Drumlane picked up their third win in as many games on Friday evening when they edged out a plucky Bailieborough side by three points at St Anne¢¬¢s Park.
The visitors were handed the perfect start when young attacker Darragh Seagrave found the Shamrocks¢¬¢ net inside the first minute but through their lethal full-forward Niall Kelly Bailieborough always kept themselves in the game without taking the lead.
In the end, it was Barry Corrigan¢¬¢s frees and points from Barry Cunningham and full-forward Ciaran O¢¬¢Reilly towards the end which proved enough for Drumlane to cling on to both points come the long whistle.
Ollie Fay¢¬¢s men opened with good intent and through good approach play from Cunningham and a clever fist pass over the top from Corrigan, Seagrave got himself one-on-one with Sean Farrelly in the Bailieborough goal and tucked the ball past him to give Drumlane three early points.
The hosts responded within a minute when Kelly shot over a superb point from the left wing, but county senior Dane O¢¬¢Dowd quickly moved to cancel it out when he raced on to possession and split the posts from close range.
Damien O¢¬¢Reilly and Corrigan (free) kept the difference at three as the first quarter elapsed and that became the common pattern of this encounter, as Corrigan nudged his side four in front with another free before Paddy Byrd found some space and fired over to keep a score in it.
Drumlane had their second chance at burying in a goal on the 20-minute mark, but centre-forward Shane Kelly took the point instead. The Kelly down the other end did likewise from a free, but moments later Cunningham landed an eye-catching score which saw him weave his way past two defenders and send the ball high and over.
A free from Corrigan, after the out-in-front Ciaran O¢¬¢Reilly got himself dragged down in front of the posts, moved Drumlane into a five-point lead for the first time, but the town side rallied in the closing stages of the half and registered two vital scores through Paul O¢¬¢Reilly on ¢¬Ëthe 40¢¬¢ and Sean Cooney, before Corrigan¢¬¢s fourth placed-ball closed the half at 1-7 to 0-6.
The half-time team-talk proved effective for Bailieborough after the restart as they dominated on the scored board for the opening ten minutes, while Drumlane were guilty of some wastefulness in possession.
Byrd and Kelly (free) had the difference down to the minimum and in the meantime Conor Tierney, David Rooney and Thomas Cooney were all introduced for the home side.
Dane O¢¬¢Dowd was released by Ciaran O¢¬¢Reilly for a badly needed score for the visitors afterwards, but Bailieborough stuck to the plan and through James Cooney they kept things airtight.
However, Drumlane rediscovered their scoring-touch just at the right time with Corrigan releasing Cunningham for an over and Shane Kelly taking Ciaran O¢¬¢Reilly¢¬¢s assist to restore a three-point advantage as the game entered the final quarter.
Through Declan Reilly and Peter Clerkin at the back, the Shamrocks looked to prevent their opponents from any further damage but a nicely worked ¢¬Ë45¢¬¢, which saw Barry Corrigan link-up with brother Gareth, Ciaran O¢¬¢Reilly was released through the centre and raised a white flag.
Two Kelly frees kept things on a knife-edge coming into the closing stages as Bailieborough looked for the next crucial score, but it was to go Drumlane¢¬¢s way as effective substitute Brendan O¢¬¢Reilly won possession back at centre-field and fed Dane O¢¬¢Dowd, who popped over his third to cap-off a fine performance from centre-field.
Bailieborough threw the kitchen-sink at their opponents in search of a goal in the dying moments, but were kept at bay by dogged work in the full-back line by Robbie Smith, John O¢¬¢Dowd and Neil McCann, and had to settle for a left-footed free from Paul Sharkey instead, which was eventually cancelled-out by a coolly-slotted Corrigan free in injury-time to make sure Drumlane had three points to spare in the end.
Bailieborough: Sean Farrelly; Ciaran O¢¬¢Reilly, Barry McMahon, Andy Maguire; Peter Clerkin, Declan Reilly, Gary Reilly; Sean Cooney (0-2), Paddy Byrd (0-2); James Cooney (0-1), Paul O¢¬¢Reilly (0-1), Paul Sharkey (0-1, 1f); Damien O¢¬¢Reilly (0-1), Niall Kelly (0-5, 4f), Jeffrey Martin. Subs: Conor Tierney, David Rooney, Thomas Cooney, Aidan Clarke, Damien Lynch.
Drumlane: Darren Murphy; Robbie Smith, John O¢¬¢Dowd, Neil McCann; Fergal Brady, JP Kelly, Cormac Fitzpatrick; Dane O¢¬¢Dowd (0-3), Gareth Corrigan; Darragh Seagrave (1-0), Shane Kelly (0-2), John Fitzpatrick; Barry Corrigan (0-5, 5f), Ciaran O¢¬¢Reilly (0-1), Barry Cunningham (0-2). Subs: Stephen McCann, Brendan O¢¬¢Reilly.