Every eye in the Athletic Grounds in Armagh was on Daire McDaid as he stood over a 58th minute penalty with St Eunan’s College 1-5 to 0-6 down against Coláistí Inis Eoghain on Monday.
With the MacLarnon Cup on the line, Termon’s McDaid showed no signs of nerves and calmly slotted the ball past Jordan McLaughlin to put his team in front for only the second time all afternoon. It was a lead they would not let go of.
“We’re delighted,” McDaid outside of a boisterous winners’ dressing room down the Athletic Grounds tunnel. “We’ve waited seven years since the last time.”
The St Patrick’s Day triumph was the fifth MacLarnon Cup won by the Letterkenny team. But for long spells it seemed as though the trophy would be headed to Inishowen for the first time - particularly after Darach O’Connor’s goal in the first minute of the final.
“We didn’t make a great start but managed to get back into it,” McDaid added.
When Michael Murphy scored a penalty in the 2011 Ulster final for Donegal against Derry, he remarked afterwards that he just let God guide it. McDaid did something similar.
“We just stuck at it and stuck at it and were glad to get the penalty right at the end. I don’t know what was going through my head before I hit it but I knew if I could get it on target then it’ll go in.
“I was lucky enough it went in. It’s a great week for Donegal football. We were in the final and Inishowen were representing five schools and it’s brilliant for all of them. I really mean that. It’s great for underage football in the county.
“Now, we’re playing Carrick Vocational School on Saturday in the All-Ireland quarter-finals. It’s brilliant. They will be a tough test.”