IFC: Drumconrath survive relegation playoff
13 September 2008
Drumconrath defender Pete McMahon
Drumconrath ensured their intermediate status at Pairc Tailteann when defeating a stubborn Ballivor side who now face Oldcastle in a do or die situation to avoid junior football for next season.
Drums bold decision to install clubman Ronan McGahon as coach after the defeat to Castletown played a big part in this victory as his influnance brought flair to a team, who hampered by injury and suspension, did not have a League or Championship win since February.
Ballivor started best and pointed early on as Drumconrath with plenty of possession seemed intent on not scoring in the first half as indeed they kicked a total of seven wides, many from favourable poisitions. Jamie Myles leveled the game on seven minutes with a good score from the right but a couple of needlessly conceded frees left Ballivor 0-3 to 0-1 ahead at the end of the first quarter which also seen Drums pressed into a forced substitution as Brian Flanagan retired injured.
Drumconrath began to use the open spaces of Pairc Tailteann with Padraig McMahon proving a good target man at full forward and lively corner forwards Alan Byrne and Derek Duff giving the Ballivor backs plenty to do. Drums played direct football a neat ball in from Austin Hickey found Duff whose quick thinking left Byrne in a one on one with Ballivor keeper Ray McKeown and Byrne made no mistake. Leighton Irwin added a point but Ballivor did notch the last score of the half to trail by 1 point at the break.
Drums opened the secondd half best but again three wides on the trot gave Ballivor hope as they leveled the match on 35 minutes. Points from play from Byrne and Irwin followed as Drumconrath found their range and then a well taken goal from Terry Skelly, who now was having a big influence on the game, put the Reds in the driving seat and into a five points ahead. Skelly then set up Christopher Tighe for a well taken score.
Ballivor responded with two points as Drums managed another four wides to bring there tally to 14 for the game but Byrne stopped the rot after a goal chance for Skelly was blocked he neatly chipped over from close range. Irwin pointed a free after a foul on Duff as Sean Kane in the Drumconrath goals pulled off a good save after a rare Ballivor attack.
Drums defense marshaled well by captain and club stalwart Pete McMahon coped well with whatever Ballivor had to offer but they did manage two late pointed frees. Byrne pointed a free at the other end in added time after a foul on lively sub Graham Tighe to finish the scoring.
All players in the famous Red jersey played their part with Pete McMahon outstanding, Sean Kane coped well with any danger and was well protected by Kevin Flanagan, Peter Tighe, Stephan Crosby and Paul Carey at the back, at midfield Hickey and Irwin worked hard and used the ball well while the speed of Duff, Byrne, Myles and was completed by the class of Skelly and the hard working Padraig McMahon and Christopher Tighe up front. Subs Wesley Byrne and Graham Tighe contributed well in a good team performance.
Drumconrath - Sean Kane; Peter Tighe, Kevin Flanagan, Brian Flanagan; Stephan Crosby, Pete McMahon, Paul Carey; Austin Hickey, Leighton Irwin (0-3); Jamie Myles (0-1), Terry Skelly (1-0), Christopher Tighe (0-1); Alan Byrne (1-3), Padraig McMahon, Derek Duff. Subs - Wesley Byrne for B. Flanagan, Graham Tighe for Carey, Patrick Carolan for Padraig McMahon and Alan Dunne for Duff.