Four Masters posted a fine win at county headquarters on Saturday night to overcome Sean MacCumhaill’s in the RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta SFC Group 2.
Sean MacCumhaill’s 0-9
Four Masters 2-14
The side managed by Emelyn Hughes were pipped out of the group stages last year despite winning two of their three outings, with the Ballybofey outfit making the knock-out stages.
However, on Saturday under the floodlights at Sean MacCumhaill Park the visitors were dominant, particularly in the first half, to move onto three points after two outings.
The Donegal Town residents had opened six days beforehand with a 0-9 to 0-9 draw against Ardara, while Brendan Dunleavy’s MacCumhaill’s came out on top in a derby clash, 0-13 to 0-8, in Glenfin.
There was an offensive fluidity about Masters on Saturday, with Kevin McBrearty and Peadar Espey grabbing a goal apiece in each half.
The first half was a very open spectacle with Four Masters finishing it 1-10 to 0-5 in front. From the totals both parties accumulated, there was only two of those 16 scores from a free. Michael Doherty popped over both.
Whilst MacCumhaill’s were leaning heavily on Marty O’Reilly for their scores - he would score three from play in each half - Four Masters had a number of threats.
The majority of the Masters’ points were well worked and precise, with six different players on the scoresheet with McBrearty, Espey and Doherty joined by Luke Keaney, Danny McGarrigle, Conor Rooney and Sean O’Kennedy all finding their range.
The centre-field combination linked for the opening goal of the night when Keaney, on 27 minutes, fed McBrearty to slot past Eoin Gallen.
MacCumhaill’s chances were further scuppered in first half injury time when Rory Dunleavy was black-carded by match referee Liam McConigley for blocking off a run.
The home team weren’t overly happy with the decision. Rooney, the Four Master wing-back, was given the same punishment for the same ‘crime’ in the second period.
By then, the contest was over as such. Espey added a second goal on 36 minutes when he was the only man on the field alive to a dropping ball after Doherty had struck the upright.
That came three minutes after Paul Durcan had saved from Benny McLaughlin down at his near post at the Town End.
Points were traded at both ends thereafter as whatever fizzle there was, disappeared into the chilly night air.
Doherty, with the game even more opened up, was denied a goal when he smashed a shot against the MacCumhaill’s crossbar.
Both teams have a fighting chance of reaching the quarter-finals but after their win on the road, it’s Four Masters, who travel to an already eliminated Glenfin, who will be at the shorter odds.
Sean MacCumhaill’s: E Gallen; E Wright, M Gallagher, J Dunnion; S Duffy; G Dunnion, A McCloskey; P McNulty, S O’Reilly; S Mulligan (0-1), M O’Reilly (0-6), S McGowan; B McLaughlin, A Kelly (0-1), R Dunleavy. Subs: G Grindle for Dunleavy (black card 30), B Lafferty (0-1) for Mulligan (46)
Four Masters: P Durcan; J McCrea, K Breslin, D Quinn; C Rooney (0-1), K Lacey, B Dunnion; K McBrearty (1-2), L Keaney (0-2); S O’Kennedy (0-2), B Monaghan, D McGarrigle (0-1); C McMonagle, M Doherty (0-5, 3f), P Espie (1-1). Subs: R McGroary for Dunnion (39), D Doherty for Espey (44), J Lacey for McGarrigle (46), L McHugh for Rooney (51, black card), K Loughrey for McMonagle (59).
Referee: L McConigley (Downings).