Drinagh Rangers deliver huge title blow to nearest rivals Clonakilty Soccer Club

February 19th, 2023 12:00 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Drinagh Rangers' Jamie Walsh battling with Clonakilty SC's Ferdia McCarthy during their Premier division tie. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

Share this article




RED-HOT striker Barry O’Driscoll (H) broke the 20-goal barrier this season as his brace pushed defending Premier Division champions Drinagh Rangers closer to league glory.

O’Driscoll scored the 20th and 21st goals of another prolific season as league leaders Drinagh won away to title rivals Clonakilty Soccer Club on Sunday.

Drinagh had a three-point lead on Clonakilty before kick-off, and a game in hand, and as results fell their way – Bunratty United (third) and Mizen Hob A (fourth) drew 1-1 earlier in the day – they have assumed pole position.

Drinagh Rangers' Barry O'Driscoll (H) tries to get past Clonakilty SC's James Horan during the Premier Division clash at Darrara.


The host’s Joe Edmead scorched a half-volley inches over inside the first minute and set the tone for a high-octane opening half. Drinagh settled and twice went close to opening the scoring through Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Eoin Hurley. Ciarán O’Regan and Tom McQueen’s intelligent use of the ball kept Rangers on the front foot as a lively encounter remained scoreless after ten minutes.

Clonakilty should have taken the lead on the quarter-hour. First, Donal O’Donovan deflected Iain O’Driscoll’s effort from the edge of the six-yard box away to safety. Then, Ciarán O’Regan brilliantly headed off his goal-line. The home team continued to press, and a superb Joe Edmead run saw the Clonakilty striker tee up Sean Lawless for an opening goal after 19 minutes. Lawless’ cool finish matched the quality of Edmead’s approach.

Rangers immediately upped the tempo and Barry O’Driscoll (H) sprung the offside trap only to be denied by Seamus O’Brien. Clon reminded their opponents of their attacking quality when Chris Collins’ 25-yard volley was magnificently tipped away by Jack Payne-Murphy for a corner. Rangers finished the half on the attack with Robbie McQueen crossing for his brother Tom to sizzle a first-time attempt inches wide.

Clonakilty SC's Seán Lawless takes on Drinagh Rangers' Ciarán O'Regan during the WCL premier division at Darrara.


Unsurprisingly, Rangers pushed higher up the pitch during the third quarter. Experienced campaigner Barry O’Driscoll (H)’s awareness and movement repeatedly pulled Clonakilty’s defence out of position.

The visitors were unable to make inroads until a turning point after 54 minutes. A corner kick forced a Clonakilty player to handle the ball and deny Drinagh an equaliser. Rangers were awarded a penalty despite Clon’s protestations that goalkeeper Seamus O’Brien was impeded during the build-up. Barry O’Driscoll (H) expertly converted the resulting spot-kick. 

A rampant Drinagh went within centimetres of moving ahead when Ciarán O’Regan’s first-time strike scraped an upright five minutes later. Clon centre-backs Reuben Henry and Paul Daly kept their opposing attack at bay during that difficult spell. The hosts remained compact at the back and conjured up a superb chance on 75 minutes. Jonathan Leahy met an in-swinging corner with a header that rebounded off the crossbar.

A draw looked on the cards until Rangers capitalised on the home side’s inability to clear a free-kick. Barry O’Driscoll (H) seized on the loose ball and netted from ten yards to make it 2-1 after 80 minutes.

Clonakilty committed additional numbers forward for a succession of set-pieces during the closing stages. Drinagh defended competently however, and repelled five corners before Joe Edmead was denied in a one-on-one with Jack Payne-Murphy.

The visitors' celebrations at the final whistle underlined the importance of the three points in this title race.

Clonakilty Soccer Club: Seamus O’Brien, Ferdia McCarthy, Reuben Henry, Paul Daly, James Horan, Gearoid Calnan, Rob Downey, Chris Collins (captain), Sean Lawless, Joe Edmead, Iain O’Driscoll. Subs: Jonathan Leahy, Odhran Bancroft, King Iyallah, Shane Buttimer, John Hayes.

Drinagh Rangers: Jack Payne-Murphy, Gearoid White (captain), JJ Collins, Donal O’Donovan, Barry O’Driscoll (T), Ciarán O’Regan, Tom McQueen, Robbie McQueen, Barry O’Driscoll (H), Jamie Walsh, Eoin Hurley. Subs: Robert Oldham, Ian Jennings, Daniel McCarthy, Keith Jagoe, Sean Calnan, Owen Tobin, Harry Carey.

Referee: Shane O’Neill.

Share this article

Related content


to our mailing list for the latest news and sport:

Thank You!

You have successfully been subscribed to SouthernStar newsletter!

Form submitting... Thank you for waiting.