Dromara Village Promoted To NAFL Premier League

Dromara Village continue promotion success with win over Abbey Villa


League match Div 1A,

Saturday 8th April 2023, at Adams Park,

Final Score: Abbey Villa 1 Dromara Village 3.

Dromara Village celebrate their promotion to the NAFL Premier League. (Photos by Jim Masson).

Abbey Villa got off to a strong start and showed that they were defending their home turf. Dromara weathered the initial storm well despite going a goal down and came back with a very impressive 0-3 victory securing their place in the NAFL Premier League for 2023-24 writes Jim Masson.

The Dromara Village Tweet says it all: “What a day for the club with our 1sts winning promotion back to the Premier League with 4 games to spare. Played 22, won 20, drew 1, lost 1 with 95 goals scored. Unreal effort after last seasons heartbreak. Well done players and management.”

Dromara’s Philip Kerr takes on Kyle Irwin of Abbey Villa.

Abbey took the early initiative and Alan Strain just went wide with an early volley from outside the Dromara box. They kept up the pressure and were rewarded on 6 minutes when Alex McIlmail nailed the ball from the top of the box left footing over the head of keeper John Connolly to open the scoring.

But Dromara kept their cool and fought back. Damien Turley made an excellent attempt but keeper James Darlington managed to get it under control.

Then Jonathan Gregg took a shot and again it was held by Darlington.

Abbey keeper James Darlington makes a crucial save as Dromara put on the pressure.

The game levelled off with both sides pressing forward and Rhys Kelly made a solid volley for Abbey just wide on 15 minutes.

Gradually Dromara started to attack having got over the nervy opening phase and Philip Kerr made an accurate cross to the head of Marcus Murphy who was just over the top bar.

Again Kerr crossed to Stephen Kennedy testing the Abbey defence with his strike just going wide from the back of the box.

Kelly made an on-target strike and netted the ball but the referee deemed it a no-goal as it caught the arm of a Dromara forward.

Dromara’s Rhys Kelly tries to find an angle to shoot in the Abbey Villa box.

Dromara were certainly warming to the task in hand and made a number of useful attacks.

A good play by Kelly to Alex Burtney almost paid off then in a subsequent attack the ball shot off Abbey side net.

Burtney was playing a more active role in attacks and was crossing well throwing the Abbey defenders on a number of occasions.

Murphy went on 1:1 with keeper Darlington who managed to come out just enough to deflect the effort to round him for a corner.

Then the Dromara efforts came good. A cross across the Abbey goal around found the head of Peter Turley who nodded it in for an equaliser in the 33rd minute.

Just before the half-time break, Murphy broke through into the Villa box and his volley at the Abbey goal was defected by a toe from Darlington, a narrow escape for the home side.

Dromara Village captain Timothy Adamson on the ball against Abbey Villa.

The second half started with Dromara showing the ascendency with excellent short passing keeping possession and using the pitch well.

An early header by Kerr was saved again by Darlington having a busy time.

A good play by Kelly to Kennedy to Kerr again almost paid off but Darlington just happened to be in the right place to block the shot.

Dromara were asserting themselves now and Abbey were only managing an occasional attack but were still not to be written off.

Burtney made a solid cross to Gregg from the left but his effort was again blocked.

Then in 65 minutes, Stephen Kennedy got possession after a free kick just outside the Villa box andmade no mistake slamming the ball into the middle of the net to put Dromara a goal ahead.

Three minutes later Murphy was almost through into the Villa box with a scoring opportinity but was denied by keeper Darlington.

For a spell the game became a battle of midfield players then, a long ball to Murphy through the middle saw him round the keeper who tried to close him down and slotted into net to put Dromrara in the driving seat in the 77th minute.

The Dromara Village team.

All credit to Abbey Villa who did not give up. Luke Cummins almost pulled a goal bakl with his half volley but Connolly managed to get the ball under control well.

In a tough game but with just 2 yellow cards, one apiece, Dromara held on to claim the points on the day.

Dromara Village had done enough in the Div 1A league to gain promotion to the Premier league for 2023-24.

There was celebrations after the match as the Dromara team and fans had achieved their longer term goal… to gain promotion to the Premier League.

Rosemount have been chasing them at the top of the table and it remains to be seen who will come out the victors in their clash at Islandview Road in Greyabbey this Saturday at 2pm and who wins the league cup.

Dromara celebrate their win over Abbey Villa and their promotion the the NAFL Premier League for next season.

But Dromara look the team to beat given their excellent form.

Rosemount have a match tonight (Tuesday) and must play again on Saturday but have a home advantage, while Dromara will be rested and ready for the final push of the season with still a couple of games in hand.

Abbey Villa: 1 James Darlington, 2 Ryan Murray, 3 Gregg Fleming, 4 Alan Strain, 5 Scott Robbie, 6 Adam Arthurs, 7 Christopher Murray, 8 Luke Cummins, 9 Alex McNamail, 10 Luke McGrugan, 11 Kyle Irwin. Subs: 12 Curtis Williamson, 14 Joshua B arnes, 15 Casey Courtney.

Dromara Village: 1 John Connolly, 2 Jonathan Gregg, 3 Damien Turley, 4 Luke Russell, 5 Peter Turley, 6 Nathan Hamilton, 7 Rhys Kelly, 8 Philip Kerr, 9 Marcus Murphy, 10 Stephen Kennedy, 11 Alex Burtney. Subs: 12 Jordan Clarke, 14 Connor Mallon, 15 Ben Martin.