Setanta won the first ever Donegal U-21 Hurling championship with a narrow win over St Eunan’s in Convoy on Saturday.
St Eunan’s 0-7
While it was close and pretty evenly contested from the first whistle to the last, Setanta were the worthy champions at the finish.
They had that little more hurling in their locker and backboned by a strong spine from Marty Callaghan at full-back, through Shane Galllen, at centre-back, Brendan Tourish and Justin Browne, in the middle of the park, Conor Gallen, on the forty and Thomas McMenamin at full-forward.
Chris Bonner at wing back and Colm Melaugh at corner forward, were the other stand-out Setanta players. This and the marksmanship of Justin Browne, who scored all five of his team’s points, three of them from long range placed balls and the opening point from fully 80m.
The sides were level 0-3 each at half-time following a strong finish from St Eunan’s who posted injury time points from Kevin Meehan and Owen Friel. Browne had hit three first quarter points for Setanta who had enjoyed the better of the possession stakes in the opening 30 minutes.
Browne seemed to have scored a fourth point which was clearly signalled by the umpire, but referee J J Lafferty deemed at half-time that it was three points each.
Friel had scored St Eunan’s first point on five minutes.
Powered by O’Donnell, Parke, Colm Flood and Meehan, St Eunan’s temporarily took the lead at the start of the second period thanks to a well struck Meehan point. But two quick Browne converted frees and another Meehan special meant the sides were still all square eight minutes into the new half, before Thomas McMenamin struck for the game’s only goal. McMenamin capitalised on a mistake by David Ireland to propel his side into a 1-5 to 0-5 lead.
Amazingly, Setanta did not score in the remaining 20 minutes but with Eunan’s not able to punish, two more Meehanstrikes was all they had to show, though Meehan missed two late chances to earn a draw.
Setanta: Michael Dullaghan; Sean Maguire, Marty Callaghan, Tiarnan McConnell; Chris Bonner, Shane Gallen, Sean McLaughlin; Brendan Tourish, Justin Browne (0-5,3f,65); Aaron Dalton, Conor Gallen, Bernard Lafferty; Ryan Duffy, Thomas McMenamin (1-0), Colm Melaugh.
St Eunan’s: David Ireland; Luke Wilson, Frank Lennon, David Lee; Stephen Doherty, Conor O’Donnell, Ciaran Parke; Colm Flood, John Ireland; Kevin Meehan (0-6,4f) Owen Friel (0-1), Anthony Emmett; Jack Brennan, Sean McBride, Aaron O’Connor. Sub: Daniel O’Connor for A O’ Connor(51).
Referee: J J Lafferty (Carndonagh).