Rathfriland hit back to claim a vital derby win

Rathfriland's Conor Fegan and Dromara's Gerard Rooney go head to head. INBL1533-234PB
Rathfriland's Conor Fegan and Dromara's Gerard Rooney go head to head. INBL1533-234PB
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Rathfriland Rangers overcame a two-goal deficit against near neighbours and rivals Dromara Village to claim an important derby win and underline their credentials for success this season.

In the first big clash of the season in front of a crowd of well over 170 people, the Whites got off to shocker, with Daniel Ryan putting Dromara two goals up.

But James Costello and Ally Wilson pulled the home side level at the break, before Karl McVerry and Wilson struck to bag the points in the second half.

Dromara were much brighter and they took a deserved lead 14 minutes in.

The visitors extended the lead about 12 minutes later.

It was looking grim for the Whites as they looked flat and without inspiration all over the field. But the mark of a quality side is how the respond to adversity, even if it is of their own making.

And with Clifford Sterritt making a tactical change by introducing Wilson, the tide began to turn.

Costello pulled one back with a great touch and turn before rounding goalkeeper Kieran Gordon.

And when Lee Feeney was scythed down inside the box by defender John McCannon, Wilson walloped the spot-kick home for the leveller.

Perhaps it took the early rattling for Rathfriland to realise they have to bring their best into every game, and they did not look back after the break.

Midfielder and set-piece specialist Ross Black put the Whites ahead with a stunning free-kick early in the second period.

And when substitute Darren McGrath had one of his trademark galloping runs brought to an abrupt end inside the area by Dromara defender Brendan McNeill, Wilson doubled his tally with another thumping penalty-kick to seal a fantastic comeback.

Rathfriland Rangers: Shane Harrison, Conor Fegan, Chris Havern, Decky Allister, Nathan Baird, Ross Black, Thomas Lockhart, Lee Feeney, John Scannell, Karl McVerry, James Costello. Subs: Peter Markey, Darren McGrath, Ally Wilson.

Dromara Village: Kieran Gordon, John McCarron, Brendan McNeill, Ruairi McArdle, Ryan McVeigh, Thomas Beckett, Johnny Gregg, John McLaughlin, Adam McDonald, Gerard Rooney, Daniel Ryan. Subs: Taylor Graham, Philip Kerr, James Lindsay.