DONACLONEY faced a tough task as they travelled to Gordon Playing Fields to take on Division Two team Tullygally in the first round in the Marshall Cup.
The game was played in an open fashion with both teams looking to play attacking football. Cloney keeper Haire and his opposite number were both called into action in the early stages with a number of chances coming at either end.
Shields and Johnston were providing plenty of width, and both having chances but failing to find the back of the net.
Beattie was having a strong start in midfield with central partner Higgins. Front pair Robinson and Hilary also had chances before the half hour mark when the Tullygally took the lead. Cloney failed to clear their lines properly and an accurate cross was coolly slotted home for the advantage.
Cloney pushed for an equaliser and after a few half chances and near misses it was Beattie who fired home with a neat finish to ensure parity at the break.
The second half continued in the same fashion with both teams attacking and Johnston seeing a flicked over-head effort superbly stopped while Hilary goal bound effort deflected into the keeper’s hands.
Cloney’s defence of Willis, Woods, McKinley and Brooker seemed to be coping adequately before Woods picked up an injury 20 minutes in. The enforced change and re-shuffle seemed to effect Cloney and Tullygally soon took advantage.
They scored five minutes after the change with Haire left with no chance as their winger cut in from the left.
They then increased the lead to 3-1 when a long punt from the keeper was lost in the sun by the Cloney defence and the alert forward raced through and made no mistake.
Cloney pushed for the last 10 minutes and had Haire to thank for being alert on more than one occasion.
With time running out Cloney did pull a goal back, but it was only a consolation. Johnston collected a failed clearance to slam home a left foot volley.
In all there was plenty of positives to be taken from the game for the return to league action. With Adam Beattie being the stand out performer on the day.
- A depleted Cloney Reserves travelled to Rathfriland Swifts Reserves and faced a tough task going down 5-1. Scorer for Cloney was Simon Pelan with a great solo effort