Downpatrick’s first match back in the Premier League turned out to be a fantastic result against local neighbours Drumaness Mills, click on the link below to find out who were the masterminds behind this impressive victory… Match report by Charlie McStay from the Down Recorder.
Downpatrick FC 7 v Drumaness Mills 1
NEVER in their wildest dreams did Downpatrick ever imagine such a start to their tenure back in the top flight. However, even their most ardent supporters were flummoxed by the way Drumaness folded in the second half after the first 45 minutes produced a 1-1 scoreline.
The first half was a bit drab with little to enthuse about from either side, but what a transformation after the break as Downpatrick played some delightful football with Dutch Master Mark Holland lighting the place up with an imperious display. Both sides were far from being at full strength, but Downpatrick were first to show and with only two minutes gone Ricky Kerr was bundled over in the box by Brendan Ward. Referee Keith Hughes was unimpressed by Downpatrick’s claims for a penalty and waved play on.
Four minutes later Niall Walsh broke up a Mills attack and played the ball out wide to Andy Baggley who took one look before sending Stevie Galbraith scampering clear. The Downpatrick hitman left Johnny Ewing for dead before racing in on Conan Russell and beating him with the first of his hat-trick goals.
Drumaness hit back immediately and Michael McKenna saved well from James McGivern after Philip Rogan had played him in.
McKenna also saved well from Andy Carberry as Drumaness started to dominate, but it took them to the 38th minute to equalise when Rogan fired home from the edge of the box after Downpatrick failed to deal with a Gary Murdock free kick. This equaliser was no more than Drumaness deserved and they were now the dominant force. Galbraith then went close at the opposite end before McKenna clawed away a goal bound effort from Paul Walsh.
Half Time: Downpatrick FC 1 v Drumaness Mills 1
Nobody, but nobody was prepared for what happened over the next 45 minutes as Downpatrick went nap. Three minutes in Kerr beat two defenders for pace out on the left flank and put the ball on a plate for Aaron McGarry to make it 2-1. It was 3-1 eight minutes later when McGarry and Kerr set up Galbraith who showed great composure before beating Russell from close in.
Drumaness were now being carved open every time Downpatrick attacked and Galbraith shot wide in the 64th minute after more magic from Kerr. Kerr continued to shine and with 67 minutes gone he blocked an attempted clearance from Russell and crossed for Baggley to make it 4-1. Things went from bad to worse for Drumaness when they lost Ward — their best player on the day — to a red card after picking up a second yellow when he fouled Holland in the box. Galbraith duly converted the resultant penalty to mark his return to the club after a year away at Ballynagross and Ardglass.
McGarry, another Downpatrick player to impress, then released McGrady and he did the rest with an accomplished finish to make it 6-1. The best was saved for last and it certainly was the icing on the cake. Holland surged forward from the back, and crated an overlap as Downpatrick played a possession game in the middle of the park. The ageless Holland then played an intricate one-two with McGarry, bombed into the box and beat Russell with an assured shot to the net.
Downpatrick: M McKenna, B Fitzsimons, C McDowell, N Walsh, M Holland, A McGarry, C McGrady, A Baggley, A McCoubrey, R Kerr, S Galbraith. Subs: C Holland, B Connolly, C McCarron.
Drumaness Mills: C Russell, E Wright, J Ewing, B Ward, G Murdock, P Walsh, J McGivern, S McQuoid, B McIlmurray, A Carberry, P Rogan. Subs: S Gorman, P McCartan, T McConville
Match Sponsor: Eamon P McGrady & Co Accountants