A good beginning is half the battle and it proved so true for St Michael’s as they bagged the league points on their visit to Glenswilly on Sunday afternoon.
St Michael’s 2-4
St Michael’s broke from the traps in lightening fashion with a goal and a point in the opening three minutes.
Andrew Kelly got them off the mark on two minutes when he converted from 45 metres, and 60 seconds later, he slid the ball past Philip O’Donnell from the edge of the small rectangle after a good run from Cristy Toye.
Toye, who looked none the worse for a hectic intercounty campaign in recent weeks, raced through the heart of the Glenswilly defence untouched before releasing Kelly.
Leading 1-1 to 0-1 after four minutes, St Michael’s, with Toye full of running in the middle of the park, continued to press. But for well over 20 minutes of domination, all they had to show extra on the board was two Colm McFadden close-in frees.
County men McFadden, Christy Toye and Mark Anthony McGinley lined out for St Michael’s. Martin McElhinney and Daniel McLaughin, nursing knee and groin injuries respectively, did not feature for the men from the Bridge.
Glenswilly were without Michael Murphy and Neil Gallagher and lost former county player Ciaran Bonner to injury in the middle of the opening half.
With St Michael’s failing to build on their good start, Glenswilly changed ends three points down thanks to white flags from Philip O’Donnell on four minutes, Darren McGinley, 18 minutes and Brian Farrelly, 25 minutes.
The local followers basking in the Pairc Naomh Columba sunshine were happy enough at half-time. Their team were just the three points down and they had a stiff breeze in their backs for the second 30 minutes.
But with Christy Toye continuing to eat up the yards in the middle of the park, the visitors were first to score in the second period too.
Mark Anthony McGinley was blowing kisses to the gallery on 41 minutes when his well struck ‘45 split Farrelly’s posts to push St Michael’s four ahead.
And while Gary McFadden, from a placed ball, made it a three point game once more, Martin Breslin struck for the St Michael’s goal shortly after.
Breslin scrambled the ball past O’Donnell after a sweeping move that began with a quick Michael McGinley free to Michael Cannon who swiftly transferred to Michael Langan who squared to Breslin. He made no mistake from five metres.
Leading 2-4 to 0-4 and with Glenswilly wayward in their shooting, St Michael’s looked home and hosed.
But Michael Canning rang the changes and the introduction of Paul O’Brien and Ethan Sweeney gave the home team the impetus to finally get going.
Ryan Diver landed a monster point from way out the field and with Darren McGinley posting three points in the space of two minutes, it was game on.
And with a little over four minutes remaining and St Michael’s holding on, replacement O’Brien scored from an acute angle to just leave the minimum between them, 2-4 to 0-9, as the clock ticked towards 60 minutes.
The momentum was now very much with the locals and it looked as if they had been granted a lifeline when they won a free just inside the ‘45.
The kick was well within Philip O’Donnell’s range. He had converted from further out and into the breeze in the first half. However, on this occasion, while his strike had plenty of distance, it did not have the accuracy and tailed off to the left of Mark Anthony McGinley’s right hand post and wide.
St Michael’s: M A McGinley; M McGinley, S Doak, C McElhinney; L P Ferry, P Witherow, M Gallagher; C Gallagher, C Toye; M Langan, M Cannon, M Breslin (1-0); C McFadden (0-2, 2f), R Langan, A Kelly (1-1, 1f). Subs: L M Carr for R Langan (36); B Rodden for M Gallagher (36).
Glenswilly: P O’Donnell (0-1, 1f); C Callaghan, E Ward, R Crawford; O Crawford, A McDevitt, C Gallagher; C Bonner, R Diver (0-1); C Kelly, G McFadden (0-1, 1f), B Farrelly (0-1); D McGinley (0-4), C McFadden, C McMonagle. Subs: R Hunter for Bonner (17, inj); P O’Brien (0-1) for C Kelly (44); E Sweeney for C McFadden (48).
Referee: R Walsh (Bundoran).