by Paul McClean
All County Football League Division 2
Dunloy Cuchullains 1-09 Tir Na Nog Randalstown 1-09
Dunloy and Randalstown shared the points in this Division 2 encounter despite the home side being down to 14 men for most of the game. In a closely fought game the loss of Gabriel McTaggart was a bad blow for the Cuchullains but they battled on bravely to earn a share of the spoils.
Tir Na nOg opened the scoring with a Pearse Sheerin point which was cancelled out soon after with a trio of scores from a Keelan Molly (2) and Nigel Elliott to open a 2-point gap, but the visitors then took control of the game and for the next ten minutes laid siege on the Cuchullains goal as they hit an impressive 1-03 without reply.
During that period the home side lost Gabriel McTaggart for an off the ball tackle which referee Paul McKeever deemed worthy of a red card. To make matters worse Randalstown got that first goal of the game when a well worked move saw C Duffin hammer the ball to the roof of the net as the visitors pushed on to open up a 1-04 to 0-3 half time lead.
Nigel Elliott and another Keelan Molloy free saw Dunloy come out in the second half showing their intent to close the gap to 0-05 to 1-04 but the extra man was counting for the Randalstown men restored their four point cushion with points from Darren O’Kane and Ciaran Logan.
However despite being down to fourteen men the home side were beginning to control the pace of the game and showing more attacking intent, but were guilty of kicking some bad wides during this period. A big score was needed and Miceal Murphy was in the right place to hammer home Dunloy’s only goal. Keelan Molloy and Nigel Elliott worked the ball down the sideline to deliver the ball into the box which Murphy dispatched to the roof of the net.
It was the spur the home side needed as they kicked 3 unanswered points from the boot of Declan McGarry, Keelan Molloy and Nigel Elliott to pull 1-08 to 1-06 clear.
The extra man was always a factor and it began to pay dividends for Tir Na nOg as the game reached the latter stages as they started to find space more easily up front to work the shooting chances. Christy Sheerin levelled the game up with 5mins to go with a well taken score as the away side looked the more likely to push on and win it.
With only 2 mins left corner forward Coogan with 2 defenders on him kicked the ball over his head to put the Randalstown men up by 1 point but with the game ‘on the blow’ Eoin O’Neill deservedly levelled things up for the home side with a well taken point. O’Neill actually had the chance to win the game in injury time but his well struck shot from a narrow angle went inches to the wrong side of the post and into the side netting, so in the end the honours were shared.