ST EUNAN’S sauntered through to a County Minor football Championship final appointment against Kilcar following a 13-point win over Naomh Conaill at MacCumhaill Park yesterday.
ST EUNAN’S 4-9
NAOMH CONAILL 1-5
Although St Eunan’s having no fixture in the competition since September, the contest was effectively over at half-time as Martin Blaney’s side headed for the dressingroom with a comfortable 3-5 to 0-1 lead.
St Eunan’s started the half competently and finished it strongly, with Conor McEniff, Conor O’Donnell and Oisin Carr all scoring goals.
St Eunan’s first two points, both of which came from frees, came off the boot of David Tyrell but in-between there was an illustration that the Naomh Conaill goal was there to be got at.
Darragh Mulgrew burst through the ranks and although he didn’t hit the shot as cleanly as he might’ve, the ball was saved by Phil McGeehin.
St Eunan’s continued to press from their dominant base at centre-field. Carr scored a peach of point from long range before centre-back O’Donnell raided forward to give his side a four-point lead.
On 14 minutes, the first goal of the game arrived from McEniff. The corner-forward was the concluding character in a fine move, finishing with a piercing shot across McGeehin.
Tyrell then posted his third point of the half, this time from play, to leave his team 1-5 to 0-0 ahead on the quarter-hour.
Five minutes before the interval, O’Donnell added a second St Eunan’s goal following another characteristic break from his berth at No 6.
O’Donnell overran the ball slightly but still had the presence of mind to stoke into the bottom corner off the ground.
Naomh Conaill, who had got their first point of the day on 24 minutes through a free from Ciaran Thompson, were reeling at the end of the first half.
Before they found their feet, St Eunan’s had another goal. This time it was Carr who supplemented the attack and he hammered a third goal in at McGeehin’s near post. St Eunan’s, 3-5 to 0-1 ahead, had one foot in the final at the break.
With the chances of a Naomh Conaill comeback unlikely because of the steepness of their deficit, the second half saw both teams go through the motions amid a clutter of substitutions.
James Doherty pointed a Naomh Conaill free and St Eunan’s had a let-off when Thompson’s free came down off their crossbar before being cleared by the black and amber. Thompson then added a sweeping score from over 35 metres out.
It took St Eunan’s 18 minutes to open their second half account but Brian McGeehin chipped over a well-taken point, before, in fading visibility, the lights finally went out of Naomh Conaill.
Mulgrew saw a chink of daylight in the defence and having made a beeline through it, was in on goal. His shot was low and hard but saved down low by McGeehin in the Naomh Conaill goal, only for St Eunan’s substitute Michael Miller to sweep home the rebound.
Points were traded at both end thereafter, with Miller, Tyrell and O’Donnell on target for St Eunan’s, while Colm McGeehin scored a late goal for Naomh Conaill and Thompson scored the last point of the match.
St Eunan’s: Aidan Mitchell; Brian Hannigan, Conor Parke, Conor Morrison; Dara McMonagle, Conor O’Donnell (1-2), David Tyrell (0-4, 2f); Jordan McBride, Oisin Carr (1-1); Conor McCloskey, Kevin Meehan, Barry McGeehin (0-1); Michael Roache, Darragh Mulgrew, Conor McEniff (1-0). Subs: Dan O’Donnell, John Gobbons and Michael Miller (1-1) on for McMonagle, McCloskey and Roache (half-time), Daniel Gillespie for McEniff (45), Peter O’Malley for Mulgrew (60)
Naomh Conaill: Phil McGeehin; Gearoid Doherty, Eoin McGlynn, Ciaran Quinn; Mickey McMonagle, Kevin McGettigan, Stephen Moore; Mark Gallagher (0-1, 1f), James Doherty (0-1, 1f); David McKelvey, Ciaran Thompson (0-3, 2f), Mark Molloy; Charlie McGuinness, Ethan O’Donnell, David Stanisliwvzk. Subs: Colm McGeehan (1-0) and Michael McDevitt for McGuinness and McKelvey (half-time), Mark McNelis and Brian McLoone for Stanisliwvzk and Moore (57).
Referee: Paddy McGonagle (Buncrana).
Man of the match
The best performers were in the colours of St Eunan’s such was their dominance and the award could go to any one of a number of players. However, Conor O’Donnell at centre-back was excellent.
In a match that had so much one-way traffic, it was hard to pick any point in particular but Oisin Carr’s goal on 29 minutes meant the game was over as a contest.
The match lost most of its bite in tough conditions and Paddy McGonagle has certainly had tougher days at the office.