Ten minutes from the end a goal to win any goal of the season contest by Oisin Purdy kick-started St. Eunan’s into action and they went on to clinch the Co. U-16 title.
ST. EUNAN’S 3-11
The Twin Towns side led by 1-9 to 0-8 with 49 minutes on the clock but then Purdy struck, breaking free of his marker before unleashing an unstoppable shot to the MacCumhaill’s net.
Two minutes later Michael McGroary struck for goal number two and St. Eunan’s were in the lead for the first time in the game, and the hat-trick of goals was complete a minute later when Louis Hasson (who had been substituted on 39 minutes, but was just back on the field again) struck the third goal to complete one of the greatest turnarounds ever witnessed at the Convoy grounds.
Three goals in three minutes! It was fairytale stuff. MacCumhaill’s had controlled the game on the board for the first 50 minutes, even though St. Eunan’s did have goal chances of their own.
The losers, who had emerged as winners in the Divisional final, will rue six wides in the third quarter when they had a purple patch and also Conor Lillis driving over the crossbar with just the ‘keeper to beat on 41 minutes. A goal at that stage would have pushed MacCumhaill’s seven points clear.
But overall, St. Eunan’s probably deserved their victory as they had the ability to take their chances when they came in the second half and they had a real star in Purdy at corner-forward.
FAST OPENING GOAL
MacCumhaill’s got off to a whirlwind start with a goal on 26 seconds. A high ball in from Oisin Gallen was not cleared and when full-forward Conor Lillis got a touch which came off the crossbar, Luke Gavigan had the easy task of palming home.
MacCumhaill’s added a point on six minutes after good work by Lillis, Jamie Keegan found the range with his left.
Niall Hannigan got St. Eunan’s on the scoreboard on 10 minutes and they had a great goal chance three minutes later when a great ball by Oisin Purdy found Matthew McGovern, but his first touch let him down and his effort was deflected for a ‘45’. McGovern made amends when he took Aaron Deeney’s ‘45’ and fired over.
McGovern had another goal chance on 16 minutes after a great run by Purdy in along the endline but MacCumhaill’s full-back Christopher Gallagher made a great block to deflect for another ‘45’.
Purdy was causing plenty of problems and he was brought to ground by Calvin O’Brien on 17 minutes. O’Brien was yellow carded and was lucky to escape a black. From the free Patrick McColgan launched a great point.
At the other end Conor McWalters was yellow carded for touching the ball on the ground to deny MacCumhaill’s a goal chance and Oisin Gallen pointed the free.
Matthew McGovern had his third goal chance of the half on 20 minutes as be blazed over from close range to reduce the lead to the minimum, 1-2 to 0-4.
Before half-time the sides shared four points as MacCumhaill’s maintained their one point advantage - 1-4 to 0-6.
That advantage was out to five - 1-8 to 0-6 - by the 41st minute with Oisin Gallen, Cormac Glackin and two from Conor Lillis (the latter the great goal chance).
Niall Hannigan chipped in with two pointed frees to give Eunan’s hope before Luke Gavigan did the spadework for what seemed an important reply from Jamie Keegan for MacCumhaill’s on 49 minutes.
But then came the three goal blitz and it was game over. Eoin McGeehin, Eoin O’Boyle and Louis Hasson had late Eunan’s point while a shellshocked MacCumhaill’s could manage just one in reply from a Ryan Finn free.
The final minutes saw three players black carded - Jack Burke and Joe Boyle for MacCumhaill’s and Patrick McColgan of St. Eunan’s, but this was a game played in a good spirit. Both sides were without mentors who were suspended - Luke Gavigan snr. for MacCumhaill’s and Paul McGovern for St. Eunan’s. They had appealed the suspensions, handed out for indiscretions in the Divisional final, but the appeals were unsuccessful.
It was a good all-round display from St. Eunan’s in a game that only came to life in the final ten minutes.
Apart from the excellent Purdy, Niall Hannigan, Eoin McGeehin, Louis Hasson and Matthew McGovern were to the fore up front for the winners. Hasson finished with 1-3 with 1-1 coming on his return for the final ten minutes.
Christopher Gallagher, Fintan Griffin, Luke Gavigan, Conor Lillis, Jamie Keegan and Oisin Gallen tried hard for MacCumhaill’s, who were without centre half-back Rory Mulligan.
The win gives St. Eunan’s the clean sweep of Donegal underage titles in 2015 - U-12, U-14, U-16 and Minor.
MacCumhaill’s: Ciaran Foy; Matthew Doherty, Christopher Gallagher, Calvin O’Brien; Jack Burke, Fintan Griffin (0-1), Ryan Finn (0-1,f); Joe Boyle, Chad McSorley; Cormac Glackin (0-1), Luke Gavigan (1-0), Jamie Keegan (0-2); Anthony Bruton, Conor Lillis (0-3), Oisin Gallen (0-2,2f). Subs Sub: Calum Bonnar for Burke, bcard, 57; Daire McCafferty for Boyle b card, 5).
St. Eunan’s: Ronan McGeehin; Ciaran McCloskey, Conor McWalters, Ryan Hilferty; Michael McGroary (1-0), Aaron Deeney, Donal Farren; Patrick McColgan (0-1,f), Jerome Angel Atuahene; Shaun Curran, Niall Hannigan (0-3,2f), Eoin McGeehin (0-2); Louis Hasson (0-1), Matthew McGovern (0-2), Oisin Purdy (1-0). Subs., Eoin O’Boyle (0-1) for Atuahene 34; James Kelly for Hasson 39; Louis Hasson (1-1) for Curran 51; Darragh Morrison for McColgan b card, 58.
Wides: MacCumhaill’s 8 (2 in first half). St. Eunan’s 6 (3 in first half)
Frees: MacCumhaill’s 11 (6). St. Eunan’s 13 (5)
Yellow Cards: MacCumhaill’s Calvin O’Brien, Matthew Doherty, Ryan Finn.
St. Eunan’s: Conor McWalters.
Black Cards: MacCumhaill’s Jack Burke, Joe Boyle.
St. Eunan’s Patrick McColgan
Referee: Martin Coll (Gaoth Dobhair)
MAN OF THE MATCH
Oisin Purdy was a thorn in the side of MacCumhaill’s long before he struck for his wonder goal with ten minutes left. The corner forward was almost unmarkable and was the main difference between the sides.