After confusion following last weeks victory, Draperstown Youths finally booked their place in the Coleraine & District Cup Final with a comfortable win over South Derry rivals Tobermore. However, the scoreline disguised what was an even encounter for much of the game.
For large spells in the first half it was a very scrappy match, with a lot of long balls and not so much fluid movement. It was Draperstown, though, who looked a lot more threatening, especially with Tobermore signalling their intent from the very start, playing with a lone striker in the hope of sneaking a 1-0 victory.
As the half progressed, Draperstown more and more got into their stride, with Bradley proving to be the single biggest threat. It was he, in fact, who broke the deadlock, after another scything run down the flank ending with his shot being deflected into the Tobermore net. It wasnt all plain sailing however, when just a few minutes later McConnell made an inspirational save on the goal line after a goalmouth scramble.
Draperstown very nearly doubled their lead when another signature run by Bradley into the Tobermore box resulted in a blocked shot when he squared for McClenaghan. At this point Draperstown had complete control of affairs, with Higgins and Conway commanding the midfield, whilst Murray posed a constant threat down the left hand side.
Draperstown then did manage to double their cushion, when McClenaghan excellently converted after a great flowing attack from Draperstown, involving every player at one stage or another. Draperstown played out the half on top, with Kelly and McSorley momentous in defence, breaking down all that came near them.
In the second half Draperstown continued to push forward and create chances against a deflated Tobermore outfit, who had all but seen their chances of a cup final flash past them. Just a few minutes into the half Diamond nearly scored what would have been a contender for goal of the season when he deftly flicked the ball over a defenders head, but shot just over the bar. Murray was also unlucky to add to Draperstown lead on a couple of occasions after brilliant, field-length runs from left back. McCullagh, Taggart and McAlarry replaced ONeill, McClenaghan and Higgins.
Much to Tobermores credit, they began to get into the game more and more at this stage, and troubled the Draperstown defence for the first time in the match a few times, but each time McConnell was equal to it. After this poor patch Draperstown ended all chances of a spirited Tobermore fight back when McKillion won a great header in midfield, which Diamond swivelled on and finished with aplomb.
However, the gloss was taken off the victory when Conway foolishly got sent off in the dying seconds. He will now miss the final against Cookstown next week.