WINNING Championship football normally requires a team to play for the full 60 plus minutes. The real shame of this Intermediate clash was Sean Dolan’s only showed up for 50, even when the game eventually did get going!
Michael Wilson was in Foreglen
Photograpghs: Jim McCafferty
The right or wrongs of whether the Creggan men had been correctly informed of the throw-in switch from 2.00pm to 1.30pm remains unclear. What is crystal clear though is that the confusion and lack of pre-match preparation by the City club had a profound bearing on the outcome of the game.
A sluggish Dolan’s looked dead and buried by the 13th minute at 0-9 to 0-1 down and with no discernible shape to their play, there looked no way back for Mark Quigley’s men. That they went in at the break trailing by only three points at 0-13 to 2-04 after goals from Paul Loughrey and John Canning speaks volumes for their character and leaves a huge ‘what if’ surrounding their performance and the result.
But Drumsurn had problems of their own. Already bereft of eight players who had started the last Championship clash with Steelstown at Faughanvale, Dominic Woods then lost both Dane Mullan and Thomas O’Kane to injury after the pair clashed in the pre-match warm-up before Paul Butcher also had to retire injured. That placed huge pressure on his already limited playing resources but the players responded superbly and in the end fully deserved their win.
For Dolan’s, the priority was never the Championship but on the back of two positive draws against Ogra Colmcille and Ballymaguigan in the league, this was a chance to continue an upward spiral. In a strange way they succeeded. Take away those first 13 minutes when no-one in a Dolan’s shirt looked sure of where he was supposed to be playing and they actually outscored Drumsurn by 2-7 to 0-09, something which won’t be lost on Quigley as he attempts to plot a course to Intermediate safety.
Drumsurn will watch the draw for the next round with interest and if Woods can get anything like a full-strength panel back, they are a team others will want to avoid, especially if they start as they did against Dolan’s.
Within three minutes they were 0-05 to no score ahead as Chris Harbinson, Ciaran Ferris, Michael McGonigle and Pearse McNickle (2) found it all too easy.
That trend continued until an eight point lead had been established and Dolan’s finally got themselves sorted out with an excellent Paul Loughrey goal. Caolan Thompson strode down the right side before lofting a high ball into the area where Loughrey gathered superbly and waltzed around David McGilloway in the Drumsurn goal to roll into an empty net.
The goal gave Dolan’s renewed confidence and with Kevin Nixon now on they certainly carried more threat but Drumsurn still looked in control as the half entered its final minute with Woods’ team 0-12 to 1-4 ahead.
The complexion changed slightly when Canning was alert enough to pounce on an error by McGilloway who couldn’t gather a high ball, the Dolan’s man gleefully firing into an empty net. Ciaran Mullan did respond with a point but 0-13 to 2-04 was an unexpected interval score.
The second half shift of Joe gallagher into centre-half back gave Dolans more security as the sides traded scores on the restart before Loughrey’s superb free left only two between the teams at 0-14 to 206 in the 39th minute.
The same player had the chance to fist Dolan’s into an unlikely lead seconds later when he got on the end of Sammy Robinson’s long ball but his flicked effort rolled inches past the post when he had time to gather and shoot.
That scare shook Drumsurn who rattled over the next three scores to all but secure the game and even Loughrey’s huge sideline free from more that 50m could not bring Dolan’s back into a game which was lost to them in the first quarter.
Drumsurn: Francis Chivers; Michéal Archibald, Shane Moore, Eoin Ferris; Craig Chewning, Paul Butcher, Daryl Mullan; Ronan McNickle, Mickey Coll; Ciaran Ferris (0-03, 0-01f), Ciaran Mullan (0-06, 0-04f), Mark McLaughlin; Michael McGonigle (0-01), Pierce McNickle (0-05), Chris Harbinson (0-03)
Subs: Barry Moore for C Ferris (blood sub, 15, reversed 21), Barry Moore for Butcher (47).
Séan Dolan’s: David McGilloway; Caoimhin McCrystal, Caolan Thompson, Joe Gallagher; Ruairi McGurk, Gavin Murray, Gary Cassidy (0-01); Mark Loughrey, Ciaran Wilkinson; Sean O’Rourke, Paul Loughrey (1-07, 0-07f), Sean Canning; Sammy Robinson, John Canning (1-00), Billy Dobbins
Subs: Kevin Nixon for S Canning (14), Dermot McLaughlin for S O’Rourke (47), Anthony Rabbett for J Canning (59), Caolan McCusker for M Loughrey (61)
Referee: Ciaran Brolly (Claudy)