St Eunan’s goalkeeper John Paul Clarke was a busy man as his side overcame Naomh Conaill in Division One at O’Donnell Park on Sunday afternoon.
St Eunan’s 1-14
Naomh Conaill 2-9
Clarke made a number of fine saves as Maxi Curran’s team came out on top in an entertaining contest that could’ve gone either way late on.
While St Eunan’s had eight different scorers, Naomh Conaill were reliant on the shooting boots of Dermot Molloy and Daragh Gallagher, with the pair contributing all but a point of their side’s total.
After just five minutes, with the sides level at 0-1 to 0-1, Clarke made a brilliant point-blank save from a fisted Molloy effort after a precise centre from Brendan McDyer.
St Eunan’s were getting some joy from their forages and by the 20th minute, were 0-5 to 0-2 in front when Conal McGinley was on the mark.
Clarke then made another fine save, standing firm as Gallagher opted for power when Anthony Thompson was the architect.
The St Eunan’s No 1, though, was beaten in 23 minutes when Molloy slapped home an untidy goal after Clarke punched a McDyer floater back into the air.
And when Lee McMonagle and then Gallagher’s free for Martin Regan’s Naomh Conaill concluded the half’s scoring, it was 0-7 for St Eunan’s to Naomh Conaill’s 1-4 at the break.
The way in which St Eunan’s started the second half essentially was where the contest was won and lost.
In the first 17 minutes of the period, they scored 1-6 without replay. Patrick McGowan, Conor Gibbons and Rory Carr all knocked over points before a flowing move featuring John Haran and Kevin Rafferty was finished past Stephen McGrath by Barry McGeehin on 41 minutes.
Two points from Sean McVeigh, wither side of a 45 from Carr, and the Letterkenny residents appeared to be sauntering, 1-13 to 1-4 in front.
However, Naomh Conaill soon managed to wake from their slumber. Leon Thompson was unfortunate to see his shot for goal strike the butt of the post.
The Glenties based outfit caught fire and finished very strongly, with Molloy and Gallagher, typically, central to most of their offensive spark.
With 12 minutes remaining, Gallagher’s goal gave the travelling support reason to raise their voices.
With St Eunan’s completely out-numbered from a Naomh Conaill break, the visitors moved the ball well and Gallagher goaled after approach play from Anthony Thompson and Seamus Corcoran.
That made the score St Eunan’s 1-13 Naomh Conaill 2-5
With their tails up, Naomh Conaill continued to press and Gallagher added two further points - the second of which was a real gem from long range.
Clarke in goal saved again, this time from McDyer before Conor O’Donnell saved on the goalline from Kevin McGettigan, who had joined the attack from wing-back.
St Eunan’s needed a score as the pressure continued to build and Carr was the one that provided it.
So St Eunan’s had done enough to post a sixth win of the campaign in Division One. Naomh Conaill went home with nothing but can take positives from their display.
St Eunan’s: JP Clarke; C Parke, S Hensey, K Sharkey; C Ward, C O’Donnell, B McGeehin (1-0); C McGinley (0-1), K Rafferty; R Carr (0-3, 45), J Haran (0-1), S McVeigh; (0-2) P McGowan (0-2, 2f), L McMonagle (0-2), C Gibbons (0-3). Subs: C McEniff for McGeehin (47), D Molloy for McGowan (52)
Naomh Conaill: S McGrath; Aaron Thompson, J Campbell, S Molloy; K McGettigan, Anthony Thompson, C Ellis; C Thompson, J McLoone; D Molloy (1-3, 1f), D Gallagher (1-5, 2f), AJ Gallagher; B McDyer (0-1), J O’Malley, L Thompson. Subs: E O’Donnell for Campbell (26), E Doherty for S Molloy (39), S Corcoran for McLoone (47), McLoone for O’Malley (58)
Referee: S McLaughlin (Malin)