The saying that ‘a good beginning is half the battle’ proved true for Dungloe/Na Rossa in their county semi-final clash with St Eunan’s on Friday night at The Banks, Mullaghderg.
Dungloe/Na Rossa 1-13
St Eunan’s 1-10
The amalgamation of neighbouring clubs Dungloe and Na Rossa blitzed the highly rated St Eunan’s and had 1-4 on the board inside the opening six minutes.
Midfielder Barry Curran set the tone with when he raced through the heart of the St Eunan’s defence to set up Christian Bonner for the game’s opening score inside 15 seconds. And with Curran and John McDyre supplying the ammunition Adam Neilly (2) and Greene raised white flags before Greene had the St Eunan’s net bulging.
Greene, who ran the St Eunan’s reaguard ragged all night and had a number of different markers, made no mistake when he got on the end of a defence splitting delivery from Caolan Ward.
The Rosses boys were all over the O’Donnell Park men, who lost county minor Michael Miller to what seemed a harsh red card after just four minutes. Miller foolishly flung Christian Bonner to the ground under the eyes of the referee Mark Dorrian, after he had been fouled by the Dungloe/Na Rossa man. St Eunan’s finally settled into the challenge and corner back Ronan Dorrian opened their account on nine minutes. And with further points from Niall O’Donnell and Sean Hume (2) the Letterkenny boys had the margin down to a goal by the middle of the second quarter.
During this period, too, it took a goal line clearance from full-back Brian O’Donnell to deny Jordon O’Dowd as St Eunan’s went for goals to ressurect their challenge.
The elusive Greene and Darragh McGee restored Dungloe/Na Rossa’s five point lead before O’Donnell, who almost singlehandedly brought St Eunan’s back into the game, kicked two late points to leave just three between them.
But Greene had the final say of the half to see Dungloe/Na Rossa go in 1-7 to 0-6 in front at half-time.
Greene and Neilly and Odhran McGinley and Sean Hume traded scores on the resumption as St Eunan’s, with some wayward shooting, squandered a number of scoring opportunities.
A good spell from Dungloe in the middle of the second period and points from Matthew Ward and Curran saw Raymond Sweeney’s men go six up, 1-11 to 0-8, with ten minutes of normal time remaining.
With the game slipping away St Eunan’s were thrown a lifeline when Hume converted from the penalty spot after Jordon O’Dowd was hauled down inside the large rectangle.
That was on 54 minutes and when Conor Morrission and McGinley tagged on two quickfire points, the margin was one, 1-11 to 1-10.
But to their credit Sweeney’s men did not buckle and points from man of the match Neilly and Danny Rodgers, from a 45, sealed the win as Dungloe/ Na Rossa finished strong.
They now face Gaoth Dobhair in the final, a clash that will rekindle memories of titantic struggles in the past.
Dungloe/Na Rossa: Danny Rodgers (0-1,1,45); Dylan Reilly, Brian O’Donnell, Mark Curran; Christy Greene, Matthew Ward (0-1), Conor McCahill; John McDyre, Barry Curran (0-1); Caolan Ward, Sean McMonagle, Darragh McGee (0-1); Ryan Greene (1-4,3f), Adam Neily (0-3,2f), Chistian Bonner (0-1). Subs: Ryan Connors for D McGee(41); Hugh Moy (0-1) for C McCahill (48).
St Eunan’s: Christopher O’Donnell; Ronan Dorrian (0-1), Conall O’Boyle, Dylan Sweeney; Ciaran Maloney, Conor Morrison (0-1), Peter O’Malley; Darragh McWalter, Rory Carr; Sean Hume (1-3, 1-0 pen, 3f), Niall O’Donnell (0-3), David Tyrell; Michael Miller, Jordon O’Dowd, Odhran McGinley (0-2). Subs: Conor Moore for D Sweeney (12); Daniel Gillespie for P O’Malley (47); O Carr for R Dorrian (49).
Referee: Mark Dorrian (Fanad Gaels).