Raphoe unveiled their new playing kits on Saturday afternoon as the took on Kilkeel at the Royal and Prior Grounds.
The main winning sponsor Adam Speer Optimal Fitness was in attendance for photographs before the game. With TRC Total Retail Control being the teams second sponsor.
Raphoe started the game well and forced Kilkeel back into their own half, but they lacked ideas when they got into the Kilkeel danger areas. Kilkeel took the lead midway through the half from a dubious short corner and Gareth Russell fired home from mid circle after being given too much time.
Raphoe tried to get back into the game after this but only for short corners Raphoe lacked any real threat. Simon Goudie was denied by a good save by the Kilkeel keeper and even the switched corners were well dealt with by the Kilkeel defence. At the other end Jonny Rankin was in top form between the sticks and denied Kilkeel on several occasions, ably assisted by Simon Goudie and Lee Stewart. The half ended 1-0 to Kilkeel.
Raphoe started the second half again by pushing Kilkeel into their own half and had several chances inside the first ten minutes.
Again Simon Goudie was denied from a short corner and William Kilpatrick’s shot from the top of the circle on the next short corner was cleared off the line by Jonny Aiken.
While pushing for an equaliser Raphoe lived dangerously at the back but again their defence stood strong and kept Kilkeel from doubling their lead.
Kilkeel had their share of short corners in this half as well but Simon Goudie, Alan Meehan and Rodney Bates all cleared shots off the line, with Rankin for once stranded.
Luke Witherow made his debut off the bench in the second half.
At only 15 he is one of the youngest players in the clubs history to represent them at Premier League level. Luke’s call up came off the back of his fine performance for Ulster in the U16 Interpros two weekends ago.
He cleverly won a short corner and made some excellent runs to mark his debut.
With time running out Raphoe broke from defence and when John Watt received the ball in the Kilkeel circle he rounded the keeper and slipped as he was about to shoot and the ball went agonisingly wide.
Raphoe pushed in the final few minutes but couldn’t find an equaliser and Kilkeel took all three points back to Co. Down. Man of the match forRaphoe was Jonny Rankin.
Next week Raphoe are at home again to Belfast Harlequins with a 2.30p.m push back.
Team: Jonny Rankin, Rodney Bates, Lee Stewart, Simon Goudie, Alan Meehan, Ian McGonigle(Capt), William Kilpatrick, George Patterson, Paul Stewart, Gavin Lecky, John Watt, Stephen Cleverly, Luke Witherow, Evan Lyttle, David Buchanan, Richard Eaton.
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