heads drop, and managed to pull another goal back in the 77th minute. It was a great strike from Graham Keenan, who gratefully collected from Joel Cummins before lobbing Gary Douglas from 20 yards.

It was, however, too little, too late for the hosts, and winning manager Liam Hunter was left to reflect on a job well done.

The Plunkett boss remarked: “I thought we were very good today. Our movement and our passing was brilliant, although without disrespecting the opposition, we probably should have won by more.

“The fact that we were without our top scorer Sean Gough and influential midfielder Robbie McLaughlin, and had two of our Under-18 players in today shows the strength in depth at the club.

“The Clarence Cup is a competition no-one will be expecting us to win, but hopefully we can get a home draw in the next round, and see how far we can go.”

 

DONAGHADEE

Stuart Williamson: Without his excellent saves, the score would surely have been higher. 7

Andy Williamson: Drifted in and out of the game somewhat. 6

Colin Moore: Showed some room for improvement. 6

Benji Dugdale: His game was cut short by injury. 5

Craig Beasley: The centre back showed good positional sense.

Stuarty Grigg: Not afraid to throw himself into challenges. 7

Davy Moore: Got up and down the left flank well. 7

Jackson Robinson: Strong and assured. 7

Alan McClean: His assist was so nearly a goal for himself. 7

Davy Wright: Nothing was a lost cause to him. 7

Joel Cummins: Chased down every pass. 7

 

Subs

Norman Mitchell: On for Robinson, 60

Graham Keenan: On for Dugdale, 26

Gerard Noble: On for Wright, 87

 

ST OLIVER PLUNKETT

Gary Douglas: Had a decent game. 7

Martin Webb: Gave great support to the front-men. 8

Stephen Killyleagh: Overall a solid showing. 7

Joe Harbinson: A disciplined performance. 7 

Fintan Adams: Rarely looked under pressure. 7

Terry Cavanagh: Light-footed and skilful. 8

Stephen McDonald: Did a good job of winning the ball in midfield. 7

Padraig Lowe: Good positive approach play. 7

Gary Dunlop: Deserved his goal. 8

Aaron McCrory: The hat-trick hero was a constant handful for Donaghadee. 9

Connor Torpet: A workmanlike display. 7

 

Subs

Thomas Murray: On for McCrory, 63

Gareth Booth: On for Killyleagh, 65

Jordan Thompson: On for Webb, 70      

 

MAN OF THE MATCH: Aaron McCrory (St Oliver Plunkett). An easy choice. Three goals to his name, and it could have been more.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Graham Keenan’s goal for Donaghadee was the pick of the bunch, and was characteristic of his team’s never-say-die spirit.

SAVE OF THE MATCH: Stuart Williamson’s composed 16th minute stop from the one-on-one with Gary Dunlop was impressive.

BLOOPER OF THE MATCH: There was some slack defending at times, but no major single incident worth pin-pointing on this occasion.


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