A game in Buncrana and a game in Portadown.
3rd March 2017 Derry City 1 Limerick 1 c. 1800 League of Ireland
Derry began their spell over the border in Buncrana with just 25 minutes of action before this game was abandoned.
It was a shame because what we did see was some vibrant attacking before the lights went out.
Large numbers made the short journey into Donegal despite the very inclement weather.
The persistent rain didn’t seem to affect the pitch though with limited available cover it did make for uncomfortable viewing for many.
Derry started brightly but then conceded a breakaway goal as a defensive error allowed Dean Clarke to shoot past the home goalie.
But within ten or so they had levelled as striker Ronan Curtis drove in a headed pass from close range.
Then the floodlights failed and we were just left with mobile phones to light up the ground.
Derry are expected to play all their games here while the Brandywell is being redeveloped, hopefully the experiences will turn out better than this night.
And for the intrepid band of LImerick fans it means another very long journey from the far south.
For me it was just a short walk to my pleasant hotel and I enjoyed a pint while watching the finish of Shamrock Rovers v Bohs.
4th March Annagh Utd 1 H & W Welders 2 NI Championship c. 60
Your correspondent eventually made it to Portadown for this second level encounter.
That was after various bus journey’s via Derry and Belfast followed by a train from Gt.Victoria Street.
Fortunately Annagh have an artificial pitch so there was no danger of a postponement.
We even had some moments when the sun came out.
The match was decided by a late own goal put in by a home defender from a right wing cross.
It was an unfortunate finish but marginally the correct result.
The Welders had edged the first half and gone ahead when the (very) experienced Davy Rainey converted a penalty.
Annagh got level soon after the interval but as It got chillier, and when we were expecting the points to be shared, that o.g. happened.
We walked to Portadown station and got the train back to Belfast where I opted for a Balti.