Form went out the window in this quarter-final clash between Naomh Conaill and Termon, in Ballybofey on Saturday night.
Naomh Conaill 0-11
Naomh Conaill went into this tie as warm favourites, but they were given a run for their money by a determined and well drilled Termon outfit that were right in this tie until Michael McShane blew his whistle for the last time.
The winners dominated possession for long stretches. But while they moved the ball well they found it difficult to break down a 13 man Termon blanket rearguard.
They led by a single point 0-4 to 0-3, at half time. Darragh Gallagher (2) and Owen Waide kicked the early Naomh Conaill scorers.
Daire McDaid, Termon’s sole raider, kicked his side’s opening point on 12 minutes.
And the men from the Burn Road had to wait another 11 minutes for their next A,ustin Marron lofting over the River Finn end goals from a tight angle.
Marron’s strike made it a one point game, 0-3 to 0-2, in favour of Naomh Conaill.
A point was all that was between them at half-time after Darragh Gallagher and Stephen McElwaine traded late points.
Prompted by the introduction of Eunan Doherty at the start of the second half, Naomh Conaill perked up.
Doherty kicked a fine point in between two Brick Molloy frees as Naomh Conaill opened up a 0-7 to 0-4 lead within seven minutes of the restart.
At last the game was going according to plan. There was only one problem, tenacious Termon had not read the script.
Ricky Gallagher put the cat among the pigeons when he drilled past Stephen McGrath for the game’s only goal to tie up the game, 0-7 to 1-4, on 45 minutes. Naomh Conaill responded with four unanswered points to move four clear again before Christy Connaghan converted from 30 metres, two minutes into injury time, to make it a three point contest once more.
Naomh Conaill: S McGrath;A Thompson, A J Gallagher, K McGettigan; J Bonner, A Thompson (0-1), O Waide (0-1); J McLoone, C Thompson; M Boyle, L McLoone, D Gallagher (0-3,2,f); D Molloy (0-2,2,f), J O’Malley, L Thompson (0-2). Subs: E Doherty (0-1) for J Bonner (h/t); S Corcoran (0-1) for D Gallagher(41); C Ellis for K McGettigan (48); E O’Donnell for J O’Malley (50).
Termon: N O’Donnell; F O’Flynn, K McDaid, D O’Donnell; N McElwaine, K McElwaine, S McElwaine (0-1); C Mellett, J Gallagher; J McCafferty (0-1), C Conaghan (0-1,1F), R Gallagher (1-0); D McDaid (0-1), A Marron (0-1), C McDaid. Subs P McDaid for C McDaid (h/t); D Gibson for J McCafferty (47); C McDaid for R Gallagher (52); D Conaghan for N McElwaine (58); J McCafferty for J Gallagher (60).
Referee: M McShane (Kilcar).