Ulster Senior League champions Fanad United came from a goal down against Drumkeen United during the season opener at Trialough on Saturday afternoon.
Fanad United 2
Drumkeen United 1
Ollie Horgan’s side went behind when Sean Ferry scored on 13 minutes but the hosts levelled through Brian Lafferty’s free-kick on 28 minutes before forcing an interval lead 10 minutes later when Seamus ‘Nanny’ Friel poked home.
Drumkeen’s plans were muffled inside of 15 minutes when right-back Justin Deasley pulled up with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Chris Kyle. They made light of the inconvenience, though, when they posted the first goal of the new season moments later.
Richard Moore did well to get inside of Kieran Gorman in the Drumkeen inside right channel and centred to Sean Ferry. The centre forward planted the ball well just inside Lee McFadden’s post for the opener.
And with Drumkeen having drawn four successive cup games this far this term, Fanad would have to do things the hard way if they were to get off on a positive first step.
However, they were level thanks to a perfectly executed free-kick from Lafferty, who curled the ball over the Drumkeen wall from the edge of the penalty area and into Paul McAuley’s top corner.
From there, Fanad continued on the front foot and were rewarded with a second goal some seven minutes before half-time. To that point, Drumkeen had been defending resolutely but when Seamus ‘Coshia’ saw his namesake Seamus ‘Nanny’ Friel make a run, a perfectly weighted ball set the midfielder clear of the Drumkeen centre-halves. McAuley had to rush from his line but Friel got the touch to put his team in front.
Play was patchy in the second half on a bumpy pitch and there were some competitive challenges peppering in from both sides. Drumkeen had a couple of openings but Ferry went for goal when there were options inside, while Kyle Black, at the other end, headed just over following a cross from Lafferty.
Drumkeen squealed for a penalty in the dying embers when Gavin Reilly smashed the ball at Declan O’Donnell but referee Stephen Toner shook his head. Fanad then almost put things to bed when Black, following a fine cross from substitute Brian McVeigh, saw his pop at goal blocked by Mark Marley.
And so Fanad’s defence is up and running but Drumkeen showed once again they are no pushover for any side.
Fanad United: Lee McFadden; Declan O’Donnell, Seamus ‘Coshia’ Friel, Kieran Gorman, Shaun McElwaine; Brian Lafferty (Brian McVeigh 80), Seamus ‘Nanny’ Friel, Paul Friel (Ryan Toland 72), Mark Friel; Eunan Kelly (David O’Herlihy 86), Kyle Black.
Drumkeen United: Paul McAuley; Justin Deasley (Chris Kyle 11), Ray Quinn, Shaun Gallagher, Gavin Reilly; Gary Patton, Philip Whyte, Mark Marley, Benny Bonner; Sean Ferry, Richard Moore.
Referee: Stephen Toner.