Cockhill Celtic had striker Garbhan Friel to thank after his brace at Drumkeen United sent them back on top of the Ulster Senior League.
Drumkeen United 0
Cockhill Celtic 2
Drumkeen had gone into the match with a flawless record having won six from six against the Inishowen team’s 17 points from seven matches.
On 19 minutes, referee Tommy McAree dismissed Christopher Kyle for a high challenge on Liam O’Donnell. It was a big call and although some claimed Kyle’s challenge might’ve only been deserving of a yellow card, it was a little high.
Either way, the sending off changed the game and Drumkeen tried to play a containing game.
Malachy McDermott tested Paul McCauley in the home goal but a minute before half-time the deadlock was finally broken.
Centre-back William O’Connor made his way forward and crossed from the right flank to Friel.
The Cockhill frontman stole a yard of space in the penalty area to loop a header back across goal and just inside the post.
Conor Carlin was living a lonesome life as Drumkeen’s sole forward but he almost fashioned a leveller when he chased a seemingly lost cause and drew a shot just wide of Gavin Cullen’s upright.
That was as close as Drumkeen would come and if there was to be a second goal it was always more likely that Cockhill would net it.
On 65 minutes, Friel was at it again. Following a cross into the area from substitute Peter Doherty, Friel headed past McCauley from close range.
Going for broke, Drumkeen’s Mark Marley fizzed a shot wide and at the other end, McCauley recovered in the nick of time to keep a Derek Doherty shot out after spilling the initial effort.
Drumkeen United: Paul McCauley; Seamus ‘Nanny’ Friel, Ryan Gildea, Seamus ‘Coshia’ Friel, Benny Bonner; Gavin Reilly (Alan Gethins 59), Chris Kyle, David Shovlin (Philip Whyte 74), Mark Marley; Conor Carlin, Richard Moore (Eunan Kelly 65).
Cockhill Celtic: Gavin Cullen; Ciaran McLaughlin, Johnny Havlin, William O’Connor, Oisin McColgan (Peter Doherty 44); Liam O’Donnell, Derek Doherty (Pauric McKinney 85), Malachy McDermott, Mark Moran (Christy McLaughlin 88); Gerard McLaughlin, Garbhan Friel.
Referee: Tommy McAree.