IFC Drumgoon v Ballymachugh

Drumgoon 2-08 - 2-11 Ballymachugh
13 Aug 2023 - 17:00Kingspan Breffni

Our senior men were unlucky to go down to Ballymachugh by a few points in Kingspan Breffni on Sunday evening. They were leading well into the second half when Ballymachugh were awarded a very soft penalty. The resultant goal was a springboard for their comeback and Drumgoon faced an uphill battle to the end.

Celt Report

Ballymachugh 2-11

Drumgoon 2-8

Paul Fitzpatrick at Kingspan Breffni

Ballymachugh produced a stunning comeback to claim a dramatic opening-round win at HQ on Sunday afternoon.

Down by seven points at one stage, they won the final quarter by 1-4 to 0-1 as a jittery Drumgoon panicked. The Hughs hit the front for the first time in the 60th minute and sealed the win with an injury-time goal for a classic championship smash-and-grab.

A notable fact about this game was the number of frees. In total, there were 61, a record total in any club match covered by this reporter. The first half produced 33.

The teams came into this match having had contrasting fortunes in the league. Drumgoon secured promotion from Division 3 and enjoyed an impressive win over Denn in the final, the form of which was franked by Den’s big win on Friday night against Templeport.

The Hughs, for their part, retained their Division 2 status in a relegation play-off, having conceded 31 goals in their 13 group games. But the Hughs had beaten Drumgoon in last year’s group stage and would have certainly come into this game expecting to get the job done.

For the longest time, though, that looked unlikely as Drumgoon dominated the first half, opening a six-point lead thanks to two well-taken goals from wing-forward Dean Carroll.


The young attacker opened the scoring with a 35-metre point from play two minutes in and although Mark Kiernan, Ballymachugh’s only real attacking threat on the day, replied with a free, Keith Fannin soon nudged the Boyle Park men in front with a free after a foul on Conor Moynagh and they kicked on from there.

The first goal arrived after six minutes when Moynagh released Shane Smith with a clever handpass, he centred the ball to Carroll and the latter buried it in the bottom corner.

On 12 minutes, Drumgoon hit the jackpot again. After a turnover at midfield, centre-forward Daragh Lynch sped through the centre; Carroll had ghosted inside, took the pass and tucked away with a cool finish off the laces.

If Ballymachugh were rattled, they didn’t immediately show it as Mark Kiernan replied with an excellent point on the loop and then a free to make it 2-2 to 0-3 entering the second quarter.

Mark Kiernan again replied with a skilful point, swivelling to make space and slotting over off the left before Aaron Briody drove forward and landed a superb point to again make it a five-point game.


In the 29th minute, Keith Fannin converted the 29th free of the contest as Drumgoon went in holding a 2-5 to 0-5 lead, which they extended on the restart when Darren Lavery won the throw-in and Carroll curled in a great point.

Kiernan and Carroll traded frees but the game turned in the 40th minute. Ballymachugh pressed and Darragh Kiernan sent the ball over the bar but was impeded as he pulled the trigger and a penalty was signalled. Captain Liam Buchanan made no mistake side-footing home from the spot and suddenly it was game on.

It was a double whammy for Drumgoon as the influential Conor Moynagh went down injured around the same time and when hew as curtailed, panic set in. They began to make poor decisions and as Ballymachugh raised their game, the comeback was on.

A good score from Gary Kelly left it a three-point game as the Hughs began to gobble up Drumgoon’s restarts. Buchanan did well to keep in a wayward Mark Kiernan shot and Peter Devine stroked over a lovely point.

Drumgoon netminder Corey Smith then saved smartly from Kiernan as the one-way traffic continued. James Smith, who made some big plays late on, pointed via the upright and, from the next attack, Conor Coyle steadied himself in a congested area and drove over the equaliser.


There were still nine minutes left and nerves kicked on, with some slapstick errors on both sides in the frantic closing stages. Devine picked out sub Thomas Kiernan, who took a diving mark and converted it for the lead score with normal time almost up.

Drumgoon needed a score badly. Lavery ran at the defence and won a free but James Smith got his fingertips to it and pulled it down from over the bar.

The Hughs broke out, Drumgoon looked to have weathered the storm but an error coming out of defence coughed up possession again and Ballymachugh pounced. They tore through the centre and worked the move perfectly, with Thomas Kiernan waiting at the back post to palm in the goal.

Drumgoon mustered another couple of attacks but could only manage a pointed free from Carroll as Kevin Browne saved well from Moynagh and Ballymachugh completed what, at one point, looked an unlikely victory.

Ballymachugh: Kevin Browne, Stephen Halton, Gary Kelly (0-1), Diarmuid O’Reilly, Darragh Kiernan, Aaron Briody (0-1), Kieran Goldrick, Liam Buchanan (1-0 pen), James Smith (0-1), Conor Coyle (0-1), Ben Tierney, Conor Mulligan, Peter Devine (0-1), Killian Smith, Mark Kiernan (0-5, 3f)

Subs: Patrick Goldrick for D O’Reilly, Thomas Kiernan (1-1, 1m) for C Mulligan (both ht)

Drumgoon: Corey Smith, Dylan Hand, Killian Moynagh, Mark Murray, Dominic Donegan, Conor Moynagh, Shane Smith, Conal Farrell, Darren Lavery, Dean Carroll (2-4, 3f), Daragh Lynch, Barry Cooney, Patrick Lynch (0-1), Keith Fannin (0-2f), Paddy Smith

Subs: Dylan Hand for E Crossan (48), Ben Brennan for P Lynch (52)

Ref: Ollie Donohoe