By Manus Loughran
An Port Mor had a lucky escape at the Athletic Grounds on Friday night when they grabbed a last minute goal to pull the game into extra time, before pulling away to an eight point victory after Derrynoose heads dropped.
This was an interesting and unpredictable match, An Port Morentered the game as heavy favourites and they dominated for large periods, but an inspirational spell from Derrynoose in the last 15 minutes of normal time looked to have secured them the result. Unfortunately for them An Port simply never gave up and a last minute Gary Traynor goal put the game into extra time. An Port Mor dominated in extra time and pulled away as Derrynoose appeared to be shattered byTraynors goal.
Shane Nugent opened the scori ng on the night with a point for An Port Mor, the corner forward exchanged passes with former Tyrone star Colin Holmes before knocking the ball over the bar.
Brian Mullen levelled things up but only briefly, as a second point from Shane Nugent who was proving to be an early thorn for Derrynoose, helped An Port Mor regain their lead.
James McLaughlin stretched An Port Mor’s lead to three points after a third from Nugent and Derrynoose were reallystruggling to get their feet on their game as everything was going the opposition’s way early on.
James McLaughlin had a big chance to stretch his sides lead 23 minutes into the game, he provided a goal opportunity for himself by showing great strength to brush off a number ofDerrynoose defenders, but he screwed his shot wide of the post.
Against the run of play, Brian Hamilton got Derrynoose back on level terms with a goal on the 27th minute, but this triggered an immediate response at the other end and An Port Morrestored their three point lead when James McLaughlin blasted in from 10 yards.
A point from each side in injury time left the score at 1-07 to 1-04 in An Port Mor’s favour, and they really looked to be in control. Their physical superiority was proving to be the bigdifference between the sides, Derrynoose just couldn’t find a way for their young speedy forwards to do real damage in the opening 30 minutes.
A great point from the right wing by James McLaughlin and a Shane Nugent free kick put the deficit to four points, midway through the second half.
Conall McNally had a chance to get Derrynoose right back in the game on the 47th minute when the An Port Mor defence opened up, but he squandered it and his shot for goal well wide.
The Derrynoose half forward didn’t let this miss startle him as he made up for seconds with a point after a fading past a number challenges.
This triggered a great spell in the game for Derrynoose, another two consecutive points reduced the deficit to just one point, and on 51st minute Brian Mullen scored a great goal. The full forward went on a 30 yard soloing run and his shot looped over the head of Gerard Kelly and into the An PortMor goal.
Sean Lennon added another point for Derrynoose with his left foot just a minute later, at this stage his side were leading 2-09 to 1-09 with just eight minutes to go.
Derrynoose put in a massive effort to hold on to their three point lead in the final few minutes, with An Port Mor really pushing for an equalising goal.
An Port Mor’s efforts paid off at the very last, Gary McCrillypicked the ball up on the left wing and looped a hopeful ball into a crowded area in front of goal and Gary Traynor rise the highest to fist the ball into the net.
Traynor’s goal dragged the game into extra time, and the momentum was with An Port Mor as Derrynoose appeared to be heavily wounded from the last minute equaliser.
Traynor got his second goal in the first minute of extra time, and the An Port Mor saviour grabbed a further two points in the opening ten minutes of extra time to leave the score at 3-11 to 2-10.
Derrynoose were completely shattered and An Port Mor really punished them in the second period of extra time with points from Neil Traynor, Gary Traynor and two from James McLaughlin securing a 3-16 to 2-11 victory for An Port Mor.
Derrynoose will have gained a lot of sympathy from the spectators as many will feel they had the game in the bag, and that the final result after extra time doesn’t reflect their overall performance. But you have to admire An Port Mor’s attitude, they simply never gave up when many other teams would have and their determination proved to be pivotal.
AN PORT MOR: Gerard Kelly; Gerard McGee, Martin Kernan, Gary Curran; Jason Traynor, Brendan Nugent, CiaranMcKenna; Mark Curran, Finton Daly; Seamus Graham, James McLaughlin (1-04), Colm Holmes; Michael Casey, GaryTraynor (2-03), Shane Nugent (0-07).
Substitute scorers: Gary McCrilly (0-01), Neil Traynor (0-01)
DERRYNOOSE: Stephen Sweeney; Michael McNeaney, James Murray, Patrick McGrane; Joe Brennan, Patrick Kelly,Cathal McNaughton; Brian Hamilton (1-00), Thomas Lennon;Conall McNallym(0-03), Stephen McArdle (0-02), BillMcAtavey (0-01); Matthew Lennon, Brian Mullen (1-04), Sean Lennon (0-01).