Gweedore Celtic maintain grip on Brian McCormick Sports Cup

Gweedore Celtic made in three-in-a-row in the Brian McCormick Sports Cup after two first half goals got the better of Donegal Town at Diamond Park in Ballyare on Sunday.

Gweedore Celtic made in three-in-a-row in the Brian McCormick Sports Cup after two first half goals got the better of Donegal Town at Diamond Park in Ballyare on Sunday.

Gweedore Celtic 2

Donegal Town 0

Following their successes over Milford United two seasons ago and Kilmacrennan Celtic 12 months ago, Hughie Rua Gallagher’s side scooped what they hope will be the first leg of a second successive double. Neighbours Glenea United await in the Brian McCormick Sports Premier

Division play-off on Sunday week.

Fionnan Diver opened the scoring on 13 minutes before Damian O’Sullivan added a second on the stroke of half-time and since the wind certainly played a part, it was a more conservative approach after the interval.

From their first meaningful attack, Gweedore forced their way in front. With the wind at his back, goalkeeper Michael McKelvey rammed a ball forward and Donegal right-back Ryan Gallagher misjudged its flight in the gale and Gary Whoriskey scampered into space. The left winger made his way to the byline and centred for Diver to open his body and slot in at the far post.

Gweedore were where they wanted to be and pressed hard to reaffirm their advantage. Donegal Town had Demot McCafferty to thank for keeping their heads above the water level. The underdogs’ goalkeeper tipped over and speculative and wind assisted 35-yard punt from David Ward and then made an excellent save from a Tómas Diver header when Whoriskey had whipped in the corner.

Donegal, who finished the season in mid-table in the Milford Inn Division One, were penned in for long spells but almost got back on level terms when, following an excellent give and go that saw Stephen Keeney set Stephen Curneen away. The winger’s shot, though, flew just over the crossbar.

That proved to be brief respite, though, as Gweedore continued their assault as the half bore to a close. Following a cross from Colin Ferry, Whoriskey’s volley was bravely blocked by JP Byrne. The second goal was coming all the same and it arrived when O’Sullivan slotted home after Paul Rua McBride had cushioned a header into his path.

With the elements at their back and nothing to lose in their first ever final, Donegal threw the kitchen sink at Gweedore. They came within a whisker of levelling when Declan Brown headed against the crossbar from six yards out and before Gweedore had managed to clear the danger, Curneen headed for the bottom corner only for McKelvey to make an excellent save down low by the base of his post.

From then on, Donegal’s threat was contained and on the break in stoppage time, Tómas Diver dragged the ball back to created a scoring chance before being denied a 44th goal of the season by the goalframe.

But by that stage the cup was won and now Gweedore can concentrate on the challenge of taking the league trophy back to An Sreaban once again.

Gweedore Celtic: Michael McKelvey; Jamie Boyle, Paul Rua McBride, David McGee, David Ward (Kevin Friel 73); Colin Ferry (Ciaran McFadden 77), Damian O’Sullivan (Eugene McBride 68), Eamonn Cannon, Fionnan Diver, Gary Whoriskey; Tomas Diver.

Donegal Town: Dermot McCafferty; Ryan Gallagher (Jamie McCrea half-time), Danny McGarrigle, JP Byrne, Kevin Devenney (Ryan Earley 73); Stephen Curneen, Benny Byrne, Sean Boyle, Declan Brown (Joe McIntyre 82); Raymie McGroary, Stephen Keeney.

Referee: Joe McHugh.