Malin rounded off a good weekend with a hard fought and narrow victory over St Michael’s at the Bridge, on Monday afternoon.
St Michael’s 0-12
After putting struggling Termon to the sword with a 1-13 to 0-7 victory at the Burn Road, on Saturday evening, Terence Colhoun’s men returned home from their trip into the North-West with another two precious league points on Monday evening.
In what was a fascinating tussle, it was the Inishowen men’s greater structure and ability to stick rigidly to their game plan of a packed defence and a slow methodical build up that proved the difference between the sides.
But this victory was not all down to structure and system; Malin also had a number of outstanding individual performances. Declan Walsh, at centre half-back and wing-backs Paul McLaughlin and Ciaran McColgan; Anthony Kelly, and John G McLaughlin at midfield and Brendan McLaughlin, Terence Doherty and Michael Byrne all turned in five star performances and on Monday’s performance they are going to be a match for most, if not all, in the division.
Walsh, though, had his hands full at times with Christy Toye, who really drove his side forward in the closing quarter when the fat was in the fire and the outcome was very much in the balance.
St Michael’s also employed big numbers behind the ball but relied more on the individual brilliance and scoring ability of Colm McFadden, Michael Cannon and Christy Toye when they got the ball forward.
Malin had also a great spread of scorers with eight of their starting 15 plus second half substitute Conor Farren hitting the target. St Michael’s had five different scorers with McFadden, Toye, Cannon and Lorcan McDaid accounting for ten of their 12 point tally.
Malin led by three points, 1-5 to 0-5, at half-time, after having played with the aid of a stiff breeze. Brendan McLaughlin’s goal, three minutes before half-time, was the big score of the half. The goal was Malin’s first score in close on 25 minutes after the locals through McFadden, Cannon and Toye (2) had erased the visitors’ three point salvo in the opening six minutes.
Toye’s point after a good fetch and run on 18 minutes saw the locals hit the front, 0-4 to 0-3, for the first time. With the packed defences both sides were finding the going tough up front. McLaughlin broke the deadlock three minutes from the break when he first timed past Ciaran Gallagher from ten metres when the ball broke kindly for him.
Matthew Byrne, from a free, and Walsh extended the Malin lead out to four 1-5 to 0-4 before Michael Langan on the stroke of half-time made it a three point game.
With the breeze in their backs and kicking towards the town end goals, St Michael’s enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges of the second period and when Colm McFadden landed their third point of the half six minutes in, the Malin lead was down to one 1-6 to 0-8.
Matthew Byrne converted from 44 metres to restore a two point advantage once more but quick fire points from Colm and Antoin McFadden tied up the game for a third time.
And while Michael Byrne screwed over under pressure to edge the visitors back in front, the momentum was back with the locals when they hit the front again 0-12 to 1-8, courtesy of long range strikes from McDaid and Cannon.
But instead of the locals closing out the game, it was the vistors prompted by Walsh and Terence Doherty, who finished the stronger and when Doherty and Conor Farren kicked the points the precious league points were in the bag.
Malin: D Lafferty; C Byrne, D Harkin, G Farren; P McLaughlin, D Walsh (0-1), C McColgan (0-1); A Kelly (0-1), J G McLaughlin (0-1); B McLaughlin (1-1), Matthew Byrne (0-2,2f), S McLaughlin; T Doherty (0-1), A Byrne, M Byrne (0-1). Subs: C Farren (0-1) for C McColgan (54); M Lafferty for T Doherty (57).
St Michael’s: C Gallagher; B Rodden, S Doak, J Alcorn; O Langan, C ‘Rock’ Gallagher, A McFadden (0-1); L MacDaid (0-2), M McElhinney; C McElhinney, C Toye(0-2), M Breslin; M Carr, C McFadden (0-3), M Cannon (0-3). Subs; M Langan (0-1) for L M Carr (25); Liam Paul Ferry for O Langan (48); L M Carr for M Cannon (55).
Referee: R O’Donnell (Naomh Muire).