Two nerveless Caolan McGonagle placed balls in the second period of extra-time sealed a dramatic victory for Buncrana.
St Eunan’s 0-10
McGonagle’s points finally decided the issue against St Eunan’s in last night’s first ever floodlit County Minor Division One final.
It was the Inishowen side’s first title at the age level since the variety of the year 2000. Barry McGeehin and McGonagle traded points in the first period of extra-time and St Eunan’s substitute Jordan O’Dowd came within a whistle of putting his side in prime position only to see his effort cannon off the crossbar.
After McGonagle’s two scores, David Tyrell scored one for St Eunan’s but Buncrana held on and John Campbell sealed the deal.
Christy Gillespie’s team went into the final as almost unbackable favourites following their 4-18 to 1-8 annihilation of Buncrana in the
Northern Board final. However, Sean Clerkin’s side, from a defensive blanket, defended diligently and were economical up front.
Buncrana were crowding St Eunan’s and in the first half it looked as though the Letterkenny side were almost powerless to stop it. Buncrana were 0-4 to 0-0 up when St Eunan’s finally opened their account on 19 minutes.
And when Conor O’Donnell grabbed a second point for his team just shy of the interval, his punching of the air showed how much frustration had built up. Buncrana were 0-4 to 0-2 up at half-time.
Conor McEniff and Campbell scored frees for their respective sides in the opening exchanges of the second half. Fifteen-year-old Niall O’Donnell pointed twice, the first of which enabled St Eunan’s to lead for the first time in the match 13 minutes into the second half.
But Buncrana continued to make a game of it and were still just one down, at 0-8 to 0-7, in the closing stages before McGonagle’s injury time brought extra-time. The same player then made sure of the win.
St Eunan’s: Sean Daffan; Ronan Dorrian, Jordan McBride, Connall O’Boyle; Dáire McMonagle, David Tyrell (0-1, 1f), Conor Morrison; Evan O’Sullivan, Conor O’Donnell (0-2); Michael Miller, Daniel Gillespie, Barry McGeehin (0-1); Conor McEniff (0-4, 3f), Rory Carr, Niall O’Donnell (0-2). Subs: Oisin Carr for O’Sullivan (half-time), Dylan Sweeney for Dorrian (37), Peter O’Malley for Morrison (49), Jordan O’Dowd for N O’Donnell (58), John Russell for R Carr (64), Niall O’Donnell for O’Dowd (77).
Buncrana: Lee McCarron; Shane McLaughlin, Bruce Waldron, Daniel Wilson; Stephen Nelson, Stephen Doherty, Conor Grant; Caolan McGonagle (0-5, 3f, 45), Peter McLaughlin (0-1); Joseph McGrory, Darach O’Connor (0-1, 1f), Shane Devlin; Ryan Curran, John Campbell (0-5, 3f), Jack O’Loughlin. Subs: Aidan Stokes for Devlin (68).
Referee: Ian Molloy (Naomh Conaill).