Dunloy, Ballymena

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Drum Made To Dig Deep By Doire Colmcille

Drum driving forward in the closing stages.

St Colm’s GAC 1-15 Doire Colmcille 3-07

With 28 minutes gone Drum held an eight-point lead in this Premier Electric Derry JFC Group A clash at Celtic Park, but a superb Malachy Campbell goal on the stroke of half-time set up a revival that almost caught St Colm’s.

Three finishes of the highest quality were the signatures of this highly entertaining game of football as Campbell and Ciaran Curran played to the stadium, if not the crowd and ran Drum to the pin of their collars.

It took a late burst led by the industrious Niall Ferris and Seamus O’Kane to finally clinch victory and a place in the final four of the competition for the side who spent last season in the second flight.

Underdogs Doire Colmcille were determined not to repeat their showing against Glack and flashed an early chance just wide of Eunan O’Hara’s right post but it was Seamus O’Kane who gave Drum the lead with a well-struck free in the 3rd minute.

A Michael McCallion free had the city men back on terms but Niall Burke latched onto a loose ball three minutes later to restore Drum’s lead before points from Ferris and Cathaoir McCloskey extended their lead to three.

McCallion again replied for Doire Colmcille but a Kevin O’Reilly reply proved the precursor to Drum’s first goal, Conor O’Kane bundling a high ball from Niall Ferris past the unfortunate Michael Nash to double their lead.

Cathaoir McCloskey and Ryan Loughran traded frees before an outside-foot effort from Seamus O’Kane and a Kevin O’Reilly free left the gap sitting ominously at eight points.

Then on the stroke of half time Malachy Campbell collected the ball in midfield and drove straight at the Drum defence and caught them off guard by unleashing a rocket into the top corner of O’Hara’s net. The St Colm’s netminder got a hand to it but the trajectory barely flinched.

Campbell’s goal sparked Doire Colmcille into life and a Ryan Loughran point opened their second-half account before the city men stunned Drum with yet another major, Ciaran Curran collecting a pass 20 yards from goal and lacing a shot across the Celtic Park turf into the bottom corner.

Loughran followed with a further point and six minutes into the second half, scores were level and Doire Colmcille were a team transformed. Dogged defence from Daniel Smyth forced a turnover and when worked up the pitch Loughran once again found the target to give his side an unlikely lead.

St Colm’s were creaking and their wide-count slowly rising but Doire Colmcille were dealt a blow when they lost full back Eamon Gillen to a second yellow in the 45th minute.

Drum regrouped and braces from Kevin O’Reilly and Niall Ferris appeared to have calmed any fraying nerves, but again Doire Colmcille came at them, Loughran putting three between them with a short-range free before another Campbell stunner levelled matters again.

Collecting on the wing this time, the half-forward again drove at goal and hammered the ball to the roof of the net from a tight angle to see them level with just one minute of normal time remaining.

From the kickout however, Drum managed to win a free 40 yards out in front of the posts and up stepped Seamus O’Kane to break Drum hearts with the free, adding another in the dying embers to compound their misery.

A stirring game in Celtic Park and Drum will be relieved to have weathered the storm and reached the last four. Ahead lies an effective dead-rubber clash with Glack who also clinched their final four place today. Doire Colmcille will also face a meaningless game against Sean Dolan’s.

Doire Colmcille: Michael Nash, Piaras Ó Donghaile, Eamon Gillen, Fiachra Ó Donghaile, Ultan Clancy, Matthew Carlin, Daniel Smyth, Ciaran Curran (1-00), Matthew McDermott, Damien Watson, Ryan Loughran (0-03, 0-02f), Malachy Campbell (2-00), Michael McCallion (0-02f), Richard Stewart, Joseph McCartie.

Subs: Ben Smyth for Ultan Clancy 49', Harry Curran for Joseph McCartie 52'

St Colm’s GAC Drum: Eunan O’Hara, Rory Carlin, Alex Moore, Seamus O’Kane (0-02, 0-02f), Niall Ferris (0-03), Damian Brolly, Niall Burke (0-01), Gabriel Farren, Marc McLaughlin, Conor O’Kane (1-00), James McCartney, Ryan O’Kane, Kevin O’Reilly (0-01, 0-05f), Rory O’Reilly, Cathaoir McCloskey (0-01).

Subs: Caolan McLaughlin for Niall Burke 43'

Referee: Alan Nash (Doire Trasna)

Man of the Match: Niall Ferris (St Colm's)