St Michael’s bounced back from their opening day defeat away to Dungloe with a hard fought three point win over Glenswilly, at the Bridge in Dunfanaghy on Saturday evening.
St Michael’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-8
Glenswilly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0-8
Brian McLaughlin’s second half goal separated the sides at the finish in what was a scrappy encounter on a biting cold but surprisingly calm evening in Dunfanaghy.
The two sides were without their county men on what was a ‘Star’ fixture weekend. St Michael’s, the league champions from last season, were without Mark Anthony McGinley, Martin McElhinney, Christy Toye and Colm McFadden.
And Glenswilly, who have Gary McDaid back on the line, were minus their big two of Michael Murphy and Neil Gallagher.
St Michael’s led by a point, 0-5 to 0-4, at the end of a pretty evenly contested opening half hour in which the sides were level twice.
Ciaran Gallagher and Lee Carr, two men that had a big influence on the game, scored the opening points as St Michael’s raced into an early two point lead inside the first nine minutes.
But the sides were level for the first time by the end of the first quarter thanks to well taken points from Chris McMonagle and Gary ‘Copper’ McFadden.
McFadden again tied up the game five minutes from the break after Andrew Kelly and Michael Langan, with the point of the night, had edged St Michael’s two up again.
Just when it looked like they were going to go in all square, Andrew Kelly landed a monster sideline from 40 metres, one even the great Maurice Fitzgerald would have been proud of, to send the locals in 0-5 to 0-4 in front at half-time.
Ciaran Bonner drew a good save from Dean McColgan early in the second half and Caolan McFadden reduced the margin to two with a little over five minutes gone on the second half clock.
Three points in three minutes, one from Michael Langan and two from Lee Carr - who tormented the visiting defence all evening - stretched the St Michael’s lead out to three points for the first time.
Philip O’Donnell, in the unusual surroundings of the full-forward berth, temporarily made it a two point game before veteran McLaughlin pounced for the game’s only goal.
The former county man made no mistake from five metres after being sent clear by his brother Raymond and good work out the field from Lee Carr.
Leading by five, 1-8 to 0-6, the locals failed to score again as Glenswilly piled on late pressure and Copper McFadden converted two late frees as darkness fell on the Bridge.
St Michael’s: Dean McColgan; Stephen Black, Stephen Doak, James H Alcorn; Liam Paul Ferry, Michael ‘Rock’ Gallagher, Chris McElhinney; Ciaran ‘Rock’ Gallagher (0-1), Ciaran Kelly; Michael Langan (0-2), Michael Cannon, Lee Carr (0-3,2f); Andrew Kelly (0-2,2f), Oisin Langan, Brian McLaughlin (1-0). Subs: Oran McFadden for O Langan (33, black card); Lorcan McDaid for C Kelly ( 39, inj); Raymond McLaughlin for S Black (45, inj).
Glenswilly: James Gallagher; Mark McAteer, Eamon Ward, Aidan McDevitt; Caoimhinn Marley, Ciaran Bonner, Paddy Diver; Leon Kelly, Caolan Kelly; Darren McGinley, Gary McFadden (0-5,4f), Cathal Gallagher; Chris McMonagle (0-1), Philip O’Donnell (0-1), Kealan McFadden (0-1,1f). Subs: Paddy McFadden for L Kelly (50, black card); Ciaran Gibbons for C Marley (53); Conor Callaghan for D McGinley (55).
Referee: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh).