Three goals in three minutes saw a dramatic end to this preliminary round game in Mountcharles with St. Naul’s eventually getting a draw after leading for most of the contest.
St. Naul’s 2-9
With the sixty minutes up, St. Naul’s led by 1-9 to 0-9, but a high ball into the square saw Richard Cunningham fist to the net to level matters.
Two minutes later another good high ball was dropped by Lee McBrearty and Dominic Doherty forced the ball home to put Carn in the lead for the first time in the game.
It looked as if they had pulled off a shock result, but St. Naul’s hit back and it was no surprise that it was Mark Conneely that won a penalty at the other end and Stephen Griffin blasted home the equaliser with the last kick of the game.
It doesn’t get any more dramatic than that. Up to then it was a poor enough encounter with the difficult underfoot conditions and a strong wind major factors.
St. Naul’s had the elements in the opening half and led by 1-5 to 0-3 at the break. Stephen Griffin, back in the green in white after a shoulder injury, had two points inside 11 minutes and then he was involved with Conneely to set uip Paul McGroarty for the opening goal on 13 minutes which put St. Naul’s five clear.
Stephen Griffin added two frees before Carndonagh got on the scoreboard on 23 minutes, Padraig Doherty converting a free.
Barry Griffin, after a 50m run, set up Conneely for another Naul’s point but late in the half Aaron Jenkins and Doherty from another free had vaulable Carndonagh points.
Doherty had another point at the start of the second half but Stephen Griffin (free) and Conneely extended the St. Naul’s lead by the 36th minute.
However, Carndonagh began to exert influence and points flowed from Ryan Kelly, Aaron Jenkins, Doherty (free) and an exquisite point from Cathal O’Kane to reduce the margin to two by the 50th minute.
Two fisted points from Stephen Griffin and Andrew Gallagher seemed to put St. Naul’s in the driving seat, ahead by 1-9 to 0-8 with eight minutes left.
But Carndonagh had other ideas with Padraig ‘Chucky’ Doherty lofting a free from fully 50m and then came the dramatic finish.
St. Naul’s will be far from happy with the outcome, although they were fortunate to get the draw in the end. They dominated the game for stages and will wonder how they let a four point lead slip in the final minutes. They cannot blame Shane Conneely, who was their outstanding player while Conor McBrearty, Daniel Friel and Stephen Griffin also played their part.
For Carndonagh, Padraig Doherty, Michael Mooney, Cathal O’Kane, Aaron Jenkins and Eanna Newtown were best.
St. Naul’s: Lee McBrearty; Conor McBrearty, Edward Kane, Jamie White; Daniel Friel, John Rose, Edward Gallagher; Fiachra McGinley, Barry Griffin; Cathal Lowther, Andrew Gallagher (0-1), Stephen Griffin (1-6,4f,pen); Shane Conneely (0-2), Paul McGroarty (1-0), Stuart Johnston. Subs., Mark Ward for Lowther 44; James Flynn for White 46; Barry Rose for McGroarty 57.
Carndonagh: Fergal Doherty; Michael Nelson, Conor Doherty, Danny Monagle; Conor McCormack, Padraig Doherty (0-5,4f), Michael Mooney; Cathal O’Kane (0-1), Richard Cunningham (1-0); Ryan Kelly (0-1), Aaron Jenkins (0-2), Paddy McCallion; Matthew McLaughlin, Oliver McConalogue, Eanna Newton. Subs., Dermot McMonagle for D Monagle 38; Dominic Doherty (1-0) for McCallion 51; McCallion for Conor Doherty 57.
Referee: Andrew Mullin (Killybegs)