Michael Doherty produced a virtuoso display of score-taking to guide Four Masters to victory in Saturday night’s Group 3 opener at Páirc Taobhoige.
Four Masters 3-9
The full forward hit all but one goal of his side’s total on a night when Glenfin threw away what seemed a certain victory.
The Division 2 side might well be struggling in the league this season, but they carried much the greater threat for much of this contest.
Indeed with 11 minutes gone in the second half, they moved nine points into the lead when Gerard Ward scored their second goal.
That strike put Glenfin 2-8 to 0-5 in front and seemingly on their way to victory.
But they would score just a single point after that. And perhaps more frustratingly for Glenfin, they only had themselves to blame for allowing their Division One opponents back into the game.
All three of the Four Masters goals, which came in an unbelievable 20 minute period, could so easily have been avoided.
Doherty fisted to the net on 44 minutes when Glenfin keeper, Andrew Walsh should surely have dealt better with Barry Monaghan’s high, dropping delivery.
Within a couple of minutes, a ball in from Conor McMonagle caused more problems for the keeper and his defenders and Doherty was able to pounce to force the ball into the corner of the net.
The No. 14 had earlier knocked over a free and all of a sudden Glenfin’s lead was cut to two - 2-8 to 2-6.
Two more frees from Doherty levelled the game and then on 55 minutes, the visitors raised their third green flag to move three points clear.
Monaghan once again pumped a speculative delivery into the danger area from all of 40 metres and after an unfortunate collision between the keeper and a defender, the ball ended up going straight into the net.
Glenfin substitute, Paddy O’Connor gave his team some hope as the game entered injury time to reduce the margin to two again.
But fittingly it was the brilliant Doherty who had the last word, kicking his first point from play to bring his personal tally to 2-8 and give his team a very fortunate opening night win.
The Donegal Town club will know there’s room for much improvement ahead of their games with St. Michael’s and Cloughaneely in Group 3. Even though the likes of Barry Dunnion, Karl Lacey and Sean O’Kennedy caught the eye, they struggled to cope with the pace and hard work of the home side for whom Michael McGlynn, Kevin McGlynn and Mark McGinty did so well.
Glenfin led 1-5 to 0-5 at half time with the excellent Kevin McGlynn their goalscorer early on.
In fact, the home side had 1-5 on the board before Four Masters managed their first point from a Doherty free on 17 minutes.
But four more frees from the same player kept his team in touch up until half time and while Glenfin kicked on again with an impressive opening period in the second half, they would rue the concession of three bad goals which turned this game on its head.
Glenfin: Andrew Walsh; Damien Harkin, Ronan Gallagher, Martin O’Donnell; Mark McGinty Jnr., Frank McGlynn, Gary Herron; Michael McGlynn (0-1), Gavin McDermott (0-1); Conor Ward (0-1), Daniel McGlynn, Jason Morrow; Kevin McGlynn (1-2), Gerard Ward (1-3, 3 frees), Stephen McGlynn. Subs: Gary Dorrian for Gallagher (34), Malacy Martin for Morrow (45), Paddy O’Connor (0-1) for McDermott (55), Ciaran Moy for O’Donnell (59).
Four Masters: Ryan Haughey; Dara Quinn, Kevin Breslin, Jamie McCrea; Sean O’Kennedy, Josh Lacey, Barry Dunnion; Dillon Muldoon, Leo McHugh; Barry Monaghan (1-0), Karl Lacey, Emmett Doogan; Conor McMonagle, Michael Doherty (2-9, 8 frees), Caolan Loughney. Subs: Sean Meehan for Doogan (35), Dillon Kennedy for Loughney (42).
Referee: Seamus McGonigle (Aodh Ruadh).