Glenswilly defeated Naomh Conaill and got their first home win of the season against at the sixth attempt to give their survival hopes a considerable boost.
Naomh Conaill 1-7
The side managed by Manus McFadden has been decimated this term through injury and unavailability but they dug in to post a fine win. Barry Molloy’s goal five minutes from time was the decisive score.
Perhaps the aspect of the performance that was most pleasing for the home support was the resolution shown by the hosts. Barely seven minutes had been played and the visitors had rolled into a pretty commanding 1-2 to 0-0 lead - but Glenswilly refused to give in.
The Glenties side had Dara Gallagher to thank for the first score of the day and then Ciaran Thompson took on a pass from Gallagher before thumping the opening goal of the game past Ciaran Molloy having worked the angle well. Dominic Bonner then added a stylish point with the outside of his foot as the alarm bells started sounding in Foxhall.
But Glenswilly grew into the match and Gary McFadden scored three first half frees to enable them to establish a foothold. Their prospects were heightened further when the roving Gerard McGrenra centred from the right and Darren McGinley slapped home a 14th minute goal to breathe hope into their sails. However, it was Naomh Conaill who went in at half-time a goal to the good, 1-4 to 1-3 in front, after Johnny McLoone and Brendan McDyre scored points.
The home side had done well to keep Leon Thompson scoreless, with Brian McDaid entrusted with the marking duties but the Naomh Conaill forward always carried a threat. However, when he hobbled off on 33 minutes the balance of power eked towards Glenswilly.
Gary McFadden continued his good form as the second half took shape, knocking over another two points, one from play and another free, as Glenswilly found themselves in the lead for the first time. Gallagher levelled things at 1-5 apiece before McFadden pointed his sixth of the day to restore Glenswilly’s slender advantage.
However, Johnny McLoone and Aaron Thompson’s points enabled Naomh Conaill to temporarily awake from the slumber and the contest was back in the melting pot. With five minutes remaining, teenage substitute Ryan Diver picked Martin Regan’s pockets to win a vital turnover just 25 metres from Stephen McGrath’s goal.
Glenswilly worked the play left and this time McGinley played the role of supplier, laying of possession to his right when centre-fielder Molloy had time to steady himself before almost ripping the net from McGrath’s goalframe.
Naomh Conaill, 2-6 to 1-7 down, plundered all their efforts into getting back on terms but were frozen out by some stout Glenswilly defending at it was left to wing-back Joe Gibbons to confirm the destination of the two points with his late score.
Glenswilly: Ciaran Molloy; Ryan Hunter, Barry Canning, Brian McDaid; Joe Gibbons (0-1), Eamon Ward, Rory McDaid; Barry Molloy (1-0), Charley Bonner; Gary McFadden (0-6, 5f), Darren McGinley (1-0), Aidan McDevitt; Caolan Kelly, Gerard McGrenra, John McFadden. Subs: Ryan Diver for Hunter (50), Colm Farrell for McGrenra (60).
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Jason Campbell, Johnny Bonner, Stephen Molloy; Dominic Bonner (0-1), Cathal Ellis, Owen Waide; Martin Regan, Johnny McLoone (0-2); Brenan McDyre (0-1, 1f), Seamus Corcoran, Ciaran Thompson (1-0); John O’Malley, Dara Gallagher (0-2), Leon Thompson.
Subs: James Doherty for Waide (28), Aaron Thompson (0-1) for Leon Thompson (33), Mark Gallagher for Campbell (60).
Referee: Hugo Wallace (Burt).