Termon’s plea for square ball fell on deaf ears as referee Ian Molloy overruled his umpires to award Gaoth Dobhair a controversial goal in their second leg victory at Burn Road on Sunday evening in a game of two red cards.
Gaoth Dobhair 1-9
On 20 minutes, a ball lumped forward by Fionnan Diver dropped and Mannie Gallagher out-jumped Michael Boyle in the Termon goal to punch into the net. Molloy decided the goal was good despite the vehement Termon protestations. In truth, the home side were second best but can with some justification hold an opinion their chances were narrowed by the decision. That goal made the score 1-2 to 0-2 and while Termon still bemoaned their sense of injustice, Gaoth Dobhair tagged on three successive scores with Diver’s long-range free finding the target before a pair of points from Cathal Mulligan.
The flashpoint in the game arrived with 10 minutes remaining when Termon substitute Declan O’Donnell caught Paul Mulligan with an outstretched foot as he claimed the ball. The level of intent was questionable but the Gaoth Dobhair wing-back extracted his own retribution by flooring O’Donnell.
This time, Molloy took his time before making his decision, consulting both linesmen and a set umpires before brandishing two straight red cards. Prior to the goal, there was little between the sides as four points were shared with Jimmy Gallagher and Christy Connaghan pointing for Termon and Diver and Mannie Gallagher scoring for Sean Nancy Gallagher’s Gaoth Dobhair. The first half, though, was littered with a succession of wides with the visitors hitting seven and their hosts four. Connaghan, who would score all but one of Termon’s total of eight points slotted over a pair of frees approaching the break, either side of another Diver effort to leave the away team 1-6 to 0-4 in front at the interval.
With only one win all season in league and championship, Termon’s reliance on Connaghan was apparent and his three scores, two of which came from frees, gave the home support some optimism as the second half took shape. Diver, though, showed his consistency with another free to put his side 17 to 0-7 in front.
After the dismissals Connaghan replied with another point before a daring break upfield by Neil McGee brought a rare score and Diver rounded off the scoring. Termon refused to go down without a fight and the last action of the contest saw Christopher Sweeney make an excellent save to deny Connaghan. So, after a few false dawns in recent seasons, Gaoth Dobhair are off and running again, while Termon can only ponder what might have been.
Termon: Michael Boyle; Joe O’Donnell, Anthony McGrenra, Sean McDaid; Barry Nelis, Shaun O’Donnell, Kevin McDaid; Jimmy Gallagher (0-1), Bernard Alcorn; Brendan Robinson, Christy Connaghan (0-7, 6f), Marty Sweeney; Thomas Cullen, Johnny McCafferty, Trevor Alcorn. Subs: Declan O’Donnell for T Alcorn (37), Francie Friel for Robinson (50).
Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; Christopher McFadden, Neil McGee (0-1), Ciaran Ferry; Paul Mulligan, Eamon McGee, Danny Curran; Kevin Cassidy,
Ronan MacNiallais; Peter McGee, Fionnan Diver (0-5, 4f), Cathal Mulligan (0-2); Mannie Gallagher (1-1), Michael McKelvey, James Gallagher. Subs: Thomas Diver for J Gallagher (42), Joe Duffy for MacNiallais (43), Noel Ferry for Mulligan (54).
Referee: Ian Molloy (Naomh Conaill).