Donaghmore move into semi-final mix


WHILE Storm Callum was wreaking havoc across the country over the last few days, Donaghmore were shaking things up themselves at the top of the Division One table at a rainswept Gardrum Park on Saturday afternoon.

The St Patrick’s edged out Dromore by two points in an engaging tussle to preserve their hopes of a top four spot in the league and with it a berth in the semi-finals.

Victory over Omagh in their final outing will copper-fasten Donaghmore’s place in the semis, a lofty slot which would represent due reward for a hugely admirable ACL campaign across the season.

Dromore themselves will also make the top four should they account for Ardboe in their last game, though stand-in manager Colm McCullagh will be demanding an improved showing on their weekend efforts.

Two goals from Donaghmore full-forward Tiarnan Drayne, one in either half, proved pivotal to the outcome of this contest, with the likes of Damien McCaul, Niall McKenna, Peter McKenna and Donal Lavery also producing whole-hearted efforts for the visitors.

Despite an improved showing in the second half by St Dympna’s, when Sean McNabb and Niall Sludden wrested a grip around centre field, Dromore came up short at the finish up.

On a foul afternoon, the away side enjoyed the more productive start as Lavery and Philip Donnelly tucked over early frees, before Niall Sludden bulldozed through to drive over at the other end.

Donaghmore rode their luck when Peter Teague rifled a shot off the underside of Lorcan Quinn’s crossbar and in the ninth minute they swooped for a goal themselves, Drayne providing the final touch with a fisted finish after a swift exchange of passes with Lavery.

While Emmet McNabb slotted over a free, Dromore looked out of sorts in the main, lacking incision and cohesion as an attacking force.

A brace of frees from Deasun Quinn stretched the visitors’ advantage and while Sean McNabb responded with a superb point, Donagmore raised another green flag before the break.

Defenders James McCann and Damien McCaul linked up with the former teeing up the latter for a neat finish beyond goalie Peter Ward.

Half-time sub Ruairi Sludden slotted over a free as Dromore restarted with more zip and intensity to their game, but sloppy play at the back in the 35th minute enabled Drayne to nip in and sidefoot past Ward after a skilful soccer style dribble down the heart of the opposition defence.

Nine points in arrears, Dromore dug deep and began to gradually claw back the deficit. Sean McNabb fisted over and Sludden banged a quality effort over the black spot.

The midfielders then combined to great effect in the 46th minute, with Sludden putting McNabb in the clear and he rifled a shot high past Quinn into the net.

With Emmet McNabb tagging on a score, the gap was down to just three, 3-4 to 1-7, but with young sub Ryan Cush showing admirable composure and Peter McKenna thumping over a wonderful score, Donaghmore kept their poise to see the job through, despite late efforts from Ruairi Sludden (’45’) and Ronan McNabb.


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