DERRY GAA: Drum into semi-finals as Doire Colmcille lose out in injury time

Drum are through to the Junior Championship semi-finals after a thrilling victory over Doire Colmcille at Celtic Park.
Drum are through to the Junior Championship semi-finals after a thrilling victory over Doire Colmcille at Celtic Park.

Premier Electric Derry Junior Football Championship

Drum 1-16, Doire Colmcille 3-07

Drum are in the Premier Electric Derry Junior Football Championship semi-finals but only after an almighty scare against Doire Colmcille in Celtic Park on Saturday.

The city side were billed as cannon fodder going into a game Drum were expected to win with ease but as the clock ticked into two minutes of injury time, the sides were tied and an upset on the cards.

Three world class goals, two from Malachy Campbell and one from Ciaran Curran, had helped Colmcille turn around a game that looked to be getting away from them in the first half.

Indeed, they managed to withstand a second half red card for Eamon Gillen to fightback with Campbell's second goal, a breathtaking solo effort, levelling up the game as it ticked past 60 minutes.

Drum were rattled. Well everyone except Seamus O'Kane. The last thing Colmcille needed after that Campbell wonder goal was to concede a scorable free but when they did, it was far from straight forward. Step forward O'Kane, taking responsibility to kick his team back in front and even add another insurance point seconds later to secure a semi-final spot they almost threw away.

Drum came into the game as overwhelming favourites to book that last four spot and dominated the opening half but found a Colmcille side more stubborn than most would have expected following their timid opening defeat to Glack.

Indeed, the score of the half belonged to the city side with Campbell producing a goal fit to grace any championship when he broke through the Drum defence at pace to rifle a blistering finish into the top corner of the Drum net.

That goal was the last score of an opening half Drum controlled and while they were well worth their 1-08 to 1-05 lead, Colmcille will have been content to have stayed within touching distance.

Robbie Doherty's men set up to contain Drum with Richie Stewart and Mickey McCallion left inside. Stewart in particular was a decent target man for the Lowry's Lane side and could have had 1-0 inside the opening two minutes and cleverly working himself into good positions.

Too often though that duo were isolated as Drum patiently built and picked off points to keep themselves in the comfort zone.

In Kevin and Rory O'Reilly, the Gortnahey men had two experienced free takers who made Colmcille pay for any indiscretions with the latter getting the gamer's opening score on three minutes but McCallion quickly equalised with another free for Colmcille.

Niall Burke, Niall Ferris and Kevin O'Reilly (free) added further points to the Drum tally either side of another McCallion effort to leave it 0-5 to 0-2 after the first quarter.

If Drum were in cruise control before, they were after Conor O'Kane's 16th minute goal but while Campbell's was a thing of beauty, O'Kane's came at the other end of the goal scoring spectrum but it was just as crucial.

Niall Ferris's lofted effort was most probably seeking a point but O'Kane anticipated the shot falling short and when it did, he rose highest to bundled the ball over the Comcille line for a 1-05 to 0-02 lead that most would have predicted would end the game as a contest.

It didn't.

Indeed over the next half hour of football, either side of half-time, the city men outscored Drum 2-4 to 0-3 with Drum also going 20 minutes without a score at one point. it was a seismic shift and threatened a real upset and Colmcille manoeuvred themselves into the unlikeliest of one point leads at 2-06 to 1-08 with 42 minutes on the clock.

That Campbell goal in the first half was the catalyst but Ryan Loughran was the pivotal player for Colmcille.

Turning around five points behind at 1-08 to 1-03, Colmcille looked a different side after the break, throwing off the defensive shackles and taking the game to a Drum team that looked shell shocked in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

Loughran grabbed the first score of the half before Dee Watson sent Ciaran Curran with the young forward showing superb composure to wrong foot the defence and slide a lovely low finish into the far corner for his side's second goal.

Two more Loughran points had Colmcille a point to the good before Gillen's second yellow card in quick succession saw Colmcille down to 14 men and suddenly the pendulum had swung once more.

The extra man was an invitation Drum weren't about the refuse and the experienced Gortnahey outfit used their spare man well as two Kevin O'Reilly frees and two lovely Niall Ferris scores helped them to another seemingly comfortable position.

Kevin O'Reilly and Loughran swapped free but 1-13 to 2-07 it appeared Colmcille's brave race was run until, with 60 minutes showing, Campbell put in possession 40 yards from goal and embarked on a brilliant solo run, his blistering pace taking him pace three Drum defender before he made a mockery of an acute finish, flashing a fierce strike across goal and into the far corner to tie the game at 3-07 to 1-13.

It was a goal that deserved to win the game but 'deserve' doesn't matter in championship.

With Colmcille still celebrating Drum broke and won their free. Up stepped O'Kane to kick Drum into the semi-finals and break Colmcille hearts.

Doire Colmcille scorers: Malachy Campbell (2-0), Ciaran Curran (1-0), Michael McCallion (0-2, 2f), Ryan Loughran (0-5, 2f)

Drum scorers: Conor O'Kane (1-0), Kevin O'Reilly (0-6, 5f), NIall Ferris (0-3), Rory O'Reilly (0-1, 1f), Niall Burke (0-1), Cathaoir McCloskey (0-1), Seamus O'Kane (0-3, 1f)

Doire Colmcille: Michael Nash; Piaras O Donghaile, Eamon Gillen, Fiachra O Donghaile; Ultan Clancy, Matthew Carlin, Daniel Smyth; Ciaran Curran, Matthew McDermott; Dee Watson, Ryan Loughran, Malachy Campbell; Michael McCallion, Richard Stewart, Joseph McCartie.

(Subs) Ben Smyth for U Clancy, 49mins;

Drum: Eunan O'Hara; Rory Carlin, Alex Moore, Seamus O'Kane; Niall Ferris, Damian Brolly, Niall Burke; Gabriel Farren, Marc McLaughlin; Conor O'Kane, James McCartney, Ryan O'Kane,; Kevin O'Reilly, Rory O'Reilly, Cathaoir McCloskey.

(Subs) Caolan McLaughlin for N Burke, 43mins; Harry Curran for M Carlin 52mins;

Referee: Alan Nash (Doire Trasna)