There were controversial scenes at the end of this game in Bundoran with Malin claiming that the game had edned ina draw, but referee Shane Toolan had Bundoran ahead by the minimum.
Bundoran dominated the possession stakes for much of this match but still rode their luck to win their fourth game in succession and climb to joint third in Division 2.
Playing with the aid of a slight breeze, the home side hit some excellent long distance points from Christy Keaney, Ferghal McKiernan, Michael McEniff and Peter McGonigle to lead by 5-2 after fifteen minutes.
Paddy Kelly and Michael Byrne scoring for Malin, while McEniff also converted a placed ball. McKiernan and Anthony Kelly traded points to leave it 6-3 by the 20th minute.
It was the 22nd minute before Malin won a Bundoran kick-out, but when the Inishowen team hit their stride Bundoran found them nigh impossible to live with. Probably the best goal chance of the match fell to Terence Doherty on 21 minutes when with the goal gaping from a Brendan McLaughlin cutback he side-footed the ball wide. Brendan McLaughlin then hit a beautiful point from an acute angle. Malin’s Paddy Kelly won the kick-out and put Paul McLaughlin through for their fifth point. Malin again won the kick-out and Matthew Byrne levelled the scores. Shaken by the sudden reversal of their fortunes, the Bundoran defence briefly lost their discipline conceding two frees within a minute – converted by Michael Byrne and Anthony Kelly to leave it 8-6 in favour of the Inishowen side. McEniff converted a free to leave the minimum between the sides but missed a free minutes later, that was deflected for a 45 converted by Darragh to leave it level, eight points each, at the break.
Christy Keaney opened the second half scoring and Johnny Ward added a point before Brendan McLaughlin got the visitors’ ninth score. Twice within the next five minutes Malin had gilt-edged goal opportunities. Brendan McLaughlin missed the target from five meters and minutes later seen his point-blank shot saved by Ashley Mulhern, while Doherty’s attempt to score from the rebound was deflected onto the post by the diving Diarmuid McCaughey. Bundoran responded with three consecutive scores, but Malin hit back with two excellent long-range strikes from Matthew Byrne to reduce the gap to two points as the game entered the last ten minutes.
The sides twice traded points before Ferghal McKiernan got the best score of the game to open a three point gap in the 56th minute. McKiernan’s score came following an extended period of Bundoran possession as they passed the ball back and forth across the middle of the park before breaking forward with real pace, McEniff trading passes with Paul Sheridan and Peter McGonigle before laying the ball off to Johnny Ward who put McKiernan through on goals but the in-form forward opted for the point rather than striking for goal. Dan McDaid pulled one back for the Inishowen men and as normal time ended McEniff screwed a free badly wide.
Malin launched one last attack and it proved fruitful when Byrne was pulled back on the edge of the Bundoran area and referee Shane Toolan, despite vehement Bundoran protestations, awarded a penalty. Matthew Byrne blazed the ball over the bar and Bundoran had scraped home.
Malin, who were missing county star Declan Walsh will rue their missed opportunities but had star performances from Conor Farren, Paddy Kelly and Brendan McLaughlin. Bundoran were missing five experienced campaigners – James Keaney, Shane McGowan, Tommy Hourihane, Niall Dunne and Paul Delaney - as well as regular starters Alan Russell and Adam Coyne and will have been very pleased to have got two precious league points.
Their panel has been strengthened by the influx of young players from their successful underage teams of recent years but it was the older heads of Darragh Hoey, Christy Keaney, Ciaran McCaughey and Ferghal McKiernan that were the key players on the day.
Bundoran: Ashley Mulhern, Diarmuid McCaughey, Johnny Boyle, (0-1) Jonathan McHale, Barry McGowan, Gary Clancy, Paul Sheridan (0-1), Peter McGonigle (0-1), Ciaran McCaughey, Christy Keaney (0-2), Michael McEniff (0-4), Johnny Ward (0-2), Diarmuid Spratt, Darragh Hoey (0-1), Ferghal McKiernan (0-5). Subs used: Shane Moohan and Paul Delaney.
Malin: Daniel Mullarkey, Gary Farren, Damien Harkin, Charlie Byrne, John McLaughlin, Conor Farren, John G McLaughlin (0-1), Paddy Kelly (0-3), Anthony Kelly (0-1), Stephen McLaughlin, Matthew Byrne (0-3), Paul McLaughlin (0-1), Brendan McLaughlin (0-1), Terence Doherty (0-1), Michael Byrne (0-4). Sub used Dan McDaid (0-1).