DONEGAL suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of Cork in the U-13 Euro Tab Inter-League final on Sunday in Tipperary.
Donegal had led through a goal from Shane Blaney, only for Cork to grab an equaliser through Alec Byrne and then, a minute before the end of extra-time, won the match through a long range strike for Ronan Hennessy.
It was a hugely disappointing conclusion for the team under the joint management of Mark McConnell and Paul Callan but the pair can certainly be proud of the efforts their players put in.
Seventeen minutes in, Blaney volleyed home a free-kick from Jack Keeney to give Donegal the lead and five minutes later that advantage was almost doubled when a centre from Peadar Morgan deceived goalkeeper Ian Giltenan, only for Keeney to narrowly miss the target.
Then, Sean McBride almost got on the end of a Keeney cross as Donegal pressed to find a second goal. However, it wasn’t all one-way traffic and 12 minutes into the second half Cork got back on level terms when Byrne looped home a header following a cross from substitute Peter Calanan. Donegal had Sean Curran to thank for staying on terms when he cleared off the goalline as Cork gained the upper hand. They held on to full-time and the game appeared to be destined to finish in a penalty competition, only for Hennessy to fire home a dramatic winner from 25 yards.
Donegal: Aaron Deeney, Bryan McNamee, Peadar Morgan, Conor Gavigan, Conor Gormley, Jeaic McKelvey, Shane Doherty, Sean McBride, Shane Blaney, Danny Walsh. Subs: Sean Curran, Calvin O’Brien, Dan Ó’Gallchór, Jordan Ryan, Shane McNamee.
Cork: Ian Giltenan, Dylan Scott, Colm Barrett, Gordon Walker, Thomas O’Donoghue, Matthew Lambe, Ronan Henessy, Cian Leonard, Dean Stanton, Alec Byrne, Greg Barrett. Subs: Peter Calanan, Cathal Mahoney, Eoin Murphy, James Holland, Ryan O’Regan.
Referee: John Lyons.