Saul v Drumgath ACFL Division 3
With both sides starting the season strongly, this was always going to be a tense affair and so it proved at St Patrick’s Park on Friday night. Top of the table Drumgath have always enjoyed playing in Saul and the home side started with a determination to make this visit much less enjoyable and put themselves on equal terms in the division three league table. Attacking from the throw-in, Pierce Laverty had a goal bound shot well saved by Parsons putting it out for a 45 which was converted by captain Rory Mullen. Saul kept up the pressure and followed this early score with another by Cathal Arnold, who was moving freely around the scoring zone and laying off good ball to his team mates. Ciaran Harney benefitted from one of these passes and extended the lead to three with a point from twenty metres. Drumgath then began to impose themselves after the early Saul domination and replied with three quick points, the best from corner back Hynes who waltzed through to level the scores after 12 minutes. Saul replied with two quick attacks which should have yielded a goal from the otherwise impressive King who shot wide with the net begging to be hit and a wide from Harney. Drumgath then took the lead for the only time in the game with a point from the accurate boot of Tumelty which was followed by an equaliser from King as he made amends for his earlier miss. The game was flowing now and with both teams committed to attack, the supporters were certainly getting their money’s worth in spite of the rain. With the best move of the half starting at the back and going through Conor Tumelty, Jamie Morgan, Arnold, and finishing with a Mark McGrady shot to the back of the Drumgath net to put Saul 1-04 to 0-04 up. The quick exchange of passes in this move certainly typified the work rate of the blues during the first half. The home support probably expected the lads to kick on from here, but of course we should have known better as Drumgath have proved time and again through the years. A couple of wides from the visitors were followed by another Harney point as he tortured the Drumgath defence and it seemed as if Saul could push on with their advantage at this point. Drumgath, however had different ideas and upped their work rate scoring the final three points of the half, the impressive Tumelty at the heart of each move to leave the minimum between the sides at the break. Saul 1-05, Drumgath 0-07.
The second half proved to be much more defensive as Saul tried to protect their lead and Drumgath tried to restrict the movement of the Saul forwards. Three points from Arnold (2) and McGrady were interspersed with two points from the reliable Tumelty who had a good hour for the South Down men. Another point from Harney in the 21st minute lead to almost ten minutes of patchy play and poor passing from both teams as they searched for the breakthrough to either put the game to bed or get right back in the mix. A lovely point from Mullen seemed to have secured the win for the home team, but a quick reply from Drumgath meant a nervy few seconds before the referee blew for full time and a final score of Saul 1-10, Drumgath 0-11.
Both sides demonstrated why they are at the top of the division three table though many misplaced passes and poor decision making while close to goal showed they also have a lot of work ahead if they want to maintain their progress to date. Best for the visitors were Tumelty and Quinn, with Mahoney, Mullen and McGrady showing well for Saul. No match this week, so plenty of time to work on improving that decision making in front of the posts.