Cloughaneely booked their final tickets for the AllSports Donegal Town IFC final with a simpler than expected win over Fanad Gaels in Letterkenny on Saturday.
Fanad Gaels 3-5
Joe McGarvey’s team went in at half-time two points ahead, 1-6 to 1-4, before going to town on their opponents from the peninsula in the second period with John Fitzgerald registering 1-5 of the winners’ total.
Fanad Gaels gave a decent enough account of themselves for 35 minutes or so and were well in the match at that stage in events, just the single point down at 1-8 to 2-4 after Seamus Coshia Friel had slapped home.
But from then on they only managed to score 1-1 and even at that, their goal in that series was the last kick of the game when Seamus Nanny Friel shot past Shaun McClafferty from a penalty with the very last kick of the match.
There was little to choose between the teams on paper beforehand and Cloughaneely were without Shaun McGarvey, who is suffering from a knee medial injury.
Points were traded at either end by both sets of teams before anyone took a distinct advantage.
Cloughaneely were 0-5 to 0-3 in front by the 23rd minute, with scores from John McGarvey, while Denis Boyle and Fitzgerand posted a couple of points apiece.
At that stage, Fanad had points on the board through Michael Sweeney and a couple of Seamus Nanny Friel free-kicks.
However, on the 24th minute there was 60 seconds of action that passed all that went before it.
Fitzgerland passed to McGarvey, who in turn found Kevin Mulhern. His effort seemed to be destined for a point but flew into Mark McConigley’s top corner for a fortuitous first goal of the afternoon.
It was an unfortunate concession for Fanad Gaels but they replied both instantly and emphatically.
From the resultant kick-out, Seamus Coshia Friel’s long ball was gathered by Sweeeny, who drove an unstoppable shot past McClafferty in the Cloughaneely goal.
That made the score 1-5 to 1-3 for Cloughaneely, with things heating up nicely.
Both teams scored a point apiece before the break with Mulhern on the mark for Cloughaneely and Seamus Nanny Friel registering for Fanad Gaels.
The same closeness was expected in the second half but it was the Falcarragh-based team who shot from the blocks.
Two quickfire points from midfielder Martin Maguire doubled the Cloughaneely from two points to four.
Fanad, though, came right back into the contest on 35 minutes when Seamue Coshia Friel slapped home a raking ball from Ryan McGonagle.
There was one point in it, with Cloughaneely 1-8 to 2-4 in front, but from then on there was only one team doing the pressing.
Cloughaneely completely dominated the latter stages of the match.
Six unanswered points put them in a position of authority and it was the familiar faces who were scoring them - Fitzgerald, Boyle and Maguire.
Oisin Shiels, the Fanad substitute, finally broke his team’s scoring duck after 21 dormant minutes for the umpires at the River End of O’Donnell Park.
However, that just acted as a prelude to the icing being put on the Cloughaneely cake.
Four minutes from time, McGarvey intercepted a short kick-out from McConigley in the Fanad gal and unselfishly played in Fitzgerald.
The Cloughaneely corner-forward didn’t panic when the Fanad goalkeeper rushed out on him to close down the angle and had the presence of mind to round McConigley and tap home into the empty net.
It was all over bar the shouting and although Seamus Nanny Friel scored an injury time penalty after Boyle had fouled McGonagle, it was to be Cloughaneely’s day.
Fanad Gaels: M McConigley; C Martin, F Friel, B Callaghan; R McGonagle, P McConigley, M Friel; M Sweeney (1-1), J Coyle; J Friel, S Nanny Friel (1-3; 1-0 pen, 2f), A McAteer; M McAteer, S Coshia Friel (1-0), R McAteer. Subs: D Walsh for Callaghan (40), O Shiels (0-1) for J Friel (45).
Cloughaneely: S McClafferty; C McFadden, K McFadden, L O’Brien; K Mulhern (1-1), M Ferry, D McGarvey; M Maguire (0-3), C Scanlon; P Cannon, D Boyle (0-3, 3f), D McGeever; J McGarvey (0-2), S Maguire, J Fitzgerald (1-5, 1f). Subs: C Gallagher for Cannon (52), C McGee for M Maguire (56), M Lynch for D McGarvey (59), D Curran for O’Brien (60)
Referee: K McShea (Sean MacCumhaill’s)