Thirteen league games played, thirteen lost. Killybegs put their poor league record behind them as they remain unbeaten in the championship.
It is a very unlikely story, but Killybegs, along with Malin, are the story of the senior championship in Donegal in 2013.
On a perfect night for football under the lights at Convoy, the Fishermen were worthy winners against the Twin Towns side, but they had to finish both halves well to do so.
The difference between the sides was full-forward Hugh McFadden, who caused havoc in the MacCumhaill’s defence and finished with a tally of 2-4 to put himself in the shop window for Jim McGuinness.
Killybegs dominated the opening quarter but had only an Eoin Ban Gallagher fisted point on 27 seconds to show. Gallagher had the option to go for goal but elected to fist over when clean through.
By the 17th minute MacCumhaill’s led by 1-2 to 0-2 thanks to a Michael Lynch goal which may have been intended as a point, but his effort deceived Michael Mullen and ended in the net.
Killybegs were back on terms thanks to three points in three minutes from McFadden. Rory Dunlevy almost got in for a second MacCumhaill’s goal but from the ‘45’ Steven O’Reilly edged his side ahead again.
Brendan Maguire levelled again and in the final minute of the half Killybegs took a firm grip of the tie. McFadden released Benny Boyle, who saw his effort come back off the crossbar. Brendan Maguire was on hand to point.
However, almost immediately, another ball from Jason Noctor saw McFadden stretch his big frame to get a hand and deflect past Patton and a 1-7 to 1-3 interval lead.
The opening four points of the second half were shared with Brendan Boyle (2) for Killybegs and Marty O’Reilly and Benny McLaughlin for MacCumhaill’s.
This pair were central to a MacCumhaill’s revival as McLaughlin won a Darren O’Leary pass to turn and blast to the net on 44 minutes and four minutes later O’Reilly had his side on level terms.
Before that, however, Joe Dunnion was lucky to escape with just a yellow card after a clash with Mark Boyle
The Killybegs’ response was good with Brendan Boyle pointing a free won by Maguire and McFadden getting on the end of a very good centre from Daniel Breslin to punch past Patton once more and put the Fishermen on their way.
In the final minutes Eoin Ban Gallagher repeated his opening half fisted point while Brian Lafferty had a consolation point for the losers.
Apart from McFadden, Jason Noctor, Christopher Murrin, Benny Boyle and Brendan Maguire also performed to a high level.
Killybegs: Michael Mullen; Ronan Boyle, Jason Noctor, Daniel O’Donnell; Christopher Murrin, Shane Molloy, David Conwell; Enda Murphy, Matthew Smith; Eoin Ban Gallagher (0-2), Brendan Boyle (0-3,3f), Daniel Breslin; Mark Boyle, Hugh McFadden (2-4,3f), Brendan Maguire (0-2). Subs., Antoine O’Hara for Mullen 15; Pauric Gallagher for Maguire; Barry Cannon for Mark Boyle, both 56; Charles Tully for Breslin 62.
MacCumhaill’s: Chris Patton; Seamus McGinty, John Lynch, Eoghan Wright; Andrew McCloskey, Gary Dunnion, Joe Dunnion; Steven O’Reillly (0-1,45), Gavin Gallagher; Pat McNulty, Michael Lynch (1-1), Marty O’Reilly (0-2); Brendan McLaughlin (1-1), Brian Lafferty (0-2), Rory Dunlevy. Subs., Darren O’Leary for Lynch 39; Darragh McGowan for Dunlevy 49; Shane Duffy for McGinty 55.
Referee: Martin Coll (Gaoth Dobhair)