BA Mullan & Son Under 16C Football Championship Final
[Thursday 11th September 2014]
Drumsurn 5-11 St. Michael's 2-05                                       ( Mid Ulster Observer Wednesday 17th September 2014 )

Well drilled Drumsurn have too much pace and scoring power

Drumsurn laid the foundations for this comfortable fifteen point win over a St. Michael's side, which battled bravely to the final whistle, with a scintillating first hald display that saw them lead 2-06 to 0-01 after twenty minutes.

In that period the outstanding Dara Rafferty and Tiarnan McHugh dominated the midfield exchanges, despite some enterprising play from Martin McGonigle and James Gaile.

Whereas Drumsurn made excellent use of the possession won in the middle third, with Dara Rafferty and Ruairi Rafferty cutting swathes through the St. Michael's defence to create scoring opportunities that were mostly taken, St Michael's often took too much out of the ball and frequently had it overturned in the final third.

They were unfortunate four minutes from half time when Jack McGonigle broke clean through the Drumsurn defence but fisted the ball straight to Drumsurn keeper Ronan Rafferty with only the keeper to beat.

It may well have been that the St. Michael's player mistook the Drumsurn keeper for one of his own as the later was wearing a white jersey that was very similar to the St. Michael's jerseys!

St. Michael's did finish the half with a goal for 2-07 to 1-01 and had a good spell after half time to close the gap significantly ten minutes into the half.

However Drumsurn reasserted their authority in the middle third and a tiring St. Michael's faded completely in the vast expanses of the Owenbeg pitch as Drumsurn, who will have all but one of this team available again next season, racked up the scores at will.

Within fifteen seconds Tiarnan McHugh had dissected the posts, the ball having been moved quickly forward between Dara Rafferty and Ruairi Rafferty from the throw in.

Drumsurn were in the ascendancy in the early minutes but Eoin Mackay defended well on a Dara Rafferty '45", Martin McGonigle then missing the posts when Sean Butcner fouled Adam O'Kane.

In the 4th minute Dara Rafferty curled a 30 metre free just inside the post when Ruairi Rafferty was fouled, James Gaile getting St. Michael's solitary point of the first period after six minutes for 0-02 to 0-01 .

In the next five minutes Drumsurn plundered three unanswered points, Shay Murray taking a Ruairi Rafferty pass at pace to race through for a point, Dara Rafferty adding another from thirty metres, Tiarnan McHugh then taking the ball from a Dara Rafferty pass from a free and bursting through a couple of challenges to extend the lead to 0-05 to 0-01.

Sean Butcher was off target from a Caolan McIntyre pass, Conor Foster sending the ball against the woodwork with Tiarnan McHugh widing the rebound.

Ten minutes from half time Ruairi Rafferty pointed a free for 0-06 to 0-01 when Shay Murray was fouled.

Dara Rafferty then forced a '45' and found Tiarnan McHugh from the free and he put Drumsurn in total control with a well taken goal.

Dylan Brady replaced Conor Foster and his first action was to bundle the ball to the net from a Bob Welsby pass for 2-06 to 0-01 five minutes from the short whistle.

In the closing minutes of the half Brady was fouled and Ruairi Rafferty pointed the free, James Gaile netting from an Eoin Mackey pass in the final play of the half.

St. Michael's came out for the second half full of determination and dominated the opening eight minutes, Martin McGonigle on hand to knock the ball to the net after, substitute Tom Mullan had a close range shot blocked in the goal mouth.

Points from Kevin Moran, Oran Canning and Jack McGonigle had given St. Michael's the belief before the second goal and a further point from Martin McGonigle brought them to within touching distance of Drumsurn at 2-07 to 2-05.

However any hopes of a stunning comeback were soon dashed, Ruairi Rafferty sent a teasing ball across the goalmouth and Sean Butcher fisted it to the net to put Drumsurn back in control with a five point cushion nine minutes into the second half.

Two minutes later Tiarnan McHugh was held and Dara Rafferty dropped the ball invitinly into the goalmouth. By this time McHugh had made his way into that sector and he fielded superbly, made room and blasted the ball to the net.

Shay Murray added a point, Dylan Brady and Tiarnan McHugh also hitting a point each as St. Michael's struggled to cover the breaks.

Just before the full time whistle Dara Rafferty and Dylan Brady, who made quite an impact off the bench, linked to provide Ruairi Rafferty with an opening and he made no mistake with a low shot to the net.

Tiarnan McHugh had the final score of the game, Drumsum convincing and deserving winners.

After the game Brian Og Mullan of sponsors BA Mullan & Son presented the cup to Drumsurn captain Sean Butcher.

Ronan Rafferty; Caolan McIntyre, Jim McCartney, Daniel McNicholl; Sean Butcher (1-00)(Capt), Bob Welsby, Dara Rafferty (0-02, 0-01 free), Tiarnan McHugh (2-04), Conor Foster, Ruairi Rafferty (1-02, 0-02 frees), Shay Murray (0-02)

Dylan Brady (1-01) for Conor Foster, 19 mins; Tiarnan Woods for Caolan McIntyre 28 mins; Johnny McLaughlin for Shay Murray 47 mins; Sean Irwin for Bob Welsby 47 mins; Conor Rafferty for Daniel McNicholl 47 mins; Dylan Kane for Jim McCartney 50 mins