Drinagh Rangers 5
Clonakilty AFC 4
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
DRINAGH Rangers and Clonakilty’s nine-goal thriller proved a superb advert for West Cork League football at a rain-soaked Canon Crowley Park on Sunday afternoon.
Two Premier Division title-chasing teams went toe to toe in an instant classic with Clonakilty fighting back on three separate occasions to level the score before an injury-time Barry O’Driscoll (H) strike won it 5-4 for an ecstatic but relieved Drinagh.
Heartbreak for an up-and-coming Clonakilty AFC team that matched their opponents throughout the 90 minutes, producing spells of excellent football only to see their title hopes all but extinguished following the concession of that late O’Driscoll goal.
As for Drinagh, a first victory in five league and cup outings puts title-chasing Canon Crowley Park club back in the driving seat heading towards the final round of fixtures but question remarks remain over a leaky defence that has now conceded seven goals in two games.
‘Credit to Clonakilty AFC as I thought they were excellent today and played some terrific football,’ commented a relieved Drinagh co-manager Declan Deasy at the full-time whistle.
‘They put it on the ground and passed it, made us work for everything we got. They are very good team and I have no doubt that they will be around the top of the Premier Division table in the coming years as they have a squad capable of challenging for titles.
‘Hats off to our lads though for coming back to grab that late winner. All that matters for us (Drinagh) now is the next game. That’s the only thing that matters and we won’t look beyond whoever our next opponents are.’
Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Keith Jagoe efforts handed Rangers an early 2-0 lead but Clonakilty AFC responded through a brace of Aidan Pendlebury goals to level the score before half time.
Jagoe restored Drinagh’s advantage shortly after the restart only for an audacious Martin White strike to make it 3-3. Gearoid White’s thunderous long-range shot edged Drinagh back in front but once again a tenacious Clonakilty drew level through a scrambled Shane Buttimer equaliser.
A draw 4-4 looked likely until Barry O’Driscoll (H) pounced on Clonakilty’s inability to clear a routine free kick deep into injury time and earned Rangers an invaluable three points following a marvellous game.
Don’t miss Thursday’s Southern Star for a comprehensive report and reaction.