GLENSWILLY will play in Division One of the Donegal All County League again next year after they won their relegation battle with a Malin in Ballybofey on Sunday afternoon.
The first time senior championship winners did it in some style and after a blistering start they were no way flattered by their eight point margin at the finish.
Malin may have been a match for Neil Gallagher and company when it came to commitment and determination, but overall the Dr. Maguire Cup holders were the better balanced outfit.
But really the big difference between the teams was the winners’ greater potency and much greater spread of scorers. In all six Glenswilly men got their names on the score sheet to Malin’s four.
County men Neil Gallagher and Michael Murphy were joint top scorers for Glenswilly with Gallagher posting 1-2 and Murphy scoring five points, four of them from placed balls.
Declan Walsh and Anthony Kelly with 0-3 each were Malin’s main men when it came to the art of scoring.
This was a no nonsense performance from Glenswilly who started with the 15 who started last month’s county final. They set their stall out from the start and leading 1-8 to 0-6 at half-time they had as good as their Division One survival secured.
Malin did make a game of it for a time in the middle of the first half and again for a time in the second half due in the main to the industry of Declan Walsh and John J. McLaughlin around midfield.
But in the end the Inishowen men should have no complaints and for that matter they should feel no great shame either in defeat. After all they were beaten by the top team in the county who on the day had big performances from Brian ‘Shorty’ McDaid, Eamon Ward, and Ruairi Crawford in defence, Neil Gallagher at midfield and Michael Murphy, Darren McGinley and Caolan Kelly in attack.
Gallagher’s goal on two minutes got Glenswilly off to a dream start. The county man, seconds after moving to the edge of the square, got a fist to a centre from Gary McFadden to steer it past Daniel Mullarkey for the game’s one and only green flag.
The goal came after Kealan McFadden opened the scoring within 30 seconds of the start to set Glenswilly on their way.
By the ten minute mark they had raced into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead thanks to further strikes from Murphy, Gallagher and Darren McGinley. Seamus Doherty (3) and Matthew Byrne (8) responded for Malin. The margin was back to four points by the end of the first quarter with Declan Walsh scoring the first of his three points.
But with Glenswilly,making better use of possession Gary McFadden and Murphy extended the advantage out to six points 1-7 to 0-4
And while Anthony Kelly and Walsh pointed to keep Malin hopes alive, Gary McFadden from a close in free made it a five point game once again at half-time.
Any hope of a Malin comeback were well and truly dashed early in the second half as Glenswilly hit three points to Malin’s one. Caolan Kelly with two and Murphy were the Glenswilly marksmen with Walsh scoring the Malin point.
Anthony Kelly and Matthew Byrne, after playing a neat one two with Paul McLaughlin, pointed, but with Malin only adding one more score, they were holding the losing docket long before the finish.
And to add to their misery Glenswilly finished with a late flourish and points from Neil Gallagher and Michael Muprhy to win with a bit to spare.
Glenswilly: Philip O’Donnell; Rory McDaid, Eamonn Ward, Brian ‘Shorty’ McDaid; Joe Gibbons, Ruairi Crawford, James Pat McDaid; Gary McFadden (0-2,1f), Neil Gallagher (1-2); Darren McGinley (0-1), Ciaran Bonner, Caolan Kelly (0-2); Kealan McFadden (0-1), Michael Murphy (0-5,3f, 1,45), Leon Kelly. Subs: Brian Farrelly for Caolan Kelly; Barry Molloy for James Pat McFadden; Gerard McGrenra for K. McFadden; John McFadden for Leon Kelly.
Malin: Daniel Mullarkey; Daniel Greene, Damien Ward, Kevin McColgan; Kieran McColgan, John G McLaughlin, Charlie Byrne; Paddy Kelly, Declan Walsh (0-3); Seamus Doherty (0-1), Matthew Byrne (0-2), Anthony Kelly (0-3,2f); Damien Ward, Paul McLaughlin, Darren Doherty. Subs:Gary Farren for D. Ward; Brendan McLaughlin for S. Doherty; Daniel McDaid for B. McLaughlin; Conor Farren for K. McColgan; John McLaughlin for C. Byrne.
Referee: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh)
Man of the match
Neil Gallagher capped a brilliant club season with another man of the match performance. He alternated between midfield and full-forward with great effect and his second minute goal got his team off to great start and set them on their way.
He was given a run for his money by Brian ‘Shorty’ McDaid, who turned in another immaculate performance at corner back while Declan Walsh was not far away with a fine display at midfield for Malin.
Neil Gallagher’s goal on two minutes when the county man rose high to fist a Gary McFadden high ball into the Malin goalmouth to the net.
Seamus McGonagle let play develop at times and this led to scrappy play and a number of potential flash points in a game with a lot of stake in. This also led to the ball been thrown up on a number of occasions when an earlier whistle and free might have been more appropriate. But overall his performance did not have any major bearing on the outcome.