Reserves Claim Championship Title

A brilliant second half performance from Drumragh saw them outscore their opponents by 10 points to deservedly clinch the Division Three championship title following what turned out to be a one-sided decider.

The Sarsfields won the very first championship title in this grade away back in 1983 and they added to their growing tally of success at this level thanks to an accomplished display in this game. It was spearheaded by Gareth Starrs at midfield and helped by three well-taken goals from Eamon Rea and Patrick Roche.

There was a whirlwind start to proceedings in this decider before an attendance of around 200. The desire of both teams to make their mark resulted them grabbing early goals in what was a blitz of scores during the opening minutes.

Gareth Starrs spearheaded the Sarsfields challenge with well-taken points. But their initial confidence was threatened when Errigal grabbed the first goal which arrived when Finbar O’Neill fired home at the second attempt.

It was Drumragh, though, who very much held the edge subsequently. Wind advantage undoubtedly aided their cause, although there was absolutely nothing left to chance as they proceeded to produce a fine display of direct football.

Their response to that goal blow was emphatic. Moments later Patrick Roche capitalised on good work by Eamon Rea to fire home from close range. Another fine long range point from Gareth Starrs ensured that they were deserving leaders by 1-3 to 1-0 approaching the end of the first quarter.

No wonder the Errigal defence had to be on its toes. They were well served in that regard by Eoin McNelis and Mark Hackett whose tenacious efforts helped them to launch a number of attacks and they looked dangerous at times going forward without ever really making that possession count on the scoreboard.

Instead, Drumragh continued to pick off a series of encouraging points. While Paul McGoarty briefly boosted the Errigal total, they fell further behind when Sean McGale and Johnny Edgar raced through. Now the Sarsfields were full value for a 1-5 to 1-1 lead and were keen to consolidate it still further before half-time.

That aim was achieved to a certain extent. Pointed frees from Cathal Gallagher increased their total, although the issue was understandably still very much in the balance on an interval scoreline of 1-7 to 1-3 after Finbar O’Neill and Shane Donaghy responded for Errigal.

All was set for an intriguing and closely contested second half until just about 20 seconds following the resumption of play. It was at that stage that Drumragh struck for their second goal which heralded the start of a dramatic spell of dominance which catapulted them to the title.

It began when Eamon Rea struck that goal and exactly the right time. Now Drumragh found themselves 2-7 to 1-3 ahead and they were in no mood to relinquish control as they pressed ahead subsequently in emphatic fashion.

Further well-taken points in the next few minutes consolidated their dominance. Sean McGale got the first, then Gareth Starrs added another characteristically impressive long range effort, before Shane Devine left them 2-11 to 1-3 ahead.

By now there was only going to be one winner. Errigal responded through Eamon Donnelly entering the final quarter, but even at that stage it was a case of too little to late for the Dunmoyle side.

Instead, Drumragh continued to lead the way in the game and were rewarded with a third goal soon after. On this occasion, Patrick Roche was on hand to tap to the net from close range and finish off a fine move also involving Brendan McGrath and Eamon Rea.

They displayed good determination, too, in preventing their opponents from making an impression on the scoreboard. Errigal Ciaran managed just one more score, a point from Conor Quinlivan near the finish.

But this was Drumragh’s day and they pressed ahead to finish in a flourish of frees, and Gareth Starrs raced through to complete the 3-14 to 1-5 win and lift the siege after Errigal had attempted to snatch a consolation goal.

Take a look at all the photos from the game by clicking ‘Gallery’ on the top menu.

Match Report via The Ulster Herald

Rory Cox

PRO Drumragh Sarsfields - Actionshooter

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