Drum 2-13, Ogra Colmcille 0-10
Drum went into this game as hot favourites with Faughanvale their expected opponents in the final and that’s how things turned out but both clubs had to dig deep to justify the favourites tag.
Indeed for most of the first half, neither of the games were going to script, both Ogra Colmcille at Owenbeg and Faughanvale at Celtic Park suggesting surprises could be in store.
But as Ogra Colmcille coach, Ronan Devlin, admitted after the game this Owenbeg clash, “It’s a cliché but the goals were killer blows.
“We started to lose possession in midfield. We just made a lot of mistakes and to be fair to Drum they punished us for our mistakes. After that, heads seemed to drop and that’s not like the boys.
“But Drum kicked on. They brought on a couple of very speedy substitutes and they made a big difference.”
There was just over 200 at Owenbeg last Friday evening and they witnessed a storming start from the Drummullan side with Barry Kelly on hand to snap a loose ball that came back off the bar to open the scoring in the third minute.
Moments later Ogra Colmcille were raiding again and the pacy Thomas Devlin doubled the lead.
Drum were at sixes and sevens as Ogra Colmcille attacked from deep with sweeping passing movements that unhinged their defensive formation.
Thomas Devlin drilled the ball over the bar from a Martin McVey pass and the dynamic Shane Devlin burst forward to score the fourth Ogra Colmcille point in the eighth minute.
Rory O’Reilly did break the Colmcille scoring sequence from a free when a free but Ogra hit back immediately with an outstanding point from Cormac Murphy.
At 0-05 to 0-01 adrift after 10 minutes Drum were in a spot of bother as Assistant Manager, Jason Hazlitt, admitted. “We made a very poor start but last week was the same against Magilligan when we were nervous and panicky,” explained Hazlitt, “Maybe they just let the occasion get to them again.
“But we have a lot of leaders in that team and they stepped up to get us the goal in the first half to steady us and within a few minutes we were level. We stabilised from there because Ogra did play very well in the first half, their tackling, movement and passing were first class. They surprised us in the first half. They were brilliant in that first half.”
The Drum goal came in the 11th minute when James McCartney powered through the Ogra defence to blast the ball over the head of keeper Ryan McGuckin to the roof of the net.
McCartney then turned provider as he set up Rory O’Reilly for the equalising point, the latter again levelling the score from a free in the 17th minute after the accurate Thomas Devlin had also pointed a free.
Two minutes later Drum took the lead for the first time when the outstanding Donal Brolly was fouled and Conor O’Reilly converted the free.
But Ogra Colmcille came back, after a 10-minute scoring hiatus, to tie the scores for the third time with Thomas Devlin again on target, as he would do in added time at the end of the first half after Niall Burke again put Drum in front.
After the final whistle a still breathless Hazlitt responded to the suggestion they would have been worried at half time with the 0-08 to 1-05 score line.
“That’s an understatement. As in the first half against Magilligan, we did not perform in the first half as we should have but we got the players into the dressing room at the break and addressed the areas of concern. There was a bit of a reshuffle, made a couple of changes in personnel and some positional switches, and our bench won us the game. They made a big difference in the second half.”
Drum brought on Shane Miller and Corey O’Reilly for the start of the second half and within seven minutes they were in control. But they had to endure some wayward finishing in the opening minutes, with three poor wides, before Conor O’Reilly settled them with the lead point.
Straight from the restart Drum sliced through the heart of the Ogra defence and Donal Brolly took a pass from Rory O’Reilly and bulleted the ball over the head of keeper McGuckin for the second goal and a 2-06 to 0-08 lead
Soon that lead was five points when Conor O’Reilly was in position to capitalise from a strong run by Donal Brolly.
From that point onwards the game began to slip away from Ogra, their composure and discipline waning.
Thomas Devlin did point a free in 42nd minute and Ryan Taylor got another midway through the half but that would be the sum total of their finishing in the second half.
Three times Rory O’Reilly pointed frees, Niall Farren scoring a fine point in the 43rd minute moments after he came on as a substitute.
In the closing minutes Ogra Colmcille’s Phillip Muldoon was red carded, Rory O’Reilly and Damian Brolly closing out the game with two excellent points.
“We try to play decent football but every team now is dropping players back and attacking from there and we have had to do the same but our passing and movement was sharper and it paid off in the second half,” added Hazlitt.
“The conditions were much better than in the Magilligan game and that helped us play our running game.
Rory (O’Reilly) scored some vital frees when we needed them. Last week when he went off in the first half injured it cost us as we missed a few frees and that took the momentum out of our play. But tonight he was there for the full game and he was getting frees himself, slotting them over and showed great leadership in the forward line.”
Now Drum, who lost narrowly to Faughanvale in the early part of the competition, meet title favourites Faughanvale again and it was put to Hazlitt that they would have to improve again to have a chance of upsetting the odds in the final.
“We have reached the final the hard way from Glack in the first round, Faughanvale, Magilligan, Ogra Colmcille tonight and now we have to face Faughanvale again. But that’s what we’re here for. We are trying to build this wee club back up again. This last few years we have just been existing in the junior division but we are looking to build, to win a championship, to get promotion. We are in the final, so we have a chance now.”
The fixture ended on a controversial note with the Derry C.C.C. certain to want to investigate an incident in which it has been alleged referee Brendan Quinn was assaulted following the final whistle.
Drum scorers were Rory O’Reilly 0-07 (5f), Conor O’Reilly 1-01, James McCartney and Donal Brolly 1-00 each, Conor O’Reilly 0-03 (1f), Niall Burke, Mark McLaughlin, Damian Brolly free
The Ogra Colmcille scorers were Thomas Devlin 0-06, 0-04 frees, Shane Devlin 0-02, Marc McLaughlin, Niall Burke, Barry Kelly, Damian Brolly and Cormac Murphy 0-01 each
Drum: Cahair O’Kane; Liam Miller, Alex Moore, Kevin O’Reilly; Damian Brolly, Shaun McGlade, Conor O’Kane; Ryan O’Kane, James McCartney; Ryan O’Reilly, Donal Brolly, Conor O’Reilly; Niall Burke, Ryan O’Hara, Rory O’Reilly. (Subs) Niall Farren for C O’Reilly 42 mins; Mark McLaughlin for S McGlade 57 mins; Seamus O’Kane for N Burke 59 mins.
Ogra Colmcille: Ryan McGuckin; Niall Bradley, Aidan Hanna, Ciaran Cassidy; Declan Campbell, Shane Devlin, Chris Bates; Cormac Murphy, Conor Ward; Mark Collins, Ryan Taylor, Niall Martin; Barry Kelly, Martin McVey, Thomas Devlin. (Subs) Mark McLaughlin for R O’Hara (Blood Sub) 9 mins - Rreversaled 14 mins; Shane Miller for Ryan O’Reilly H-T; Corey O’Reilly for R O’Hara, H-T; Phillip Muldoon for N Martin, 38 mins; David O’Neill for Barry Kelly (Black Card Replacement) 51 mins
Referee Brendan Quinn (Ballinascreen)