Premier Electric Junior Football Championship Semi Final
Drum 1-10, Glack 1-0
Drum advanced to a final encounter with Magilligan, overcoming the shock of a 15th minute Cormac Boyle to record a very comfortable five-point victory and keep alive hopes of a league and championship ‘double’.
In the first half, Drum had the advantage of the gale force wind that blew straight down the pitch but struggled for scores against an energetic Glack that employed Jimmy O’Connor in a ‘sweeping’ role, three points a meagre return in the opening quarter.
When Glack levelled the scores at 0-03 to 1-00 in the 16th minute favourites Drum looked in a spot of bother.
However they found their rhythm in the second quarter and reeled off a succession of points to lead 0-8 to 1-00 with additional time beckoning, surviving a 19th minute square when a long ball from Gavan Moore struck the base of the post with the Drum defence under severe pressure in the goalmouth.
In the 30th minute Drum made the breakthrough that would give them a 1-08 to 1-01 lead at half time, Cathair McCloskey punching the ball to the net.
For the most part Glack’s attacking options lacked penetration and accuracy and Drum’s defensive, strategy dealt comfortably with their forays, their first point of the second half from open play not coming until twelve minutes from time.
Indeed only once in the second half did they look like getting the goal they needed and that came in added time when a Jimmy O’Connor cross from the right caused considerable consternation with the ball eventually deflected away for a ‘45’.
With play a little fractious in the final quarter Glack’s Liam O’Brien picked up a second yellow card, the midfielder rather fortunate not to have received a ‘black card’ in the 50th minute for a deliberate trip as a Drum player tried to race forward to join an attack.
Drum opened the scoring in the 3rd minute when Rory O’Reilly pointed a free after Kieran O’Brien touched the ball on the ground.
Conor O’Reilly added a second three minutes later after a fine Ryan O’Kane interception, Ciaran Carmichael off target for Glack in a rare foray into the Drum half.
Edward McLaughlin fouled Rory O’Reilly in the 15th minute and Conor O’Reilly converted for a three-point lead.
On the restart Cormac Boyle forced a ‘45’ and from that free Niall McGowan dropped the ball invitingly into the goalmouth where Boyle beat Drum keeper Cahair O’Kane to the jump and flicked the ball to the net to tie the scores.
Edward McLaughlin was then penalised for overholding the ball and Rory O’Reilly landed the free to put Drum back in front, a lead they maintained to the final whistle.
Ten minutes from half time Thomas McCloskey took a pass from the outstanding Niall Ferris and doubled the lead to two points, the latter then adding a brace of points for 0-07 to 1-00 by the 28th minute.
A delightful chip from Ryan O’Kane extended the lead to five points in the 29th minute, Cathair McCloskey then on hand to send the ball to the net when a Niall Ferris cross broke perfectly into his path.
In the final play of the half Liam Miller conceded a needless free and Niall McGowan pointed for 1-08 to 1-01.
Both sides spurned a scoring chance in the opening minutes of the second half, Gavan Moore then penalised in the 33rd minute with Conor O’Kane guiding the ball accurately inside the post from an acute angle.
That was the only score in the opening ten minutes, the compact and composed Drum defence too sharp for a lethargic Glack attack that was repeatedly forced into cul de sacs and held scoreless in the third quarter, Jimmy O’Connor a gilt-edged scoring chance in the 38th minute.
Drum made three changes with Shane Miller, Corey O’Reilly, Paddy Moore and Ryan O’Reilly all introduced between the 29th and 39th minutes, Adam O’Kane coming on for Glack and scoring their first point from play ten minutes from time.
Earlier Conor O’Reilly was fouled and Rory O’Reilly extended the lead to 1-10 to 1-01, McGowan converting a Glack free when Gabriel Farren fouled Ciaran Carmichael.
In the final ten minutes Ryan Morgan grabbed two points, Glack’s best scoring spell with three scores in as many minutes.
However Drum held them scoreless from the 52nd minute to the end of the four minutes of additional time to reach the Junior decider for the second successive year.
After the game Drum manager Jason Hazlitt commented, “Don’t take anything away from them, that’s a very good Glack side and we had to be very disciplined in everything that we did out there tonight.
“We had to be patient from back to front and work the ball as best we could. If you panic then errors creep in, you lose the ball or give away frees and scores. We knew it was early enough in the game and we had plenty of time to recover. We were lucky enough, one of them could’ve went in. It was difficult in them conditions but I thought we dealt with it well enough.”
On the second half display he said, “We knew that we had to work the ball out of defence and not kick aimless ball into the forwards. We wanted to keep pressure on very high as much as we could.
“I’ve praised our squad all year. 15 men don’t win matches anymore. I used 20 boys there tonight and I held one back in case there was a black card but I would’ve had no fear in any of the boys coming off the bench and doing a job for us tonight.”
Drum: Cahair O’Kane; Liam Miller, Alex Moore Dean Mulhern; Damian Brolly, Gabriel Farren, Niall Ferris (0-2); Conor O’Kane, Ryan O’Kane (0-1); Conor O’Reilly (0-3, 2f), Thomas McCloskey (0-1), Donal Brolly; Cathair McCloskey (1-0), Rory O’Reilly (0-3, 3f), Niall Burke. (Subs) James McCartney for T McCloskey 25 mins; Shane Miller for D Mulhern 39 mins; Corey O’Reilly for J McCartney 39 mins; Paddy Moore for C McCloskey 43 mins; Ryan O’Reilly for N Burke 49 mins.
Glack: James McLaughlin; Ryan O’Kane; Edward McLaughlin, Aaron Moore, Tommy O’Kane, Ciaran O’Brien, Ciaran Carmichael; Liam O’Brien, Gavan Moore; Cormac Boyle (1-0), Niall McGowan (0-2, 2f), Martin McGonigle; Ryan Morgan (0-2), Shane Toner, James O’Connor. (Subs). Luke McLaughlin for G Moore H-T; Adam O’Kane (0-1) for L McLaughlin inj 34 mins; Evan King for S Toner 53 mins
Referee: Cyril Hargan (Ardmore).