IT WAS a cruel end to a season which will be remembered for all the right reasons by everyone associated with Doire Trasna.
Michael Wilson reports
The scoreboard may have claimed Tyrone champions Derrytresk were 10 points the better side in Sunday’s Ulster Junior Championship clash but it was not the story of the match and Trasna manager, Paul Simpson knew it.
He had watched his side, bereft of key players, battle bravely against the wind first half and manoeuvre itself into a challenging position 10 minutes into the second. Then came Daryl McDermott’s dismissal for a second yellow. Both bookings were harsh but by the letter of the law, correct and with the corner-back’s departure went Trasna hopes.
“I’m very disappointed with the scoreline but not the performance,” explained Simpson.
“I thought we were under the cosh for a fair bit before the sending off but the sending-off changed the game. It gave Derrytresk the freedom to build from the back. They carried the ball to us and we struggled to cope.
“I suppose every sending-off is senseless but I thought the second incident, whether it was a yellow card or not, I’m not so sure but that’s what happens in football. It is a contact sport and sometimes you get it wrong and when you get it wrong twice, you’re in trouble.”
The frustrating thing for Trasna was that, with Paul Quigley in fantastic form in midfield and Eoghan Carlin excelling in the back line, the red card came as they looked poised to dominate having faced a strong wind for the opening 30 minutes.
“It was going to plan before the red card because I had pushed Aaron (Callaghan) further up the field in the second half and it seemed to be paying dividends. I thought big Paul Quigley was immense and Eoghan Carlin and Conor Houston were as good as what was out there. I’m just sickened about the scoreline to be honest. I don’t think it’s a fair reflection but people will look at that and think ‘Trasna were hammered’ but I’m not so sure about that.
“When we talked about winning the toss and having the wind second half, I thought four or five points would have been achievable but our forwards never got enough ball in the second half to do any damage.”
The Trasna manager refused to blame the absence of key men for the defeat.
“You cannot afford to be missing men. Sean McNaught had an operation on his arm through the week, Caolan (Doyle) works in England and of course they are big losses but it’s up to the guys that wear the jerseys to make up for their absence but, as you could see, our squad is limited in terms of numbers and maybe also a bit in terms of guile and craft.
“But we’ve had a successful year and this was a bonus. We have a meeting now on the December 1st to chat about a programme for next year and we will start back at it again for Intermediate football,” he added.