Drumragh minor boys are through to the league final after a battling victory over Strabane on Sunday afternoon.
A late goal from midfielder Brendan Quinn was the decisive score, and came after five points in-a-row had given Strabane the lead as the game entered injury time.
The game got off to a slow start on the scoring front with both defences making it difficult for the forward lines. The Drumragh full-back line of Carraig McKenna, Mattie O’Donnell and Sean O’Kane all started the match in a determined mood, and were able to stop a number of dangerous attacks from the home side.
Strabane did eventually open the scoring, but Drumragh wasted no time in getting level again when Brendan Quinn powered through the home defence before firing over an excellent point.
The first goal of the game came not long after. A quick counter-attack put a Strabane attacker through one-on-one on goal. Drumragh goalkeeper Dylan Lowry made a wonderful initial save, but another Strabane player was on hand to place the rebound into the back of the net.
Ryan Montgomery answered back for Drumragh with a free after Rory Dolan had been fouled. Good play from Ryan got the ball to Ryan Baxter into an advanced position, Ryan then showed good strength to go past a few defenders and split the posts. A foul on Niall McCarney gave him the chance to bring the teams level, and he made no mistake.
However, Strabane went up to the other end of the field and scored their second goal of the contest. But Drumragh worked hard to ensure they were in front at half-time. Niall McCarney’s pass inside found Rory Dolan in a bit of space, and Rory continued his recent good goalscoring form with a composed finish past the Strabane goalkeeper. Frankie Monk won the kickout that followed, the ball was then moved into the full-forward line where Niall Maguire claimed possession out in front of his marker. Niall was fouled, and Niall McCarney was able to kick the ball over the bar, with the referee blowing the half-time whistle afterwards.
It didn’t take long for Strabane to make it an even game again at the start of the second half, with a well-worked point. But Drumragh responded impressively. Niall Maguire, Oran Devlin and Conor Gormley combined to bring the ball forward. It was then kicked in long, with Niall McCarney winning possession over the heads of the goalkeeper and full-back to finish for a goal.
Drumragh had other chances too. But despite good play from Ryan Montgomery, James Fyffe and Lorcan McGrath, they weren’t able to stretch out their lead.
Strabane then went on a run and five points in-a-row and put them a point up with only minutes remaining. The momentum was all with the home side. So Drumragh deserve a lot of credit for their refusal to accept defeat and battling to get the win.
The subs that came on all had an impact and Drumragh went about working the scores they needed. First, Niall Maguire and Cahir McAnenly combined to put Brendan Quinn through on goal. Brendan could have taken a point, but his bravery was rewarded and his goal put Drumragh up by two points. In the next attack, Ryan Baxter set up Niall McCarney for a point from a tight angle.
Drumragh still had to withstand a couple of Strabane attacks. But Oran Devlin, Sean O’Kane and Lorcan McGrath turned the ball over at the right time, securing Drumragh’s place in the final.
SCORERS: Niall McCarney 1-4, Brendan Quinn 1-1, Rory Dolan 1-0, Ryan Baxter 0-1, Ryan Montgomery 0-1
TEAM: Dylan Lowry, Carraig McKenna, Mattie O’Donnell, Sean O’Kane, Conor Gormley, Oran Devlin, Lorcan McGrath, Brendan Quinn, Ryan Montgomery, Frankie Monk, Cahir McAnenly, Rory Dolan, Ryan Baxter, Niall McCarney, Niall Maguire
SUBS: James Fyffe, Connor McLaughlin, Conor Barrett, Dara Cox, Aidan McCarney, Aaron Lynch