Drinagh Rangers 2
Spartak Mossgrove 0
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
STRIKES from Robbie and Tom McQueen helped Drinagh Rangers return to the top of the West Cork League Premier Division following victory at home to Spartak Mossgrove last Sunday.
The winners joined Dunmanway Town on 19 points at the summit of the table, but have a superior goal difference.
‘I thought we got a lucky opening goal but didn’t control the first half after that,’ Drinagh Rangers joint-manager Don Hurley said.
‘We were much better at getting the ball down and passing it in the second half. Spartak are a very good, strong team and I thought they were excellent. A clean sheet is great in a game Tom’s (McQueen) second-half goal proved very important for us. I think we might have struggled without that second goal, to be honest.
There was little to choose between the sides during a quiet opening period apart from Drinagh goalkeeper Jack Payne-Murphy preventing a Sean O’Donovan header from crossing his goal-line.
Rangers threatened sporadically until a set-piece produced the game’s first goal after nine minutes. Eoin McSweeney could only parry Barry (T) O’Driscoll’s long delivery into a congested penalty area. Robbie McQueen reacted quickest to the loose ball and found the net from close range.
Creditably, Spartak’s response to falling behind was positive with Micheál McSweeney and Jack Meade bringing the best out of Jack Payne-Murphy. Tom McQueen and Ciarán O’Regan provided the hosts with a solid midfield platform but, despite ample spells of possession, Drinagh never looked threatening in the final third.
As for Spartak, the visitors pressed high up the pitch in an effort to grab an equaliser. Conor Goggin, Colm Dineen and Jack Meade kept Drinagh’s defence on the back foot while Rick Bradfield and Chris White gave nothing away at the back. That’s why the loss of centre-back White to injury was a setback to Mossgrove’s ambitions five minutes before the break.
Spartak’s failure to make their territorial dominance count was punished when Rangers crafted a superb second goal three minutes after the restart. Robbie McQueen turned provider and crossed for his brother Tom to side-foot a cracking shot into the bottom corner.
The cushion of a two-goal lead enabled Drinagh to play some of their best football of the afternoon. Rangers had to remain vigilant to the counter-attack however, as evidenced by centre-back Gearoid White’s last-ditch tackle to deflect away a Conor O’Neill goal-bound effort.
Play became stretched in the closing 20 minutes with Mossgrove’s Jack Meade chipping an effort inches over the crossbar before Barry (H) O’Driscoll squandered an opportunity at the opposite end.
The home team finished confidently and only wasteful finishing prevented Drinagh from adding to their total, as they maintained their Premier Division title push.
Drinagh Rangers: Jack Payne-Murphy, Donal O’Donovan, Gearoid White (captain), Barry (T) O’Driscoll, Daniel McCarthy, Tom McQueen, Keith Jagoe, Ciarán O’Regan, Robbie McQueen, Jamie Hourihane, Barry (H) O’Driscoll.
Subs: Owen Tobin, Rob Oldham, Sean Calnan, Tomás Connolly, Shane Connolly, Michael Mennis.
Spartak Mossgrove: Eoin McSweeney, Darragh Curran, Rick Bradfield, Chris White, James Kelleher, Conor Goggin, Conor O’Neill, Micheál McSweeney, Colm Dineen, Sean O’Donovan (captain), Jack Meade.
Sub: Olan Walsh.
Referee: Patrick Hurley (WCL).