A stoppage time goal sealed the most dramatic of wins for Colaistí Inis Eoghain against St Eunan’s in a historic Danske Bank Rannafast Cup quarter-final at Hibernian Park in Burt yesterday.
St Eunan’s 0-11
Colaistí Inis Eoghain 1-10
Two minutes into time added on and with his side a point down at 0-11 to 0-10, Colaistí Inis Eoghain’s Mark Coyle stood over a 45 and had no option but to drop the ball into the square to manufacture the necessary score to restore parity.
The ball did indeed drop, but Christy McLaughlin pounced onto a defensive slap to slam past Sean Daffen for a remarkable finish, considering Colaistí Inis Eoghain trailed by five points at one stage in the second half.
Never before had two sides from the county met at such a stage and to prove just how far both had wandered into the provincial waters, it was worth noting that St Eunan’s hadn’t reached the last eight in 27 years. Colaistí Inis Eoghain, of course, are much younger in years, but they certainly upset their rivals yesterday and will continue their journey.
Heady times indeed, a notion further strengthened when Sam Maguire made a guest appearance before the game in the company of Donegal’s All-Ireland winning wing-forward, Ryan Bradley from Buncrana.
Gary Duffy’s combined team from the peninsula from the two schools in Buncrana as well as Carndonagh and Moville faced the wind to begin with and went in at half-time five points behind, 0-9 to 0-5.
Michael Millar’s free and a Christopher Flanagan point pushed the Letterkenny side into a two-point lead. Colaistí Inis Eoghain, though, soon got back to level, thanks to two points from their effective full-forward John Campbell, who scored six points in all.
But from then until the end of the first half, St Eunan’s used the elements to their advantage to go in at the break in a decent position. Miller and Flanagan pushed their advantage back out to two, again with a free and score from play, before Niall O’Donnell and Conall O’Boyle also pointed.
Four points in front, St Eunan’s looked to be steaming ahead. McLaughlin pulled one back before another score, this time from play from Miller, and Oran Hilley established a five-point margin from Gary McDaid’s St Eunan’s. Traded scores from Campbell and Miller, with his fourth of the half, meant St Eunan’s were 0-9 to 0-4.
Colaistí Inis Eoghain’s policies in the second half were, understandably, much altered with the chance to go long. From a 45 right after the restart, Campbell punched over a dropping effort from Coyle. Michael Patton, St Eunan’s marauding centre-back Michael Patton scored to ensure the interval margin was re-established. But that was to be as good as it would get.
St Eunan’s were dealt a blow 10 minutes into the second half when Miller hobbled from the field of play with an ankle injury. Sean McHugh the Campbell slotted over frees for the Inishowen representatives, there was only three between them.
And when Caolan Mailey hung one over with the right foot and Campbell rattled the top of the crossbar as his point flew over, their team was very much in the mix-up, just 0-10 to 0-9 down.
The wind really was in the sails of Colaistí Inis Eoghain and with seven minutes to play, McHugh levelled up the match with another free. However, Tyrell managed to edge St Eunan’s in front from an infrequent raid upfield. They hoped it would be enough but it wasn’t to be as Colaistí Inis Eoghain, and McLaughlin in particular, finished things off spectacularly.
St Eunan’s: Sean Daffan; Cormac Callaghan, Darragh McWalters, Sean McDonagh; Oisin Shields, Michael Patton (0-1), Michael Friel; Patrick Diver, Conall O’Boyle (0-1); Oran Hilley (0-1), Michael Miller (0-4, 3f), Conor Morrison; Niall O’Donnell (0-1), Jordan O’Dowd, Christopher Flanagan (0-2). Subs: Caolan McDaid for Miller (40), David Tyrell (0-1, 1f) for Friel (47)
Colaistí Inis Eoghain: Jamie Barr; Peter Doherty, Aaron McCarron, Stephen O’Donnell; Dara Browne, Darren Gallagher, Ultan Doherty; Georgie Kelly, Tony McClenaghan; Christy McLaughlin (1-1), Caolan Marley (0-1), Mark Coyle; Sean McHugh (0-2, 2f), John Campbell (0-6, 3f), Josh Lafferty.
Referee: Jimmy McCallion (Castlederg).