Drumragh promotion hopes dashed.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

DRUMRAGH'S promotion bid was dashed in an exciting play-off at Derrytresk, where the home side emerged with a narrow win.


The Sarsfields will continue to play their football in Division Three next season, while Derrytresk go on to face Newtownstewart in a further play-off tie, with the winner so meet relegation-threatened Rock in a final joust to decide who plays in Division Two in 2018.

A six points haul from Shane Cleary was not enough to give Drumragh the edge in a close contest which hung in the balance right to the end.

The sides were level as the clock ticked towards 60 minutes, but late points from Cathal O'Neill and Niall Gavin clinched it for the home side.

Drumragh started with the wind in their backs, and pressed strongly in the opening stages, but some wayward finishing hampered their efforts, and it was Derrytresk who opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Caolan Corr converted a free.

Kevin Marron drove a long kick pass into Shane Cleary's path for the Sarsfields' opening point, and they went in front in the ninth minute when wing back Barry Fitzgerald intercepted a misplaced clearance to send Martin Taggart in for a point.

With Lee Brown dropping back to operate as sweeper, the visitors were disciplined at the back as Derrytresk endeavoured to get some attacking momentum going, and there was some excellent defending from Gareth Haughey, Eamon Kerrigan and Sean McGale.

But Derrytresk went level when full forward Ronan O'Neill won the free that Niall Gavin converted, before Drumragh countered again for Cleary to win the free that he converted himself to regain the lead.

Corr knocked over free for a foul on Ronan O'Neill, and the home side almost had a goal when Gavin cut in from the right and smashed a shot which beat goalkeeper James Colgan, but McGale was on the line to keep it out.

Drumragh swept back downfield for Cleary to land a brilliant score from wide on the right, and he added another from a free to send his side in with a 0-5 to 0-3 interval lead.

But Derrytresk made a storming start to the second half, hitting three points inside five minutes of the restart.

Gavin steered over a free from close to the sideline, before Corr crafted the opening for Liam Slater to bring the sides level with an excellent effort from a difficult angle. And they went ahead with another quality score from Gavin.

Kevin Campbell sent Ronan O'Neill in for a shot at goal, but 'keeper Colgan responded with a magnificent save, diving to his right to push a stinging shot around a post.

Drumragh had gone more than 20 minutes without a score, but they were still just two points behind, after Gavin had fired over another spectacular effort.

Cleary clipped over a 13 metre free, followed by a long range Drumm effort which brought the sides level .

Liam Slater and Cleary swapped scores, and they were still deadlocked on 0-8 each as stoppage time approached.

But Derrytresk were able to step up the tempo in the dying moments, and a long range Cathal O'Neill point had them back in front, before Gavin sealed it with his fifth.

Derrytresk scorers: Niall Gavin 0-5 (2 frees), Liam Slater, Caolan Corr (2 frees) 0-2 each, Cathal O'Neill 0-1.

Drumragh scorers: Shane Cleary 0-6 (3 frees), Martin Taggart, Benny Drumm 0-1 each.

Derrytresk: Dominic McGrath; Gareth Devlin, Aidan Gavin, Conan Dorman; Pat Campbell, Cathal O'Neill, Eoin Rea; Kevin Campbell, Johnny Campbell; Conor Starrs, Mickey Robinson, Niall Gavin; Liam Slater, Ronan O'Neill, Caolan Corr.

Sub: Padraig Bell for Devlin.

Drumragh: James Colgan; Eamon Kerrigan, Sean McGale, Eoin McGrade; Barry Fitzgerald, Gareth Haughey, Gareth McGrath; Benny Drumm, Gavin Rodgers; Lee Brown, Kevin Marron, Paul Maguire; Martin Taggart, Shane Cleary, Eamon Rea.

Subs: Shane Devine for Maguire, Gareth Starrs for McGale.

Referee: Mark O'Neill (Cookstown).


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