Adrian Sweeney rolled back the years to kick four points and Conor Greene scored the goals as Dungloe ended Glenswilly’s championship reign in O’Donnell Park on Saturday evening.
With Dungloe in a spot of bother trailing by four points, 0-4 to 0-8, and without the suspended Adrian Hanlon and having lost Raymond Sweeney to injury in the middle of the first half, former All-Star Sweeney took the game by the scruff of the neck to turn the tie on its head.
The move of the game was the switching of Sweeney from full-forward to centre-forward. Up to that point the former county ace wasn’t having it all his own way against Glenswilly’s number three Eamon Ward.
But from the moment Sweeney moved out the field, Dungloe were a transformed side and it was a long ball into the Glenswilly goalmouth from Sweeney shortly after the move and the introduction of Conor Greene that was the spark that ignited the Dungloe challenge and brought the Rosses men screaming back into a game that seemed as good as gone.
Glenswilly had opened the second period with three points in eight minutes from Michael Murphy, Darren McGinley and Oisin Crawford to open a four point gap after the sides had traded ends Glenswilly 0-5, Dungloe 0-4.
Engineering enough space to get his shot in, Sweeney’s delicately floated lob into the Glenswilly goalmouth was flicked to the net by Greene, seconds after being introduced, with Noel McBride also in close attendance.
The goal, on 42 minutes, reduced the margin to a point and when Sweeney converted the first of his three second half points two minutes later the sides were level for the first time in the game.
While the Rosses men were reduced to 14 shortly afterwards when Martin Redmond was shown a straight red card for retaliating after being awarded a free, Dungloe’s dander was up.
And with Sweeney, orchestrating and Cory Gallagher, Noel McBride, Shaun Sharkey, Basil Malone and Mark Forker taking the veteran’s lead, Sweeney converted from 13 metres after Gallagher, was tripped to propel Donegal into the lead for the first time in the game.
Now playing with a swagger and Glenswilly visibly wilting, a Greene shot on goal was deflected out for a ‘45’, before Sweeney again converted from close range after Mark Forker’s dogged determination had earned a free.
Leading by two, 1-7 to 0-8, and the clock in injury time, Greene sunk the dagger to tap home goal number two after good approach play from Mark Forker and Cory Gallagher.
The signs looked ominous at the beginning when Michael Murphy drove over Glenswilly’s opening point inside 20 seconds, after taking a quick delivery from Darren McGinley.
And when Gary McFadden converted from 20 metres after Murphy was tripped by Jamie Sweeney, Dungloe looked ragged and in trouble.
But despite all the Glenswilly bluster, Dungloe were next to score when Shaun Sharkey split the posts from 30 metres after Gerard Walsh was fouled by Ciaran Molloy.
And while Glenswilly were enjoying the Lion’s share in the possession stakes, and despite the loss of midfielder Raymond Sweeney with a broken collar bone, Dungloe hung in.
Gary McFadden and Sweeney and Neil Gallagher and Sharkey traded points before McFadden kicked the point of the half to open up a two point advantage.
However, Dungloe had the final say of the half when Gerard Walsh, pointed after a Cory Gallagher run from deep to make it a one point game at the half-time break.
Dungloe: Ciaran Sharkey; Doalty Boyle, Jamie Sweeney, Martin Redmond; Mark Sweeney, Cory Gallagher, Gavin Ward; Noel McBride, Raymond Sweeney; Gerard Wash (0-1), Shaun Sharkey (0-2,1f), Mark Clerkin; Mark Forker, Adrian Sweeney (0-4,4f), Paul McGarvey. Subs: Basil Malone for R. Sweeney (14 inj); Jack Scally for G. Ward (40); Conor Greene (2-0) for M. Clerkin (41); Owen Scally for D. Boyle (44 min).
Glenswilly: Ciaran Molloy; Brian McDaid, Eamonn Ward, Ruairi Crawford; Joe Gibbons, James Pat McDaid, Aidan McDevitt; Neil Gallagher (0-1), Charlie Bonner; Darren McGinley (0-1), John McFadden, Leon Kelly; Gary McFadden (0-3,1f), Michael Murphy (0-3,2f), Gerard McGrenra. Subs: Oisin Crawford (0-1) for G. McGrenra; Caolan Kelly for C. Bonner (both at half-time).
Referee: Michael McShane ( Kilcar)
Man of the match
Adrian Sweeney showed why he is an All-Star and was the leader of the team. His yearning for a club championship medal shone through as he hauled Dungloe over the line almost singlehandedly.
Dungloe’s first goal, on 42 minutes, when Conor Greene, rose highest to flick a long range strike from Adrian Sweeney to Glenswilly net to reduce the margin to one point 0-8 to 1-4.
Kilcar official Michael McShane, was inconsistent in his decisions, especially early on and made a number of questionable calls in quick succession which led to a bout of fisticuffs involving a group of players from both sides.
There was no programme, nobody on public address to announce the subs and there was no fourth official to indicate the amount of additional time to be played at half-time and at the end of the game.
Dungloe manager – Declan Bonner
“We spoke on Friday night about the longer we could hang and stay with Glenswilly, the better chance we had of pulling off the win.
“The first half was a poor game, the conditions did not help, but we did not play well and made a lot of mistakes, but we went in at half-time 0-5 to 0-4 down and Glenswilly could have been further ahead at half-time.
“We didn’t start the second half well either and Glenswilly kicked the first three points to go four up. But we hung in and we won a few frees and Adrian Sweeney converted them and we also got the goal from Conor Greene.
“The turning point for me was the sending off of Martin Redmond; the boys really went for it after that and we played the best football of the game in the last ten minutes and Conor’s second goal which was a good move clinched it.”