Naomh Conaill too strong for St. Eunan’s

Naomh Conaill posted their first win of the All-County League Division One with a useful away victory at St Eunan’s yesterday afternoon.

Naomh Conaill posted their first win of the All-County League Division One with a useful away victory at St Eunan’s yesterday afternoon.

St Eunan’s 1-10

Naomh Conaill 1-12

A controversial penalty set the away team on their way and when the margin of victory is taken into consideration it was probably the decisive factor. Two minutes before the interval Cathal Ellis went on a upfield run and went to ground after a coming together with Damien McClafferty and referee Martin Coll signalled for a penalty. Dara Gallagher rammed the penalty into John Paul Clarke’s bottom corner for a 1-3 to 0-2 lead for the Glenties team.

The Letterkenny side began with a 2-12 to 1-10 win over Kilcar on opening day, while the 2010 county champions drew at the Bridge against St Michael’s. However, with greater potency in the forward line, it was the visitors who left O’Donnell Park the happiest yesterday.

They were 1-3 to 0-4 in front at the break, with all the hosts’ points coming from frees from the boot of Conor Gibbons. At the other end, Gallagher scored two fine points, while Leon Thompson was also on the mark.

Conor Parke and Dermot Molloy traded points at the start of the second half before Gallagher’s third of the day. Seamus Corcoran, a Molloy free and a long ranger from Johnny McLoone pushed Naomh Conaill’s cushion out to six, 1-8 to 0-5.

Gibbons’ fifth of the day and Rory Kavanagh cut St Eunan’s arrears. But Leon Thompson wove his way in to score three more really eye-catching scores, while a Ross Wherity score was St Eunan’s only reply. Molloy, just before substitute David McGinley point, slung over a late free to put the seal on a fine win for Naomh Conaill.

McGinley stabbed home an injury time goal after Kavanagh’s ball into the square but it was too little too late for St Eunan’s despite Johnny McLoone frantically clearing twice from his own line from Caolan Ward at the bitter end. With John Haran plonked at full-forward for the whole second half St Eunan’s were just a little late to implement the dropping ball in. But in truth, even if St Eunan’s did pull it from the fire – and they almost did – it would’ve unjust on Naomh Conaill, who were the better team throughout.

St Eunan’s: John Paul Clarke; Eddie Brennan, Damien McClafferty, Conor Parke (0-1); Caolan Ward, Eamonn Doherty, Peter Devine; Ross Wherity (0-1), John Haran; Kieran Sharkey, Rory Kavanagh (0-1), Darragh Mulgrew; Conor Gibbons (0-6, 6f), Sean Hensey, Packie Kennedy. Subs: David McGinley (1-1) for Hensey (half-time), Adrian McClafferty and Conal McGinley for Parke and Brennan (41), Lee McMonagle for Sharkey (52)

Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Stephen Molloy, Johnny Bonner, Jason Campbell; Cathal Ellis, Thomas Donoghue, Eoin Waide, AJ Gallagher, Martin Regan; Dermot Molloy (0-3, 2f), Seamus Corcoran (0-1), John O ‘Malley; Dara Gallagher (1-3, 1-0 pen), Johnny McLoone, (0-1) Leon Thompson (0-4). Subs: Anthony Thompson for Waide (20), James Doherty for Corcoran (52), Dominic Bonner for O’Malley (60)

Referee: Martin Coll (Gweedore).