Doire Trasna served notice of their Division Three promotion credentials with a hard fought, but deserved derby victory over Ardmore.
Ciaran McKenna’s superb 39th minute goal laid the foundations for the win against an Ardmore team which had their chances but ultimately paid the penalty for an over reliance on ‘Al’ McLaughlin for scores.
McLaughlin accounted for nine of Ardmore’s 12 points with Barry Gormley claiming two, but only four points from play in 60 minutes tells it’s own story. Too often in the second half McLaughlin and Gormley were starved of any meaningful ball as Brian McKenna’s team took a stranglehold of the midfield with Din McLaughlin excellent in both the forward and half-back lines.
The home side huffed and puffed but Trasna’s greater threat through first Dee Starrett and Colin Murray, then Ciaran McKenna and finally Micheal McNaught, when he was introduced, was the difference between the teams. Ardmore simply couldn’t match that spread of scorers.
Despite missing a number of key men, Ardmore had given as good as they got against the pre-season league favourites and should have led at half-time.
Murray got the game’s first score with a fine point and it took young Ardmore keeper, Aaron Murray, to pull off a fantastic low save to stop Starrett finding the net as early as the third minute. Two Al McLaughlin frees had Ardmore in front after seven minutes but already it looked obvious he was going to have to shoulder the main scoring burden meaning Trasna could concentrate their defensive efforts on him.
That concentration did bring its fair share of fouls which allowed Ardmore and ‘Al’ to build up a 0-6 to 0-3 lead by the 20th minute and at this stage - with Anthony Hargan competing well in the middle of the field - they were worth their lead. Their prospects changed in an instant though when Starrett pounced after Troy McLaughlin spilled a high ball, the Trasna forward gathering possession before rolling a low shot into the corner to level the match.
Neither side were able to fashion a lead before the interval, Din McLaughlin and Kevin Hardtop trading points as the sides went in at 1-5 to 0-8.
The second half saw Trasna tighten things up at the back with Eoghan Carlin sweeping up well in front of Kevin McKenna and Daryl McDermott providing the energy out from the back but it still took Ciaran McKenna’s brilliant goal to put some daylight between the sides. Ardmore led, 0-10 to 1-6 when an attack broke down with a wayward pass on Trasna’s left hand side which allowed McLaughlin to break and feed the ball into McKenna. The pass left the forward with plenty to do but he gathered the ball, steeped inside before firing a superb left footed shot back across goal from 20m into the far corner.
From there, Trasna never looked back, Murray and Quigley quickly tagging on points as William McLaughlin’s limited options to change things from his bench were exposed.
Al McLaughlin did have one effort strike a post late on with only three points in it but Trasna always had the extra gear to prove exactly why they are most people’s tip to be playing Division Two football next year.