RATHFRILAND played hosts to Draperstown Celtic in the second round of the Irish Cup and in difficult windy conditions won 3-2 thanks to goals from Evans, Wilson and Hollingsworth.
Adair was forced into making a number of changes through suspensions and illnesses but the locals put their name into the draw for the third round with another fine attacking display.
The first half scoreline did not truly reflect Rathfriland’s dominance as a fine goal keeping display and some wasteful finishing meant both teams went in 1-1 at half time.
Rathfriland opened the scoring midway through the first half when fine play by Ward who beat two players released Weir on the wing. Weir outpaced the full back before squaring for Evans to tap into an empty net.
Rathfriland were dominant at this stage and Wilson almost increased the locals’ lead when his 25 yard free kick was brilliantly pushed around the post by the visitors keeper.
Further chances went begging and Gibbons saw his header crash off the bar from an Evans corner when he should have scored.
Against the run of play and on the stroke of half time Draperstown were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box in their first real attack. As Rathfriland organised the wall and waited for the referee whistle, Draperstown had other ideas and took a quick free kick chipping the ball over the wall into an empty net.
The second half continued in a similar pattern to the first. Although playing against a strong wind, Rathfriland dominated possession and play in the early exchanges. The locals were soon rewarded for their pressure when fine individual play by Wilson was cruelly ended when he was chopped down inside the penalty box. Wilson jumped up and dusted himself down before blasting the resultant kick into the net leaving the keeper no chance.
Young Anthony Cunningham who was deputising for the sick Wilton made a fine save when he tipped over an excellent effort by Draperstown centre forward.
Adair then replaced the tiring Weir with Hollingsworth with about 20 minutes remaining. Hollingsworth soon rewarded Adair for his introduction when he drilled the ball home from the edge of the box following fine wing play by Davidson and Evans.
Draperstown were soon reduced to 10 men when their sub was soon given his marching orders for two bookable offences. Rathfriland were content to see out the remaining ten minutes, but Draperstown provided a brief scare for the locals when their winger scored with two minutes left.