A sending off just before half-time followed by a Termon goal seconds later was the decisive period in the All-Ireland junior Gaeltacht final in Magheragallon yesterday.
An Tearmainn 1-11
Naomh Naille 1-9
The sides were level at 0-4 each when St. Naul’s lost Barry Griffin to a straight red card as he retaliated after being fouled and referee Martin Coll had little option.
But to make matters worse Termon went up field and hit the decisive goal of the contest and from there to the finish the men from the Burn Road were in control.
Close to the end St. Naul’s did convert a penalty to reduce the margin, but it was too little, too later, although the Parish of Inver side cannot blame Stephen Griffin, who notched 1-8 of their total, the other point coming from his brother, Barry.
The opening half was very closely contested until the final minutes of the half when Termon took a firm grip on proceedings.
With both sides being unchanged from the starting line-ups for their respective semi-final victories on Sunday, it was Termon who were first on the scoreboard with Martin Sweeney pointing a free on 45 seconds.
Barry Griffin equalised for St. Naul’s and his brother, county star Stephen edged them ahead from a free on seven minutes.
Termon came storming back with three points in-a-row from Aidan Sweeney (eight minutes), Darragh McDaid from a 45m free and Paddy McDaid, who got his fist to a Michael Boyle long range free to put his side two points clear.
But despite playing against the breeze, St. Naul’s were back on level terms by the 25th minute with Stephen McBrearty converting twice, once from play and from a free.
The game took a decisive turn before the break when St. Naul’s lost half-back Barry Griffin when he retaliated after being fouled by Sean O’Donnell just minutes from the break. O’Donnell was also lucky not to receive a second yellow, as he has been yellow carded minutes earlier.
Termon took full advantage of the numerical advantage as St. Naul’s lost their composure with the sending off.
A quick free found Paddy McDaid who transferred a great ball to inrushing Aidan Sweeney to slam past Lee McBrearty in the St. Naul’s goal on 29 minutes.
A minute later Martin Sweeney added a point and in added time goalkeeper Michael Boyle came forward to point a 45m free to give the Termon side a 1-6 to 0-4 half-time lead.
Termon hit St. Naul’s with three further points before the second half was very old. Martin Sweeney was the scorer of all three for the winners, with two of them from frees.
St. Naul’s, thanks to the accuracy of Stephen Griffin, were back in the contest with nine minutes of normal time left. Griffin hit four unanswered pointed to reduce the margin to 1-9 to 0-8.
Sean ‘The Decent’ O’Donnell hit an important point for Termon on 52 minutes to stem the comeback and even though Griffin had another point on 58th minute, Paddy and Darragh McDaid gave Termon a cushion with two more points.
On the stroke of time Griffin was brought down for a penalty and hit the spot kick to Michael Boyle’s left, but there wasn’t time for the kick-out as Termon celebrated All-Ireland success.
Termon scorers: Martin Sweeney 0-5,3f; Aidan Sweeney 1-1; Darragh McDaid 0-1,f; Paddy McDaid 0-2; Michael Boyle (f), Sean O’Donnell 0-1 each.
St. Naul’s scorers: Stephen Griffin 1-8,7f, Barry Griffin 0-1
Termon: Michael Boyle; Joe O’Donnell, John McDaid, Barry Nelis; Daniel Conaghan, Kevin McIlwaine, Sean O’Donnell; Thomas Cullen, Kevin McGettigan; Kevin McDaid, Aidan Sweeney, Martin Sweeney; Paddy McDaid, Trevor Alcorn, Darragh McDaid. Subs., Anthony McGrenra for D Conaghan, Seamus McIlwaine for T Cullen, both 51.
St. Naul’s: Lee McBrearty; Conor McBrearty, Gavin Maguire, Enda Lynch; John Rose, Stuart Johnston, Barry Griffin; Fiachra McGinley, Shane Conneelly; Stephen Griffin, Barry Rose, Liam McGroarty; James Flynn, Brendan Breen, Cathal Lowther. Subs: Mark Ward for S Johnston inj 21; Brian McCabe for B Rose 39.
Referee: Martin Coll (Gaoth Dobhair)