Glenswilly have a habit of just doing enough to obtain their specific aims and that was the case on Saturday as they edged into the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta SFC quarter-finals.
St Michael’s 1-2
With a myriad of complexities going into their face-off against St Michael’s on Saturday, one thing was certain: If Gary McDaid’s team could produce a winning margin of more than a point then they would be assured of a knock-out place.
On the other hand, if St Michael’s could get a result or even a one-point loss then they would be guaranteed qualifiers. In Towney, all Kilcar could do was wallop Bundoran.
In a frantic conclusion after Glenswilly had clawed their way back from 1-2 to 0-1 down to establish that vital two-point cushion, Colm McFadden stood over a free to the left of the Glenswilly goals four and a half minutes into injury time.
Such was the claustrophobic nature of the contest, one in which there wasn’t a single point from play, his team had not managed one shot in the entire second half. McFadden’s effort flew across the face of the posts. Glenswilly had done just enough.
Shaun McLaughlin’s final whistle was greeted with delight by the home support as the St Michael’s players slumped to their knees.
There was a considerable element of uncertainty in the air until the word filtered through that Kilcar’s titanic efforts had fallen just short when they hammered Bundoran 5-15 to 0-3.
Tony Wilkinson’s StMichael’s, who finished level on points and points difference with Glenswilly, had sneaked second place ahead of Kilcar. Their relief was palpable.
For long periods though, they looked to be in control of the match. Glenswilly might have scored the first point through a Michael Murphy free in the first minute but it would be 42 long minutes before they’d add to that total.
In the interim, St Michael’s scored two frees through McFadden, either side of the one bit of genuine offensive quality in the match.
Martin McElhinney played a give-and-go with Christy Toye and Ciaran Gallagher before driving low past Gerard McGrenra on 22 minutes for the opening goal.
Aside from that, both teams packed their defence and there was a litany of passes sideways and backwards.
McElinnhey’s goal, as it would turn out, was the last time St Michael’s would score. Perhaps they thought the 1-2 to 0-1 half-time lead would’ve been enough to help them home.
The caginess continued in the second half and by 48 minutes, St Michael’s were still ahead, 1-2 to 0-2.
Both teams were creating little but when Neil Gallagher pumped a ball into the St Michael’s square, Murphy got a slap amid the clutter of bodies to grab a vital goal that levelled the scores.
Glenswilly continued to press late on, amid the hysteria, and Gary McFadden and Murphy added frees for that elusive two-point win.
Glenswilly: Gerard McGrenra; Brian McDaid, Eamon Ward, Ruairi Crawford; Aidan McDevitt, Joe Gibbons, Cormac Callaghan; Neil Gallagher, Caolán Kelly; Barry Molloy, Gary McFadden (0-1, 1f), Ciaran Bonner; Leon Kelly, Michael Murphy (1-3, 3f), Darren McGinley.
Subs: Kealan McFadden for C.Kelly (half-time), Brian Farrelly for Molloy (41).
St Michael’s: Mark Anthony McGinley; Liam Paul Ferry, Stephen Doak, Andrew Kelly; Antoin McFadden, Michael McGinley, Michael Gallagher; Ciaran Gallagher, Martin McElhinney (1-0); Peter Witherow, Christopher McElhinney, James Henry Alcorn; Martin Breslin, Colm McFadden (0-2, 2f), Christy Toye. Subs: Daniel McLaughlin for C McElhinney (half-time), Oisin Langan for Breslin (51), Brian McLaughlin for Witherow (black card, 55).
Referee: Shaun McLaughlin (Malin).