KILCAR won on their last competitive trip to O’Donnell Park but left Letterkenny scratching their heads on Good Friday having been annihilated by St Eunan’s on the first day of the season.
St. Eunan’s 4-10
Last September the side then managed by James McHugh outfoxed St Eunan’s in the first round, first leg, of the SFC only to go down to a late goal from Ross Wherity in the winner-takes-all play-off one chilly October night in Convoy.
However, Friday told another story altogether as John McNulty’s side gave a limp performance, scoring just a single point from play over the course of the 60 minutes. Although missing Patrick McBrearty, who had a mild foot injury, and Eoin McHugh; the absentees cannot excuse the collapse.
On the other hand, Eamon O’Boyle will be content with the way his team have hit the ground running, although the St Eunan’s manager will have learned little of their evolution in such a one-sided match.
For a while, it seemed there would at last be a spectacle to keep the interest of all parties in attendance, as chilly as they were, with the score 1-1 to 0-4 on 12 minutes. Three Mark McHugh points and a booming effort from distance from Michael Hegarty had given Kilcar some early promise. St Eunan’s, who were slightly slow getting going, matched that total thanks an early Lee McMonagle point and Ross Wherity’s goal after a goalmouth scramble that saw Sean McVeigh rattle the underside of the crossbar.
McMonagle hobbled off on six minutes and was replaced by the evergreen John Haran and a St Eunan’s team that were already physically stronger then had another brick in the wall.
A two-goal blitz in two minutes late in the first half turned the tide black and amber. Firstly, Donnchadh Gallagher fed an overlapping Rory Kavanagh on the run and the county centre-fielder piercing a shot unerringly past Eamon McGinley from the left flank. Then, on 24 minutes, Conor Gibbons placed a penalty into the bottom corner precisely after Wherity was toppled. McHugh, with his fourth pointed free, and Conall Dunne traded scores to leave St Eunan’s in firm control at the break, 3-2 to 0-5 up.
John Paul Clarke, the St Eunan’s goalkeeper, opened the second half with a fine save from Barry Doherty as Kilcar sought to eat into their six-point arrears but instead of flourish, they merely floundered.
Kavanagh, a fine individual effort from Ciaran Greene and punched effort from Dunne meant St Eunan’s were in no shortage of coal for the furnace and 11 minutes into the second half the killer blow was landed.
McGinley in the Kilcar goal opted to come from his line and punch but whilst damned if you do and damned if you don’t, failed to get significant purchase on the clearance and Wherity steadied himself to gobble up the opportunity for his side’s fourth goal.
Kilcar were completely demoralised at this point and whilst missing chances, St Eunan’s piled towards the Town End goal effortlessly. Mark McHugh, from another free, scored his team’s only score of the second half, while Kavanagh, Sean McVeigh, Eamon Doherty and Kevin Rafferty pointed to seal an easy win.
St Eunan’s: John Paul Clarke; Caolan Ward, Michéal Martin, Daragh Mulgrew; Peter Devine, Eamon Doherty (0-1), Ciaran Greene (0-1); Kevin Rafferty (0-1), Rory Kavanagh (1-2); Ross Wherity (2-0), Conall Dunne (0-2), Lee McMonagle (0-1); Sean McVeigh (0-1, 1f), Donnchadh Gallagher, Conor Gibbons (1-1, 1pen, 1f). Subs: John Haran for McMonagle (7); David McGinley for Gallagher (42); Sean Hensey for Kavanagh (46); Damien McClafferty for Ward (51); Patrick McGowan for Gibbons (52).
Kilcar: Eamon McGinley; Barry McGinley, Barry Shovlin, Pauric Carr; Patrick Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Stephen Shovlin; Michael Hegarty (0-2, 1f), Conor McShane; Matthew McClean, Ciaran McGinley, Mark McHugh (0-4, 3f); Glenn McBrearty, Barry Doherty, Dara O’Donnell. Subs: James Cunningham for B McGinley (38); Pauric Sweeney for M McHugh (45); Christopher Cunningham for McShane (58).
Referee: Shaun McLaughlin (Malin).