St. Eunan’s and Buncrana will meet in the Co. Minor Championship Division 1 final after their victories over Four Masters and Aodh Ruadh respectively on Wednesday evening.
It means that the final - on Sunday 1st September - will be a repeat of the Northern Regional final which the Letterkenny side won very convincingly. However, after their impressive outing against Aodh Ruadh, Buncrana are capable of giving St. Eunan’s a run for their money.
Aodh Ruadh 1-8
This was a real close affair, played in Convoy, but Buncrana were worthy winners as they led for most of the contest.
They had a great opening with Darach O’Connor clinically finding the net after 20 seconds and although Aodh Ruadh got back to lead, the Inishowen side were a point to the good at the break and were never headed in the second half.
After O’Connor’s opening goal, Aodh Ruadh took 12 minutes before Eamon McGrath got them on the scoreboard and David McGurrin ponited a free a minute later.
John Campbell replied from a free at the other end before Aodh Ruadh got ahead late in the half. Jamie McDonald pointed from long range; John Campbell responded but then Pauric Patton put David McGurrin through and he first timed to the net.
However, in first half injury time allowed for an injury to Patrick Gillespie, Keelan McGonagle (from a ‘45’ and free and Darach O’Connor pointed to leave Buncrana 1-5 to 1-4 ahead at the break.
David McGurrin levelled matters seven minutes into the second half but Ryan Curran responded to put Buncrana back in front.
Daniel Kelly made a great stop to deny Curran a Buncrana goal and Jamie McDonald levelled matters again with a long range effort on 46 minutes.
Then Buncrana struck for three points from a Keelan McGonagle free, Darach O’Connor and McGonagle from play to edge 1-9 to 1-6 ahead.
It proved to be the decisive part of the game and although Aodh Ruadh showed great fighting qualities to whittle down the lead with two McGurrin frees, they just couldn’t get on terms, although McGurrin had the ball plucked from under the crossbar in the latter stages.
In added time Joseph McGrory hit a great final point to ease Buncrana through.
Keelan McGonagle was the hero for Buncrana as he played a major part in the victory, not just with his scores, but also winning his midfield battle.
Darach O’Connor, Ryan Curran, Bruce Waldron, Peter McLaughlin and John Campbell also played their part.
For Aodh Ruadh David McGurrin could have done no more, doing his best to drag his team to the final. Colm Kelly, Eamon McGrath, Pauric Patton and Eugene Drummond also played well.
Overall, the more physically bigger Buncrana side were deserving winners and it was the first championship defeat for this bunch of Aodh Ruadh players in quite a while as they have U-12, 14 and 16 championship medals.
Buncrana: Shane Doherty; Daniel Wilson, Bruce Waldron, Conor Grant; Stephen Doherty, Shane McLaughlin, Ryan Curran (0-1); Peter McLaughlin, Keelan McGonigle (0-4,2f,45); Stephen Nelson, Darach O’Connor (1-2), Joseph McGrory (0-1); Matthew Barber, John Campbell (0-2,1f), Jack O’Loughlin.
Aodh Ruadh: Daniel Kelly; Matthew Maguire, Ryan Patton, Eugene Drummond; Lynch, Colm Kelly, Niall Harley; Darren Gethins, Eamon McGrath (0-1); Patrick Gillespie, Pauric Patton, Johnny Gethins; Michael McNeely, Jamie McDonald (0-2), David McGurrin (1-5,5f). Subs., Jason Gallagher for Gillespie 10; Philip Patton for D Gethins 24; Oisin Rooney for McNeely 47; McNeely for J Gethins 54.
Referee: Ian Molloy (N Conaill)
In the other semi-final in Lifford St. Eunan’s were never troubled as they overcame Four Masters by 1-18 to 2-5.
In the division 2 semi final on Wednesday night Na Rossa put in a powerful performance to make it an all southern division 2 final with a convincing win against Northern champions Downings. Odhran Molloy scoring 1-08 of his teams total. They now play Naomh Columba in the final.
County Championship Semi Final Division 2 Result
Na Rossa 3-14, Downings 1-10
COUNTY FINALS DATE, SUNDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER
VENUE: MCCUMHAILL PARK
Div 2 Final, Na Rossa v Naomh Columba @6.30pm
Div 1 Final, St Eunans v Buncrana @8pm