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Dromintee hold off brave Pearse Og comeback in Armagh Senior Championship

Dromintee squeezed into the final round of the Qualifiers in the Senior Championship with a one point victory over Pearse Og last night (Friday).

This was quite a peculiar game, Dromintee shocked not only their opponent,t but also some of their own support with a very strong start.  They took a five point lead after just ten minutes and gradually made it look ridiculously easy getting through the Pearse Og defence as the half stretched on.  The Pearse Og management made a number of changes that paid off in the second half, they looked a completely different side and kept Dromintee scoreless for 29 minutes.  They did close in on the gap, but fell just one point short as Dromintee won 0-12 to 0-11.

Dromintee captain Cathal McKenna, seemed motivated from the start and scored the opening points of the match in a number of minutes, the latter of those was a fine strike from distance.

Dromintee took advantage of Pearse Og slow start and didn’t give them the opportunity to ease their way into the game.  They got three points on the trot, Vincent Martin put one over from 30 yards, Conor Martin fisted a sensible score and Ryan Gaskin made up for an effort that came back off the post minutes before to make it 0-05 to 0-00.

Pearse Og management were obviously worried about this slow start and introduced Sean Hughes in to the game after just 14 minutes.  Their first point came a minute later when Marc Cullen converted a free after Conor Clarke was fouled when charging through for goal.

Clarke got a point of his own on the 17th minute from 40 yards as he tried to inspire his side into raising their game.  No big lift was to come, and Dromintee got their sixth point through Conor Martin soon after.

Martin was taking advantage of huge weaknesses on the left hand side of the Pearse Og defence.  The Dromintee forward seemed to have simply too much space when his side went on the attack.

Ulster All-Star winner Kevin Dyas took Dromintee’s lead back to five with a swaggering point.  He collected the ball on the left hand side and eased his way past the nearest defenders, then latched the ball over in an impressively effortless manner.

All kick outs seemed to be falling into Dromintee hands and they were certainly making the most of possession.  Conor Martin scored yet another with an accurate finish from an awkward angle on the right.

Dromintee added another three points before half time, two coming from Cathal McKenna and one from Conor Martin.

They nearly even got a goal on the 27th minute, Martin O’Rourke sprung off his markers back and smartly timed his run to a catch a long ball forward then fed McKenna through on goal.  McKenna’s shot was well saved by Tim Harney who spread himself well to prevent the ball from squirming past.

Marc Cullen scored a third point for Pearse Og in injury time to make it 0-11 to 0-03 at the break.  There looked to be no way back for the Ogs as they couldn’t find a way to deal with Dromintee’s in midfield, and very rarely got to spring their own attacks.

But who ever had written them off, sure did make their judgement much too soon.  Ogs introduced Sean Moore, who had originally been listed as a starter, at half time and the target man made a difference with his first touch of the ball, scoring on the 31st minute.

Their second of the half came on the 35th minute.   Ronan Clarke who had came into the fray at the shortly before half time, hit a smart pass through to Conor Clarke who knocked over a point, although if he had a little bit more composure he could have pushed for goal.

Pearse Og scored more in the first ten minutes of the second half than they did in the entire first.  Points from Marc Cullen and Michael Carson left it at 0-11 to 0-07 on the 40th minute.

The momentum was with Pearse Og, Shea Freeman tried to close in on the Dromintee goal from the tightest of angles, and his driven shot took a nick off McEvoy’s hand which deflected the ball on to the post and wide.  This resulted in a 45 which was converted by Sean Moore.

Ronan Clarke may have lost his sharpness and that deadly turn through his injuries but he certainly hasn’t lost his hunger for the ball.  He outmuscled at least three Dromintee defenders and collected a high ball that many may have given up on, after collecting it he was immediately fouled and Marc Cullen scored from the free kick.

This point left Pearse Og trailing by just two with ten minutes to go, Dromintee realised that they had to put a lot more effort into their defending or all that hard work in the first half would have been for nothing.

They got more men behind the ball and broke down everything that Pearse Og threw at them, the next score arrived on the 58th minute and it was for the leading side.  Ryan Gaskin found space on the left and comfortably scored his second of the game to make it 0-12 to 0-09.

Pearse Og didn’t give up there, Ronan Clarke won another monstrous ball and fisted it over in a frustrated manner as time was ticking away.  Sean Moore then made it 0-12 to 0-11 with a 45 in the first minute of added time.

This set up quite a frantic finish, the referee allowed the game to roll into four minutes of injury time and Pearse Og piled on the pressure. In their final attack Sean Moore made an effort from 50 yards and fluffed it wide, which was a harsh way to finish the game for Moore as he was truly outstanding and made the big difference in the second half.

Dromintee came into this match as slight underdogs and took everybody by surprise with their first half performance.  Things deteriorated in the second half for them and they were outplayed for the majority of it, but they didn’t panic and remained positive even when Pearse Og were snapping at their heels.  They will now face Carrickcruppen in the final round of the Qualifiers, and the lucky winners of that match will go on to play Crossmaglen in the Quarter Finals.

DROMINTEE: Philip McEvoy; Conor Hoey, Peter Campbell Jr, Anthony Fearon; Donal McKenna, Cathal O’Neill, Ryan Gaskin (0-02); Shane O’Neill, Vincent Martin (0-01); Conor Martin (0-04), Kevin Dyas (0-01), Aaron McKay; Darren McKenna, Martin O’Rourke, Cathal McKenna (0-04)

No substitute scorers

PEARSE OG: Tim Harney; Shaun Gribben, Gerald Barton, Lee McGinley; Michael Carson (0-01), Shea Freeman, Darren Davidson; Chris Rafferty, Darnell Parkinson; Malachy McLaughlin, Conor Clarke 0-02), Justin Graham; Marc Cullen (0-04), Tommy Turley, James Freeman.

Substitute scorers: Sean Moore (0-03), Ronan Clarke (0-01)

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