Naomh Conaill bridge 19 year gap to win Gaeltacht title

Peter Campbell, Spor

Reporter:

Peter Campbell, Spor

Naomh Conaill bridge 19 year gap to win Gaeltacht title
Naomh Conaill proved much too strong for an understrength Gaoth Dobhair in the senior Gaeltacht final in Ardara.

Naomh Conaill proved much too strong for an understrength Gaoth Dobhair in the senior Gaeltacht final in Ardara.

Naomh Conaill 0-21

Gaoth Dobhair 1-6

Gaoth Dobhair stayed in the contest until half-time, thanks to a good goal and the wind advantage but they were not fit to live with Naomh Conaill in the second half and could only manage one point in the 59th minute.

Naomh Conail had both Thompsons, Anthony and Ciaran (who trained with the Donegal senior squad in the morning) in their side and in Daragh Gallagher and Johnny McLoone, Dermot Molloy and Brendan McDyer, they had players who knew where the target was.

It was their first Donegal senior Gaeltacht title since 1996 and their third in all.

In a very open game of football in the opening half, Naomh Conaill performed very well against the wind and led by three after six minutes through Daragh Gallagher with two (one free) and Eunan Doherty.

Gaoth Dobhair got back in the contest with two points from Noel Kelly and Gavin McBride on 10 minutes.

Daragh Gallagher and Gavin McBride traded frees before Gaoth Dobhair lost Micheal Roarty to a black card for a tackle on Daragh Gallagher. Leon Thompson edged Naomh Conaill two clear but Gaoth Dobhair struck for a goal on 21 minutes. A long ball from Cian Mulligan was broken and Gavin McBride found Niall Friel who fired home.

Naomh Conaill responded with points from Hugh Gallagher and Brendan McDyer but Noel Kelly levelled with the outside of his left.

In the closing minutes of the half Dermot Molloy and Sean Boyle traded points to leave the sides deadlocked at the break, Naomh Conaill 0-8, Gaoth Dobhair 1-5.

The second half was all one-way traffic and by the 48th minute they had added eight points, one of which could have been a goal when Leo McLoone palmed a Daragh Gallagher cross just over the bar.

Ironically, the only statistic that went in favour of Gaoth Dobhair was the free count, 16-2. Without their marquee players and also the Donegal minor squad contingent, they were never able to make a contest of this final.

Naomh Conaill will relish the chance now to take their place in the All-Ireland finals weekend in Ardara on the June Bank Holiday weekend and they will fancy their chances of doing well on that occasion.

Gaoth Dobhair: Cathal Doherty; Ciaran Ferry, Proinnsias Gallagher, James Boyle; Ciaran Gillespie, Cian Mulligan, Niall Friel (1-0); Paul Mulligan, Michael McKelvey; Michael Roarty, Noel Kelly (0-2), Shaun Doherty; Gavin McBride (0-3,1f), Sean Boyle (0-1), James Reynolds. Sub., Mark Roarty for M Roarty, bcard 19

Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Eunan Doherty (0-1), Johnny Bonner, Kevin McGettigan; Marty Boyle, Anthony Thompson, Eoin Waide (0-1); Hugh Gallagher (0-1), Johnny McLoone (0-3); Daragh Gallagher (0-5,2f), Dermot Molloy (0-4), Ciaran Thompson; Brendan McDyer (0-3), Leo McLoone (0-1), Leon Thompson (0-1). Subs., AJ Gallagher for J Bonner 41; Ethan O’Donnell for L Thompson 47; Seamus Ellis for M Boyle 49; Seamus Corcoran (0-1) for C Thompson 52; Ciaran Gallagher for E Doherty 56; Joe Kennedy for McDyer 58.

Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs)