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Illies take decisive step in promotion race 03.02.12
Strand Hotel First Division

Illies FC...4
(G. McDaid 35’, 85’, N. McDaid 48’, P. Doherty 50’)

Rashenny FC...1
(E. Doherty 4’)

Report: Inishowen Independent.

Illies stole a march on their promotion rivals at the weekend when they recorded a comfortable 4-1 victory over Rashenny at Stranaclea Road on Sunday. Illies came back from a 1-0 deficit early on and went into the half time break tied at 1-1. Goals from Niall McDaid and Paddy Doherty within five minutes of the restart set them up for a victory that was put beyond all doubt when Gerard McDaid hit his second, and lllies’ fourth, five minutes before the end.
Six wins in their last six games, with 24 goals scored and just two conceded has seen Illies them move four points clear of Dunree in third place. Dunree have a game in hand but with just five games remaining Illies’ return to the Premier Division is in their own hands.
It’s a different story for the Trawbreaga Park men, while they’ve had victories over high fliers like Buncrana Hearts Youths and Culdaff, they’ve not been consistent enough over the season.
But Rashenny could hardly have got off to a better start. John Doherty whipped in a free kick from the left of the area that Illies keeper Graeme Doherty couldn’t claim cleanly and Emlyn Doherty tapped in from close range to give the Isle of Doagh side a fourth minute lead.
Illies were confined to potshots with Niall McDaid and Paddy Doherty having dabs from long distance. Rashenny suffered a blow mid way through the first half when keeper Ciaran Friel was injured in an accidental clash with Aidan Doherty and sub keeper Damian Doherty came on in his place.
A bobbling Niall McDaid shot was an easy first save for the new keeper, but he was powerless to prevent Illies’ 35th minute equaliser.
The impressive Denver Coyle floated in a deep cross from the right flank and Gerard McDaid rose high to send a looping header to the top right corner beyond the reach of the diving keeper. It was an excellent finish, but Rashenny bounced back well with Damian Friel nipping onto a short backpass from Caolan McCann only for Andy McLaughlin to get back and avert the danger.
Illies made the visiting keeper work hard before the break with Kieran McDaid’s near post flick from a corner, and a 25 yard Denver Coyle shot both drawing good saves.
Illies continued their pressure on the resumption keeper Doherty diving to save a good Gerard McDaid shot.
The decisive moment of the game came on 48 minutes when Illies keeper Graeme Doherty came out of his area to beat Rashenny’s Damian Friel to the ball and his long clearance down the field was helped on by Paddy Doherty into the path of Niall McDaid who rifled a shot over the Rashenny keeper into the net.
Rashenny were still reeling when Illies made it 3-1. Andy McLaughlin swung in a cross from the right with keeper Doherty getting a punch on it under pressure from Niall McDaid. But the ball fell kindly for Paddy Doherty who planted an unstoppable shot into the top left from the edge of the box.
Three-one and cruising, Illies took their foot off the gas and allowed Rashenny get on top, shots from John Doherty (2) and Damian Friel were saved by Graeme Doherty before the hour mark, but they couldn’t create a clear cut chance that would bring them back into the game.
Illies’ winger Kieran McDaid made a great run down the left wing on 63 minutes, but his shot was saved by Doherty. Doherty then made a double save Niall McDaid after the big centre forward first headed, and then hit the rebound, goalwards.
Sean P Toland headed wide for Illies at the back post ten minutes before the end, but the last word went the home side when Caolan McCann threaded a ball into the right channel and Gerard McDaid hit a low, first time shot, into the net to make it 4-1.

Illies: Graeme Doherty; Andy McLaughlin, Seamus Donaghey, Aidan Doherty, Caolan McCann; Kieran McDaid, Joe McDaid (Eamon Hegarty 84 mins), Paddy Doherty, Denver Coyle; Niall McDaid (Shane Devlin 86 mins), Gerard McDaid.

Rashenny: Kieran Friel (Damien Doherty 24 mins); Aaron Friel, Emlyn Doherty, Paddy Nelson, Martin Shields; John McLaughlin (David McLaughlin 71 mins), Anthony Doherty (JE), Damian Friel, Sean P Toland; John Doherty (D), Anthony Doherty (MJ).

For full coverage of all your weekend sport, read the Inishowen Independent.
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