Doubles from Adam McDonald and Ruairi McArdle helped Dromara to a thumping 5-1 win over local rivals Rathfriland Rangers in the Clarence Cup on Saturday.
Rathfriland made a vibrant start but that was to be as good as it got in new boss Conan Power’s first game in charge as Dromara soon asserted their dominance and cruised to a 3-0 half-time lead before finishing the job in the second period.
In the early stages, Rathfriland were the better team and but for the width of the post, would have been a goal ahead on the 10th minute after Darren McGrath’s scooped shot deflected off the woodwork. Johnny Kernaghan had a low shot just wide and Stevie McArdle also made the keeper work.
The home side Dromara then took the lead when a stinging shot was saved brilliantly by Joe Moffat in the Rathfriland goal but Adam McDonald fired the rebound straight back into the roof of the net.
This did give the home side a lift and they bossed the rest of the first half with snapping at the heels of the Rathfriland team in typical derby fashion.
Dromara extended their lead in the 35th minute when from a free-kick out on the left, Ruairi McArdle’s delivery was flighted in eluding everyone and nestled in the corner of the net.
Disaster struck for Rangers when virtually on the stroke of half-time from a similar position, McArdle’s low shot squirmed under Moffat to leave it 3-0 to the home side.
On the restart, Rathfriland had two goals diasallowed. Firstly James Costello’s shot into the bottom corner was ruled out for offside and then Darren McGrath’s header was ruled out for a foul on the keeper.
It was indicative of Rathfriland’s fortune on the day when they although not at their best did not get the rub of the green either.
At the other end, Moffat was pulled into action again and Lee McDowell was courageous in his tackles, clearing his lines well.
On the hour-mark, the mother of all goalmouth scrambles amazingly saw Dromara clear the ball in a real ping pong affair but within minutes, Gerard Rooney broke away and made it 4-0 with a well taken breakaway goal.
Darren McGrath then pulled one back for Rathfriland when he forced home from close range and Costello headed just over but Rathfriland’s day was summed up when McDonald’s effort was blocked by McCourt but took a wicked deflection and looped into the net.
Overall, it was a thrilling afternoon for the hosts and a miserable one for Rangers, whose bright start soon faded and Dromara dominated, as the convincing scoreline suggests.
RATHFRILAND: Moffat, McDowell, Baird, Maine, McCourt, McArdle, Mackin, Kernaghan, McGrath, Costello, Heslip.