STEPHEN JONES scored a goal at the outset of second half stoppage time to give Naomh Columba a dramatic win over Termon in the Minor League Division Two final in Glenties on Friday night.
Naomh Columba 4-5
For much of the evening it seemed as though the cup would be going home behind the beeping cavalcade with maroon and white ribbons as Termon had established an apparent winning position. A minute before half-time the side mentored by Johnny McCafferty, Brian McDaid and Steve McElwaine were in a position of promise, 2-5 to 1-1 up.
That early dominance came mainly through the excellence in front of the posts of Daire McDaid, who scored all a goal and all five of Termon’s first half points – four of which came from play.
After Jones had given the south-westerners an early lead with a kicked point, Aidan Sweeney set McDaid away to round Naomh Columba goalkeeper Connor Tinney and shoot his side into a 1-0 to 0-1 lead. Noel Hegarty’s Naomh Columba got back into the match when Pauric O’Neill scored a rebound after Connor Tinney in the Termon goal had saved from Jones. The Termon netminder then made a vital save thereafter to deny Ryan Gillespie in a one-on-one before McDaid took over.
Termon were seven points up right before the break but a goal from O’Neill, his second of the half when set away by Paddy Byrne, meant both management teams had to quickly rethink their interval team talks. Termon were 2-5 to 2-1 ahead.
There was a nervy feel to the opening chapters of the second half and it was Naomh Columba who settled the faster. Points from Byrne and Conor Kennedy squeezed the margin down to two, only for Daire and Caolan McDaid to take Termon four in front again.
That’s how the margin remained until eight minutes from the finish when Naomh Columba got back into the match in freakish fashion. Paul Doherty’s ball deep into Termon territory looked harmless enough but it bounced over Termon goalkeeper Tinney, who had come to the pitch of the ball, and bobbled into the net. Termon’s lead was down to one – 2-7 to 3-3.
With a minute left that was still the score but a free from Gillespie tied up the match and all appeared to be heading towards extra-time. But just as the clock was clicking from black to red Jones got in past Joe McCusker and rasped home, shooting high past Tinney to give Naomh Columba the lead for the first time since the seventh minute. Daire McDaid, with a 45, making it 1-7 for the evening, pulled one back but when Jason McGill pointed at the other end it sealed the title for Naomh Columba.
Naomh Columba: Pauric Cunningham; Conor Carr, Philip McNern, Christopher Byrne; Pauric Ward, Jamie J McGinley, Conor Kennedy (0-1); Paddy Byrne (0-1, 1f), Dominic Gallagher; Paul Doherty (1-0), Ryan Gillespie (0-1, 1f), Pauric O’Neill (2-0); Philip Doherty, Eddie Curran, Stephen Jones (1-1). Subs: Jason McGill (0-1) for D Gallagher (half-time), Stephen Callaghan for McGinley (60).
Termon: Connor Tinney; Joe McCosker, Nathan McElwaine, Cillian McConigley; James Morton, Shane Callaghan, Enda McCormick; Aidan Sweeney, Conor Murray; Ricky Gallagher, Joe Gallagher, Fintan O’Flynn; James McSharry, Daire McDaid (1-7, 1f 2 ‘45’), Caolan McDaid (0-1). Caolan Mellet for C McDaid (47), C McDaid fof McSharry (58).
Referee: Martin Coll (Gaoth Dobhair).