St. Eunan’s are Divsion One Minor Football League champions once again, following their four point victory over Dungloe, in a closely contested league final at the Cross on Friday night.
St. Eunan 1-10
It took a lightening start and a late scoring surge from Conor McEniff for St. Eunan’s to finally shake of a determined and classy Dungloe outfit, that never gave up despite the fact that they were chasing the game from the opening seconds.
While it might be in ‘the one that got away’ category, the Rosses boys certainly had enough possession in the second half to have more than 1-6 on the scoreboard at the finish.
But a little hastiness in shooting cost them dearly. But to be fair, too, a very well marshalled St. Eunan’s rearguard, who played an extra man back in defence for much of the 60 minutes, made life difficult for the Dungloe front six.
St. Eunan’s got off to dream start and had 1-1 on the board inside four minutes, before David McCarron opened the wind assisted Dungloe account on eight minutes.
Daniel Gillespie split the Dungloe posts inside half a minute for the winners’ first point and Daire McMonagle drilled home the goal inside four minutes. McMonagle blasted to the net after good work by Rory Carr.
St. Eunan’s were really cruising at this stage and they had Dungloe in all kinds of bother.
While David McCarron got Dungloe up and running on eight minutes, it was still predominantly all St. Eunan’s for the remainder of the first quarter. And they should have had another few scores and possibly one more goal before David Tyrell kicked their second point on 15 minutes. Tyrell converted from 13 metres straight in front of the Dungloe posts, after he had the ball in the net but was called back and awarded the free.
One minute later, David McCarron ignited the Dungloe spark when he first timed to the net after the ball broke between Ryan Rodgers and Conal O’Boyle.
That was on 16 minutes, and while Conor O’Donnell and Oisin Carr restored St. Eunan’s three point advantage 1-4 to 1-1, Dungloe, by this stage, had shaken off the early nerves. And mainly through the prompting of Darren Curran and Luke Neely at midfield, and with McCarron winning his battle up front, they hit two quick points to reduce the margin to a point, 1-4 to 1-3, with five minutes remaining in the half.
McCarron posted the first and Ryan Greene knocked over the second for Tony Boyle’s side, who were bidding for their first minor league title in 25 years.
Daniel Rogers pulled off a brave save to deny Michael Millar, and David Tyrell split the posts from the resultant ‘45’, to send St. Eunan’s 1-5 to 1-3, in front at half-time.
Millar made it a three point game within seconds of the restart. But with David Sweeney on for Dungloe, Ryan Greene from a tight angle and Adam Neely clipped over points, to make it a one point game once again by the 39 minute mark.
It was nip and tick from then until the finish with Dungloe failing to translate possession into scores. And while they kept St. Eunan’s scoreless, they did not score again themselves until ten minutes from the end. By that stage they were down to 14 after wing back, Brian O’Donnell, received a straight red card for off the ball clash and following consultation between the referee and his umpires.
With the game on a knife edge, and St. Eunan’s clinging on, 1-7, to 1-6, Conor McEniff produced the magic in the closing five minutes with three super strikes, two from play, both long range, and a ‘45’, to ensure another league title for the O’Donnell Park,trophy cabinet.
St. Eunan’s: Sean Defan; Brian Hannigan, Conal O’Boyle, Ronan Dorrian; Peter O’Malley, Daire McMonagle (1-0), Oisin Carr (0-1); Conor O’Donnell (0-1), Conor Morrison; David Tyrell (0-2,1,45), Daniel Gillespie (0-1), Conor McEniff (0-3,1f); Michael Millar (0-2), Rory Carr, Barry McGeehin. Subs: John Russell for D. Tyrell (45); Jordon O’Dowd for D. McMonagle (57).
Dungloe: Daniel Rodgers; Matthew Ward, Owen Scally, Dylan Reilly; Brian O’Donnell, Jack Scally, Darragh McGee; Darren Curran, Luke Neely; Stephen Conaghan, Barry Curran, Ryan Greene (0-1); Adam Neely (0-1), Ryan Rodgers, David McCarron (1-2). Subs. David Sweeney (0-2) for D. McGee (35); Adam Ryan for R. Rodgers (52).
Referee: Michael McShane (Kilcar).