Naomh Ultan’s dream of a run in the Ulster Junior Championship were well and truly ended by Cavan champions St Aidan’s, Templeport, yestetday in Sean MacCumhaill Park.
NAOMH ULTAN 1-5
TEMPLEPORT (Cavan) 3-12
There was no great argument about at the finish of this tie as the Cavan side finished 13 points to the good adn were the much better outfit.
They won all the key battles against the Donegal champions. Naomh Ultan were just a pale shadow of the team that romped to the Donegal Division Four League title and won the Donegal Junior Championship after a replay.
The game as a contest was well and truly over at half-time, as St Aidan’s led 2-7 to 1-3, with Naomh Ultan’s body language showing as if they had already thrown in the towel when trotting off at half-time.
And the second half proved as much as Brendan McCready’s charges only added two more points to their tally, with the Cavan men tagging on a further goal and five points without having to raise a gallop.
St Aidan’s struck early and had Naomh Ultan reeling in the third minute when Eoin Doonan exposed slackness in the Naomh Ultan last line of defence to give Daniel McGlynn no chance from five metres for the game’s opening goal.
And the winners were four up shortly after when the impressive Liam Galligan converted from 13 metres from straight in front of the posts. Doonan and Galligan, in the corner forward berths, gave the Naomh Ultan defence a torrid time from the off.
Clearly rattled, Naomh Ultan, through the work and industry of Aidan Duddy and Cian Kennedy, finally found their rhythm and when Kennedy knocked over after a sweeping move out of defence, they were up and running.
Seconds earlier Damien Quigley had opened the Naomh Ultan account after good combination between Duddy and Kenendy.
Doonan and Kennedy traded points to leave just two the difference the end of the first quarter hour before the Cavan champions forged ahead to lead 1-5 to 0-3 after 15 minutes. Ben Kietnan (2) and Eoghan Martin scored the St Aidan’s points.
But the margin was back to two again when James Byrne smashed to the St Aidan’s net after a long diagonal delivery from Kennedy found Byrne unmarked inside the St Aidan’s cover. That was on 26 minutes and dragged Naomh Ultan back into a contest that was slipping away.
But three minutes later they were reeling once again when Benjamin Kelly stuck for the Cavan champions and a five point lead had been restored, 2-5 to 1-3, with normal time almost up in the half.
And the Cavan men went in six up, 2-6 to 1-3, at half-time when Kieran converted a ‘45’ in the fourth minute of injury time.
Six down at the break, the Donegal champions faced an uphill challenge, and given the power, pace and dominance of the Cavan men right through the park, it was a tall order.
It was a climb too far, as it proved, for the black and ambers. The introduction of Declan Murrin to midfield did little to stunt the dominance of man of the match Donal Maguire.
While Cian Kennedy drew first blood with the first point of the second half on 33 minutes, Galligan added 1-2 and Benjamin Kelly and Maguire stroked over points before second half substitute Aaron Byrne, from a free kicked long, had Naomh Ultan’s second point of the second period.
By this stage the horse had well and truly bolted and it was St Aidan’s that were basking in the November sunshine at the finish as they closed the game out to book their place in the semi-final.
This was a disappointing end to the season for Naomh Ultan who had all the appearance of a side that had emptied the tank in winning the league and championship double in Donegal.
NAOMH ULTAN: Daniel McGlynn; Conor Shovlin, Jonathan Cassidy, Michael McGlynn; Daniel Gallagher, Dermot Gallier, Alastair Rodgers; Shane McWhinnie, Donal Murrin; James Byrne (1-0), Alan Lyons, Cian Kennedy (0-3, 1f, 1’45’); Peter Alvey, Aidan Duddy, Damien Quigley (0-1). Subs: Declan Murrin and Aaron Byrne (0-1, 1f) for Donal Murrin and M McGlynn (half-time), Colin MacNicholas for A Lyons (51), Michael Breslin and Emmett Kennedy for J Byrne and P Alvey (58).
Templeport: Darren Donohoe; Brendan McGoldrick, Sean Dolan, Michael Devine; Lassa Morgenroth, Oran Duffy, Dillon Raythorne; Martin Ball, Donal Maguire (0-1); Benjamin Kelly (1-2), Ben Kiernan (0-4 1f, 2 ’45s’), Eoghan Martin (0-1); Eoin Doonan (1-1), Liam McAweeney, Liam Galligan (1-3,1f). Sub: Killian Smith for L Morgenroth (h/t Kieran McManus for M Ball (50), Conor McAweeney for L McAweeney (56), Eamon Baxter for B Kelly (58).
Frees: Naomh Ultan - 17 ( 7 in first half). Templeport- 21 ( 8 in first half)
Wides: Naomh Ultan - 4 ( 1), Templeport -10 (6)
Yellow : Naomh Ultan - 1 (Conor Shovlin), Templeport - 1 (Killian Smith)
Referee: Ciaran Mooney (Down)
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
All the contenders were in the Templeport shirts, but one man stood out from all the rest, midfielder Donal Maguire, who turned in a towering performance. And he capped a man of the match display with a brilliant point from the outside of his boot in the closing minutes. Cian Kennedy at wing forward was Naomh Ultan’s standout player.