McLaughlin on fire as St Michael’s reach semi

The old adage that good forwards win games proved oh so true once again as St. Michael’s outgunned Gaoth Dobhair in a highly entertaining Raidio Na Gaeltachta Senior Championship quarter-final in Falcarragh on Sunday evening.

The old adage that good forwards win games proved oh so true once again as St. Michael’s outgunned Gaoth Dobhair in a highly entertaining Raidio Na Gaeltachta Senior Championship quarter-final in Falcarragh on Sunday evening.

St. Michael’s 1-14

Gaoth Dobhair 1-10

Billed as the clash of the St. Michael’s attack against the much vaunted Gaoth Dobhair defence, there was no great argument at the finish about who came out on top in that exchange.

The St. Michael’s attacking unit racked up a very impressive 1-14 with all but one of their total tally coming from play. While county aces Colm McFadden and Christy Toye stepped up to the mark with five points McFadden (3), and Toye (2), it was younger guns Daniel McLaughlin – also a member of Jim McGuinness’ county squad – and Raymond McLaughlin, a former county minor and U-21, who inflicted most of the pain on the McGee and Cassidy marshalled defence.

The McLaughlins between them posted 1-8 of their side’s total with Daniel hitting 1-4 and Raymond, who was on fire early on, posting 0-4, three of them in the first half with his fourth the insurance score deep in injury time. Overall this was a polished performance from St. Michael’s who made light of their second division status to boss the game from the off.

And while it was close enough through the first half and ten minutes into the second half, St. Michael’s with Martin McElhinney in midfield the launching pad, had the look of winners long before they went into a five point lead towards the end of the third quarter.

Playing the bulk of the slicker football and thanks to their greater potency up front St. Michael’s led by two points at half-time 0-7 to 0-5, with 0-6 of the 0-7 scored in the opening 12 minutes.

St. Michael’s were so much on top in the opening 30 minutes that the men in green and white must have been thanking their lucky stars to be just two down at the interval.

Except for an early Tomas Diver, Cathal Mulligan inspired flurry Gaoth Dobhair were back pedalling for most of the half.

Martin McElhinney and Christy Toye were so on top early on that Kevin Cassidy, who started at centre-half forward, was reassigned to a marking duty on Toye after 15 minutes.

It was a similar story for much of the second half also as the McLaughlin’s with Daniel, in particular, and Colm McFadden lending a hand, continuing to mesmerise the Gaoth Dobhair rearguard.

Daniel McLaughlin, Andrew Kelly and Colm McFadden all raised flags to extend the St. Michael’s lead out to four points 0-11 to 0-7 within seven minutes of the restart. Fionan Diver with two, one free, just about kept Gaoth Dobhair in touch as the winners continued to play all the quality football.

Not even a long range effort from Ronan McNaillais just inside the St. Michael’s half could raise the Gaoth Dobhair spirit as McFadden from a 50 metre free – and Daniel McLaughlin opened up a five point advantage for the first time.

McLaughlin split the posts after good approach play from McFadden and Raymond McLaughlin in a carbon copy of so many of St. Michael’s good moves.

Fionnan Diver did convert two frees to reduce the margin to three again as St. Michael’s did not score for the best part of 16 minutes.

Three points was as close as Gaoth Dobhair could get before McLaughlin brought down the curtain on a truly brilliant personal performance with a cracking goal on the stroke of time. Cutting in at an angle McLaughlin drilled past Christopher Sweeney two up a six point advantage with the clocking ticking.

And while Gaoth Dobhair through Gary Whoriskey, seconds after being introduced, flicked an Eamonn McGee free to the St. Michael’s net to raise Gaoth Dobhair hopes again.

But alas it was all in vain when four minutes into stoppage time Raymond McLaughlin kicked the insurance score and a thoroughly deserved place in the last four for St. Michael’s.

St. Michael’s: Ciaran Gallagher; Brendan Rodden, Stephen Doak, Stephen Black; Andrew Kelly (0-1), Michael McGinley, Michael Gallagher; Ciaran Gallagher, Martin McElhinney; Daniel McLaughlin (1-4), Stephen Coyle, Christy Toye (0-2); Colm McFadden (0-3,1f), Raymond McLaughlin (0-4), Barry McGinley. Subs: Peter Witherow for A. Kelly (33, inj); Brian McLaughlin for S. Coyle (40); Martin Breslin for S. Black (49).

Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; Eamonn McGee, Neil McGee, Christopher McFadden; Anthony Blair, Danny Curran, Ciaran Ferry (M); Peter McGee, Ronan McNiallais (0-1); Cathal Mulligan (0-1), Kevin Cassidy, Fionnan Diver (0-6,5f); Manny Gallagher, Tomas Diver (0-2), James Gallagher. Michael McKelvey for M. Gallagher (h/t); Joe Duffy for C. Mulligan (46); Donal McBride for C. McFadden (48); Gary Whoriskey (1-0) for T. Diver (57).

Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs).

Man of the match

Daniel McLaughlin scored 1-4 as he emerged from the shadows of Colm McFadden and Christy Toye to turn in a man of the match performance. Playing deep and raiding on both wings and playing as if had a magnet for the ball he tormented the Gaoth Dobhair defence from the first whistle to the last.

All of the big performances came from the men in red and white with Raymond McLaughlin, Martin McElhinney, Colm McFadden, Christy Toye (though Kevin Cassid did restrict his influence when moved on him), Stephen Doak and Brendan Rodden especially to the fore.

With the exception of Neil McGee and Fionnan Diver, who with is his frees kept his side in touch, few other Gaoth Dobhair men will be happy with their performances.

Turning Point

St. Michael’s blistering start to the second half as they hit four points to Gaoth Dobhair’s two, to open up a four point advantage for the first time in the game.

Ref Watch

This was a good honest game of football played at a breathtaking pace for the most of the 60 minutes and was well refereed by Jimmy White, who let the game flow. At the same time he was firm and fair and took decisive action at any sign of trouble by flashing yellow cards.

McLaughlin on fire as St Eunan’s reach semi

The old adage that good forwards win games proved oh so true once again as St. Michael’s outgunned Gaoth Dobhair in a highly entertaining Raidio Na Gaeltachta Senior Championship quarter-final in Falcarragh on Sunday evening.