PATRICK MCBREARTY scored 1-4 as Kilcar signalled their intentions in the Ráidio na Gaeltachta Senior Football Championship with a win over a lacklustre St Eunan’s.
ST EUNAN’S 1-5
The scoreboard might’ve depicted a three-point winning margin for the side managed by James McHugh but in truth the contest should’ve been over long before then.
John Haran scrambled home a late goal for the hosts, moments after McBrearty’s, in a match that seldom caught fire. After the match, St Eunan’s players stood in the circle on the field, with some of the more senior members taking turns at talking in the centre.
They must win this coming weekend in Towney to remain with a chance of adding the championship to the All-County Division One title they won so convincingly.
The St Eunan’s three-man management team of Eamon O’Boyle, Brendan Devenney and Michael McGeehin opted for experience - bar Haran - and that meant youngsters like Conor Parke, Caolan Ward and Darragh Mulgrew failed to start.
There was a nice touch beforehand when both teams clapped on the four All-Ireland winners - Rory Kavanagh and Kevin Rafferty from St Eunan’s and Mark McHugh and McBrearty of Kilcar.
Within 12 seconds of Robbie O’Donnell tossing the ball into the air, Kilcar had hit the front, with McHugh raiding from his familiar club berth at centre-back to cut through the St Eunan’s defence and score with ease.
McBrearty added two close range frees to push the lead out to three, although their award showed referee Robbie O’Donnell was unwilling to let a lot go. This led to a stop-start first half but it was still not a cause of complaint from the locals in Letterkenny by the end as the visitors were vastly superior.
Mark McGowan’s 45 on 12 minutes opened St Eunan’s account but that merely preceded the point of the half, scored by Michael Hegarty from the shadows of the stand.
Conor Gibbons’ free for St Eunan’s traded points with Kilcar’s Mark Sweeney as the half wore to a close with Kilcar 0-5 to 0-3 in front.
That lead could’ve been more had John Paul Clarke not been alert to come off his line and save from McBrearty in a one-on-one after McHugh had unpicked the lock.
Kilcar weren’t even playing particularly well but are well versed and have players that can hurt a team. They often defended in numbers and split from there upon receipt of possession.
With no real focal point to their attack, St Eunan’s threw Haran from the substitutes’ bench to the edge of the square for the second half but it was Kilcar who continued to press. McBrearty knocked over another pair of frees to double their lead from two to four.
After 40 minutes, St Eunan’s finally scored from play, when Conall Dunne was on the mark before Gibbons pointed a free. However, Kilcar defended in numbers and were bright enough to break well too.
St Eunan’s, who had seen an effort on goal cleared off the line by Conor McShane from Haran, had a let-off when Eoin McHugh and Clarke contested a ball and it meandered towards goal only for Eddie Brennan to mop up.
With time thin and Kilcar 0-7 to 0-4 up, Noel Hegarty wandered into space to score and although Dunne was again a scorer from play, McBrearty sealed the deal.
The 19-year-old broke into space and was found by an intelligent pass from Pauric Carr. McBrearty finished with aplomb, piercing past Clarke as time slipped into the 61st minute.
St Eunan’s did get a goal when a McGowan ball was lobbed into a congested square and Haran got the final touch as it beat Eamon McGinley, although it mattered little in the final shake-up. Kilcar are in the driving seat.
St Eunan’s: John Paul Clarke; Damien McClafferty, Michéal Martin, Peter Devine; Ciarán Greene, Eamon Doherty, Mark McGowan (0-1, 1 ‘45’); Ross Wherity, Rory Kavanagh; Lee McMonagle, Conall Dunne (0-2), Kieran Sharkey; Conor Gibbons (0-2, 2f), Sean McVeigh, Austin Marron. Subs: John Haran for Marron (half-time), Darragh Mulgrew for Sharkey (38), Eddie Brennan for McClafferty (40), David McGinley for Gibbons (53), Donncha Gallagher for McVeigh (56).
Kilcar: Eamon McGinley; Paddy Gallagher, Conor McShane, Pauric Carr; Eoin McHugh, Mark McHugh (0-1), Noel Hegarty (0-1); Michael Hegarty (0-1), David McShane; Ciaran McGinley, Patrick McBrearty (1-4, 4f), Ryan McHugh; Mark Sweeney (0-1), Ashley Carr, Ryan McHugh.
Referee: Robbie O’Donnell (Naomh Mhuire).
Man of the match
Kilcar’s half-back-line were the bightest on the field, with Eoin McHugh, Mark McHugh and Noel Hegarty popping up in attack. However, Patrick McBrearty scored 1-4 and that won the match for his team.
Robbie O’Donnell frustrated both sets of supporters by being picky on certain things, which disrupted the flow of the match considerably, while letting other things that seemed more warranting of a free.
Kilcar were dominant in the first half and, in actual fact, quite wasteful in front of goal. With John Haran coming on for St Eunan’s at the break, it looked as though the hosts would climb back into it. However, Patrick McBrearty’s two points, though, pushed Kilcar further ahead.
St Eunan’s win in Senior Reserve Championship
St Eunan’s 0-10
St Eunan’s reserves produced a double-score win over Kilcar in the Senior Reserve Championship on Sunday afternoon.
Two points from Patrick McGowan at the end of the first half established an interval lead for the hosts, 0-5 to 0-3. St Eunan’s Damian Martin and Declan Gallagher of Kilcar were given straight red cards late on for their part in a scuffle but points from Aidan Friel made sure of the home win.
St Eunan’s: D Martin; C Flood, E Kelly, T Grant; C McGinley, R McLaughlin, J Bradley; A Doherty, P O’Kane; A Friel, D Gallagher, P Rafferty; J McHale, P McGowan, E Blake. Subs: J Carr for P McGowan (50), C McEniff for McHale (56), K Meehan (60)
Kilcar: S Garvey; C O’Donnell, A McFadden, M Byrne; D Gillespie, D Gallagher, J Carr; C Cunningham (0-1), C Gilmore; P Sweeney (0-1), G McBrearty (0-1, 1f), R McGinley; D McCloskey (0-1), B Byrne, K Campebell (0-1). Subs: D McGinley and B McGinley for B Byrne and R McGinley (45), S McBrearty for C Sweeney (60).
Referee: Paddy McGonagle (Buncrana).