Bundoran gave the perfect championship performance in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, as they demolished Naomh Colmcille in the All Sports Intermediate final.
NAOMH COLMCILLE 0-4
In one of the best performances in a final ever seen, the Seasiders were polished in every department. After two scares against locals Naomh Brid and Aodh Ruadh, they were out of the traps like greyhounds and they never gave the Naomh Colmcille men a chance. By the end of the game, the Newton men were down to 13, which reflected their frustration.
Bundoran, favourites to win the title from once the draw was made, were winning their third Intermediate Championship having won it in 1977 and 2010.
The game was over long before half-time as Bundoran cut the Naomh Colmcille defence to shreds in the opening half.
Jamie Brennan lasted 24 minutes but in that time he was on top of his game and he had 1-1 to his name before being withdrawn distraught after being down twice in the half.
At the break, Bundoran had 3-10 on the board while Naomh Colmcille had a solitary point from Willie Gillespie. It was their only shot at goal and they won two late frees in the half to go with the two they had won earlier.
What a difference at the other end. Jamie Brennan had the ball over the bar after 12 seconds, availing of a Peter McGonigle pass.
The lead was out to four by the eighth minute courtesy of one from Darragh Hoey and two Tommy Hourihane frees. Christy Keaney was beating his man at his ease. At the other end Johnny Keenan almost contrived to give away a goal on nine minutes as he fumbled a low ball. But Bundoran broke with speed and Jamie Brennan made the incision as he found Peter McGonigle ploughing through the middle. McGonigle drew the defence and slipped in Diarmuid Spratt to fire to the corner.
Willie Gillespie, very isolated up front with Joe Donaghey, had Naomh Colmcill’e sole point in the 12th minute, but from then on it was a one-team show.
Christy Keaney set up Gary Clancy; Tommy Hourihane swung over a free (he just couldn’t miss in the opening half) and then Jamie Brennan drove through an opening. He shot for goal but his effort was deflected by Michael Friel and wrongfooted Gary McDaid to push the lead to 2-6 to 0-1.
You would think it couldn’t get worse for Naomh Colmcille, but it did. Gary Clancy and Hourihane landed frees before Clancy hit a magnificent effort from near the 45m line.
Darragh Hoey got another and then the final nail came on the stroke of half-time. A great turnover by Peter McGonigle on his own ‘45’ line saw Gary Clancy power through. He found Diarmuid Spratt, who was fouled as he went for goal by Alex Devenney. The ball broke to Tommy Hourihane, who sidefooted home, but referee, Connie Doherty, whistled for a penalty (what about the advantage!). It didn’t matter as Hourihane hammered home the penalty despite Naomh Colmcille putting their Institute ‘keeper, Michael Lynch, in goal.
Then from the kick-out a row developed and Naomh Colmcille lost Ryan McKinley, a straight red for throwing a punch.
While Eddie Gillespie had a half goal chance early in the second half, it was Bundoran through Alan Russell, Diarmuid Spratt and Gary Clancy (free) who set the scoreboard ticking again.
Mark Dowds (fist) and Willie Gillespie added points before the end of the third quarter but Hourihane and two from Darragh Hoey showed the Bundoran dominance.
Naomh Colmcille lost Joe Donaghy to a straight red after an over exuberant tackle on Tommy Hourihane and then in the final minutes young Shane Carr, just on the field, palmed home the fourth goal. There was a Bundoran player on the line but Carr said afterwards “I’m claiming that goal.”
It was the perfect team performance, according to manager Brian Gavigan. However, the loss of Jamie Brennan and Peter McGonigle to hamstring injuries will put a dent in their chances in the Ulster championship next week, although McGonigle may be able to play.
Apart from those two, there were so many good individual performances from Diarmuid McCaughey at corner back keeping Willie Gillespie very quiet, to James Keaney, Shane McGowan, Ciaran McCaughey, Diarmuid Spratt and the entire full-forward line who were on top from start to finish.
Bundoran will now meet Armagh champions, Clann Eirean, in the Ulster Intermediate quarter-final on Sunday next. The venue for that game has not been made yet but it could be in Fr. Tierney Park, Ballyshannon.
Bundoran: Johnny Keenan; Diarmuid McCaughey (0-1), James Keaney, Pauric Rooney; Paul Brennan, Shane McGowan, Johnny Boyle; Ciaran McCaughey, Peter McGonagle; Diarmuid Spratt (1-1), Gary Clancy (0-4,3f), Jamie Brennan (1-1); Tommy Hourihane (1-5,pen,4f), Christy Keaney, Darragh Hoey (0-4). Subs., Alan Russell (0-1) for Brennan 24; Shane Moohan for C Keaney 41; Niall Dunne for McGonigle 47; Barry McGowan for J Boyle 51; Shane Carr for Rooney 56.
Naomh Colmcille: Gary McDaid; Ricky Hegarty, Alex Devenney, John Fullerton; Gerard Curran, Ryan McKinley, Michael Friel; Ciaran Devine, Michael Lynch; Daniel Clarke, Mark Dowds, Eddie Gillespie; Willie Gillespie, Joe Donaghey, Oran Hilley. Subs., Don Hegarty for E Gillespie 37; Paul Friel for G Curran 41; Stephen Gallagher for Lynch 43; Conor Grant for D Clarke 47; David McNamee for Devenney 51.
Frees: Bundoran 20 (13 in first half) Naomh Colmcille 14 (4 in first half)
Wides: Bundoran 11 (5). Naomh Colmcille 2 (both in second half)
Yellow: Bundoran 0. Naomh Colmcille Alex Devenney
Red Cards: Bundoran 0. Naomh Colmcille Ryan McKinley 29,
Joe Donaghy 55
Referee: Connie Doherty (Naomh Conaill)
MAN OF THE MATCH A very difficult choice but the award goes to Gary Clancy, who led the Bundoran line superbly as well as being involved and hitting some great scores. Tommy Hourihane, Shane McGowan and two players substituted Jamie Brennan and Peter McGonigle were also in the running in one of the best team displays seen in a county final in years.