Drum bounce back in championship after victory over '12-man' Sean Dolans
Premier Electrics Derry Junior Football Championship, Group A
Drum 2-11, Sean Dolan's 0-10
Drum breathed life into the 2022 Championship campaign with an impressive seven point victory over a Sean Dolan's side who found themselves down to 12 men for a period of the second half at Gortnahey on Saturday.
Brushed aside by Glack in their opener, St. Colm's bounced back in style with Caolan Hazlett hitting 1-08 and Gavin Hasson and Padhraic Farren producing superb displays despite their side missing a number of regulars. Their cause was helped by the second half dismissal of Dolan's talisman, Odhran McKane, his departure arriving in the middle of two further black cards for the Creggan men who already had keeper Ryan McCloskey in the sin-bin before Gearoid McDermott joined him seconds after McKane was sent off, leaving Ciara McGurk's side three men short for a spell.
Indeed, McKane's red came when an initial yellow for dissent was followed, 60 seconds later by a black card, also for dissent after the Dolan's forward appeared to have been grappled to the floor. His frustration may have been understandable but three black cards and one yellow for dissent inside four minutes will cost you in any championship game.
The city side had cause for complaint with a few decisions, notably how Drum's Francis Murphy escaped black for hauling down Gearoid McDermott after being caught in possession in front of his own goal, but their frustrations at the referee played into Drum's hands. It took Dolan's eyes off a game they looked more than capable of winning. Drum never fully capitalised on the extra men until the final whistle and while the home side deserved the victory, thanks mainly to the performance of Hazlett, Dolan's will be left with a feeling of 'what if'?
St. Colm's set up with a three man inside forward line led by the tall James McCartney who acted as a foil for Hazlett and Dylan Newland, the plan to win turnover ball and hit the front three as early as possible. It worked well but only because Dolan's failed to position a sweeper in front, allowing Hazlett especially much too much room in which to operate and the young forward took full advantage.
At the other end, Drum were able to drop men back and crowd out Dolan's front two of McKane and Kevin Nixon who were given precious little to work due to a tendency to slow the build up play. Dolan's enjoyed most of the early possession but it was Drum who grabbed the early scores, Hazlett and Farren registering inside the opening minute. Mark O'Kane's lovely long range effort got Dolan's on the scoreboard but Drum's pace was already causing bother as Hazlett grabbed two more, the second from an excellent '45' for a 0-4 to 0-1 lead..
Yet just when it looked like Dolan's had done the hard work and gained a foothold, Drum hit them with a classic counter, Hazlett reacting quickest to a high effort which rebounded off the post. The livewire forward's first shot was blocked legitimately but the second was stopped by a Dolan's foot and referee Damien Harkin correctly pointed to the sport. Up stepped Barry Hazlett to fire Drum into a 1-05 to 0-5 interval lead.
The second half was gong tit for tat, Caolan Hazlett scoring for Drum and Nixon with his first for Dolan's. The pattern was repeated by Barry Hazlett and Caolan McCosker, the latter's a lovely solo run and score. Another Caolan Hazlett score however was the cue for the controversy, with Dolan's keeper McCloskey having words with an umpire as he raced to restart, prompting the first black card.
Mark O'Kane did bring it back to a three points game at 1-08 to 0-08 before McKane and McDermott departed and while Dolan's battled gamely, Drum's greater legs was always going to win out from there. The home side edged away with two Hazlett frees but it wasn't until the same player capped his superb display with Drum's second goal on 59 minutes that the game was finally made safe.
The result gives Drum a real chance of qualification with a final Group A match to come against Doire Colmcille while Dolan's must regather themselves for a meeting with group favourites, Glack, who have two wins from two after defeating Colmcille. It's all to play for!
Drum scorers: Caolan Hazlett (1-8, 3f, 1 '45'), Barry Hazlett (1-1, 1pen), Padhraic Farren (0-2)
Sean Dolan's scorers: Odhran McKane (0-3, 3f), Caolan McCosker (0-3), Mark O'Kane (0-2), Paul Melaugh (0-1), Kevin Nixon (0-1),
Drum: Conor O'Kane, Gavin Hasson, Kevin O'Reilly, Niall Burke, Michael McGilligan, Francis Murphy, Barry Hazlett, Alex Moore, Damien Brolly, Padhraic Farren, Caolan McLaughlin, James Millar, Dylan Newland, James McCartney, Caolan Hazlett. (Sub) Stephen McLaughlin for J Millar, 48mins;
Yellow cards: F Murphy, 12mins; C McLaughlin, 42mins;
Sean Dolan's: Ryan McCloskey, Liam McNulty, Joe Gallagher, Ryan McLaughlin, Gary Fisher, Caoimhinn Thompson, Caolan McCosker, Paul Melaugh, Paul Clifford, Mark O'Kane, Gearoid McDermott, Luke Clarke, Ruairi McGurk, Odhran McKane, Kevin Nixon. (Subs) Ruairi Thompson for L McNulty (inj), 18mins; Ryan Deery for L Clarke, 37mins; Sean O'Donnell for R McGurk, 44mins; Brian Houston for M O'Kane, 53mins;
Yellow Cards: R Thompson, 18mins; C McCosker, 19mins; O McKane, 38mins; Ga Fisher, 57mins. (Black Cards) R McCloskey, 37mins; O McKane, 39mins; G McDermott, 40mins. (Red Card) O McKane, 39mins
Referee: Damien Harkin