DERRY City Council ensured Doire Trasna would leave Lisnagelvin pointless regardless of how many scores they managed in Sunday’s Division Two encounter with Ogra Colmcille.
Michael Wilson was at Lisnagelvin
Photographs: Stephen Latimer
The south Derry team’s one hour journey to the City was greeted by locked changing rooms and an unlined pitch at the Knockwellan venue which threatened to see the game postponed. Only the frantic efforts of Trasna officials ensured netting and flags were located. When the game eventually did go ahead more than 30 minutes late, the visitors made it clear they were playing under protest after referee Kieran Brolly gave the match the go ahead despite the lack of pitch markings.
With the rules in their favour, Ogra were in a no-lose situation. Win the game, take the points. Lose the game, appeal and - in all probability - get awarded the points.
It was a farce, not of Trasna’s making but things did not improve much once the action got under way. Within seven minutes the visitors had manufactured a four point lead that would give them a sufficient cushion throughout the 60 minutes.
Shane Devlin, wearing No. 3 but operating further forward, took only 35 seconds to register the first score but this game was decided on goals and Ogra’s opener arrived on six minutes and was one of two efforts which Trasna keeper Damien O’Carroll will not want to look back on.
The normally reliable O’Carroll was caught out by the flight of Chris Collins’ high centre and the ball probably would have ended up in the back of the net regardless of Sean McVey’s punch over the line from little over a yard out. Ciaran McDonald, the most potent forward on the pitch, then stretched the lead with a free after a foul by Conor Houston on the strong running Devlin.
Trasna rallied with the lively Colin Murray helping himself to two points, the second an excellent effort on the turn which brought it back to 1-02 to 0-02 by the 20 minute mark.
Trasna’s tendency to play in fits and starts has already cost them points this season but not as many as the insistence on allowing teams and referees to get under their skin and that frustrating trait was again evident. Ogra’s opening period of dominance had yielded only a goal more than Trasna’s ten minute spell and they were well in the game but the contrast in the demeanour of each side was stark.
Ogra were content to sit in and soak up pressure when they had to but Trasna’s play was anxious and their players on edge as they continually tried to force the issue. When it didn’t happen or a decision went against them, too often they lost their shape and it cost them in the 21st minute when the superb McDonald grabbed his side’s second goal.
The home side lost possession inside the Ogra half but there was little danger until Stephen Devlin was allowed to meander through two tackles and feed McDonald 20 yards from goal. The corner-forward strode forward before turning inside and firing an emphatic finish high into the net for 2-02 to 0-2.
Again, when Trasna regained their composure, the began to eat into the Ogra lead but the damage had been done. Two brilliant points from the impressive Ciaran McKenna and one from Din McLaughlin reduced the deficit to three points but it was always going to be catch-up unless they could find the net.
McDonald (2) and Cormac Murphy, from a free, cancelled out that mini-revival with Enda Lindsay and Colm McCloy swapping points as the sides went in at 2-06 to 0-6.
The gap may have been six points but it was only two kicks of the ball, one fortunate, one emphatic, that separated the teams as they took to the field for the second half but Trasna’s hopes of a comeback evaporated within four minutes courtesy of another fortuitous Ogra goal that bore an uncanny resemblance to their first.
This time McDonald was the accidental architect as his high flighted shot toward the posts again deceived O’Carroll and ended up in the back of the Trasna net. If that was frustrating for Paul Simpson, watching his side - not for the first time in the game - give referee Brolly an excuse to move a McDonald free into scoring range must have grated greatly. McDonald didn’t need the help but he accepted the gift. Another Conor Ward free made it 3-08 to 0-06 and it was all but game over.
Even when Trasna introduced big full forward Barry McCafferty and positioned him on the edge of the square in an effort to find the goals that could give them a foothold, they failed to play the ball in and his physical presence was wasted.
Trasna had their chances but the two points were already lost. They were probably lost before a ball was kicked.
Doire Trasna: Damien O’Carroll; Damian Doherty, Eoghan Carlin, Gary Murray; Aaron Callaghan, Conor Houston, Nial Callan; Paul Quigley, Enda Lindsay (0-1); Sean McNaught, Ciaran McKenna (0-4, 2f), Din McLaughlin (0-1); Darren Harkin, Barry McKenna, Colin Murray. (Subs) Barry McCafferty for N Callan, 38mins; Tony Sweeney for D Doherty, 56mins; Dee Starrett for D Harkin 56mins.
Ogra Colmcille: Niall Martin; Deccy Campbell, Shane Devlin (0-1), Mark Bell; Paul Taylor, Cormac Murphy (0-1, 1f), Chris Bates; Mark Collins, Colm McCloy (0-1); Ryan Taylor, Conor Ward (0-1), Stephen Devlin (0-1); Ciaran McDonald (2-5, 3f), Sean McVey (1-0).(Subs) Stephen Cleary (0-1) for C Collins, 35mins; Niall Bradley for M Bell 48mins; Barry Kelly for P Taylor 52mins.
Referee: Kieran Brolly.