Sports

Coolraine Title Bid Derailed By Cummins

Thursday, 2 March 2017

DERRY Rovers were celebrating like they were champions on Friday night after this dramatic victory over Coolraine.

Derry Rovers ...3
Coolraine ...2

And if they had decided to do a lap of honour they could not have been in a better place because their home pitch is ringed by a six-lane tarmac running track.

With floodlights and an astro training area too, the Edenderry side just need some silveware to make their season complete.

Thanks to two goals from Dean Cummins they now have one hand firmly on the CCFL Division One trophy.

Surely nothing will stop them from finishing the job now by defeating bottom side Stradbally Town in their last game.

They travel to Stradbally on Sunday (kick-off 11am) knowing that three points will mean neither Coolraine nor Portlaoise side Towerhill Rovers can catch them, even if they win their last games, also on Sunday, away to Portlaoise Shamrocks and Clonown Rovers respectively.

If Stradbally manage to hold Derry Rovers to a surprise draw, then Coolraine can force a play-off by beating Portlaoise Shamrocks.

For Coolraine last Friday's result was a cruel one, especially as a true peach of a strike from Pa Cosgrove, the pick of the night's five goals, had them 2-1 up as the second half approached its mid-way point.

The evening had begun badly for Coolraine as Rovers laid siege to the visiting goals and the Tullamore side were blessed the match was goalless for its first 17 minutes.

When Rovers' lead goal arrived it was a lucky one, Coolraine keeper Martin Ward failing to keep out a long, low effort from Shane Staines even though it seemed to be within his reach at his left post.

The visitors improved before the break and Cosgrove looked a threat down the left wing but he got few opportunities to really test what was a very strong Rovers defence.

Coolraine had to withstand yet more pressure when play resumed in the second half but the introduction of Dylan Murray for an out of sorts David Gorman tipped the balance of the contest in their favour.

In the 62nd minute they levelled when Mick Hannon played a ball down the left for Niall Kearns who darted into the box and applied a cool finish.

Coolraine would have been delighted to take a point back to Tullamore but five minutes later they were dreaming of bringing all three.

Some pressure forced a throw-in and when the ball was worked to Cosgrove he exploded into the penalty area and drove a perfectly judged right-footed strike to the far corner.

The sideline was tense throughout at both dugouts and one of many boiling points was reached when Dean Cummins tumbled in the Coolraine area and got a booking from referee Pat Geoghegan instead of a penalty.

The striker was happier in the 71st minute when a corner kick found its way to him and he made it 2-2 with the help of a deflection.

With five minutes left he nabbed what proved to be the winner when he pounced to force the ball home after Paul Cummins hit the post.

There was yet more drama in stoppage time when two Coolraine substitutes, Murray and Jamie Hensey, were sent off when tempers flared after the award of a free-kick to the visitors.

Hannon lofted the free into the box but it was headed clear and Rovers had the win they craved.

For Coolraine, barring a shock combination of results this Sunday, the long wait for a trophy looks set to go on.

Derry Rovers: Jimmy Dunne; Jason McNamee, Gareth Burns, Paddy Clarke, Anthony Cullen, Mark Denehan, Aaron Moules, Stephen O'Connell, Dean Cummins, Shane Staines, Anto Kavanagh.  Subs: Paul Cummins for Anto Kavanagh, Brian Clarke for Jason McNamee.

Coolraine: Martin Ward; Mark Mitchell, Ronnie Hughes, Chris Bracken, Dermot Feery, David Gorman, Niall Kearns, Shane Ryan, Michael Hannon, Callum Brummell, Pa Cosgrove.  Subs: Dylan Murray for David Gorman, Michael Feery for Niall Kearns, Jamie Hensey for Chris Bracken.

Referee: Pat Geoghegan (Offaly Branch)....

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