SUPERCUPNI: Defeat for County Down Juniors
County Down o Cherry Orchard 2
County Down slipped to a 2-0 defeat in their opening SuperCupNI Junior Section fixture with Cherry Orchard.
Goals in either half were enough for the long-time tournament visitors Orchard to seal the win at Parker Avenue, Portrush.
They almost broke the deadlock inside four minutes as Stephen Egan got on the end of Karl Delaney's dangerous free kick, but Marc Matthews was well placed to save.
The County Down stopper was called into action again five minutes later as Adan Bennett found himself in space in the box, but Matthews reacted well to block.
He was helpless to prevent Cherry Orchard scoring from the resulting corner though as the impressive Kyle Cosgrove rose highest at the back post to nod his side in front.
The keeper produced another great save on 12 minutes from another curling Delaney set piece.
Right on the half time whistle Sean Aluebhosele turned well on the edge of the box, but his shot never troubled Matthews' goal.
Only an excellent tackle by Jacob Collins seven minutes after the restart kept Cherry Orchard at bay as Cormac Rafferty bore down on goal.
Substitute Jamal Ibrahim should have made the game safe for Orchard on 42 minutes as he stole the ball off John McGivern on the edge of the County Down box, but once again Matthews came to the rescue to block the shot.
Unfortunately for the local lads a second goal did arrive midway through the second half and it was that man Cosgrove again.
He burst through a static rearguard before coolly slotting the ball into the far corner.
County Down pushed hard in the closing stages, but Aaron Brown's snapshot into the side netting with nine minutes to go was the closest they came to a goal.