By Barry O’Donnell
UPBEAT Donaghmore manager Barry Tracey insists his charges are capable of mixing it with anybody on their day if they hit their peak.
The St Patrick’s were forced to chisel out a draw in their basement battle with bottom of the table Derrylaughan last weekend, ‘keeper Lorcan Quinn slotting over a 45m free with the last kick of the match to ensure a 0-12 apiece stalemate up at Washingbay.
It was a result which helped Donaghmore hold their opponents at arms length in Division One though they will still need to conjure up another few points during the run-in to secure their top flight status.
While Derrylaughan are left still chasing their first victory of what has been a tough season, Tracey was under no illusions heading into Friday’s assignment at the lough shore that it would be a hard night’s work for his side.
“We knew it would be tough coming here. Derrylaughan have had a reasonably good run and this would have been one of the games they would be targeting. They were looking at this game as a springboard to get a win and close the gap a bit.
“At the end it could have gone either way but you have to give credit to Derrylaughan. Thomas Carney and Brian Kennedy in the middle were immense and they had other lads who contributed to that as well for them.”
Despite several encouraging performances, Donaghmore have struggled for consistency at times this season, but Tracey maintains that they remain bullish about their prospects.
“From our perspective we are where we are in the league for a reason.
“Like other teams we have been hit with holidays and injuries, but with four games left we still have it all in our own hands. We feel we can finish still well up the table, with 14-16 points.
“It’s another point on the board for us. For both teams a loss would have been tough to take because we are both fighting for our lives.
“We now have three home matches, starting with Errigal next weekend. We feel we have the quality as well as the will in the camp to get the points we need. You seen out there that both teams refused to get beaten. It was really competitive from start to finish.
“We had a very good performance against Ardboe but we couldn’t back it up in a high intensity game against Loughmacrory. Errigal next up obviously will be tough but we are at home so bring it on.”
Now in his second season at the helm with Donaghmore, Tracey appreciates that the side is now approaching the business end of their campaign, in both league and championship. However he has full confidence in his team to deliver if they play up to their full potential.
“We know there are teams around our own area who will be fighting to the last day so that makes it interesting.
“On any given day in Division One any team can beat another and we believe we have the quality in the squad to beat anyone when we are on our game.
“It’s all about getting the chemistry right among the lads.
“Last year was a sort of get to know you season. This year we lost Damien McCaul who retired and with various injuries ruling lads out we have been forced to try new players out. So it has been hard to get a settled team and continuity.
“But we are working hard and realise that when we are on it we are a good side.
“I have been involved with many relegation battles with Greencastle so I know what it is all about. Ideally you would like to get your work done early and be safe in the League as quickly as possible to concentrate on the Championship.
“The Championship is all about timing so if you can get a good run going coming up to it that will stand to you.
“At the moment we can’t afford to relax because we are still in the thick of it coming down to the wire.”