We started our league campaign with a hard fought victor over Magheraveely on Saturday in Clones. The opening period started as predicted, very cagey with neither side able to take control early on. With a strong wind on their back, Veely looked lively on the break with long balls keeping our back four on their toes.Sam McDonald was tested when he had to turn a low shot round the post to keep the game scoreless. And the other end, Ryan O’Keefe but was 1-0 up with a superb free kick, curling perfectly in to the top corner. However, the host hit back moments later when he failed to clear a free kick and the resultant cross was only partially cleared and Stephen O’Connor smashed home from just inside the area.We were able to regain our lead within minutes, this time Andy Reilly scoring direct from a free kick from the edge of the box. Towards the end of the first half we were pinned back and had to defend several corners and long throws to preserve our 2-1 advantage going in at half time.
The second half continued in much the same fashion, very scrappy and frantic with not much flowing football on display. We came closest to extending our lead when a Sam Lindsay effort was saved by the home keeper but no one was on hand to follow up the rebound as Magheraveely cleared the danger.
We conceded the equaliser after giving the ball away in midfield and we caught on the break as Enda Hessin tapped home at the back post. Sam Lindsay then had a great chance when well placed inside the area, but fired agonisingly wider. Then, Matty Woods had a glorious chance to get the winner but his point blank effort was somehow saved by the home keeper, and within seconds McDonald was called in to action at the other end to make a fine save from Hessin.
With the game looking destined for a draw, Paul McGrath collected a loose ball in midfield, burst past two players and slipped the ball in to the path of Robbie Little, who was able to hold off his marker and finish superbly in to the far corner. A tough battle, in a game that could have went either way, but an excellent start to the season and a platform we can hopefully build on.