St Michael’s staged a second half comeback to secure victory over a St Eunan’s side who will rue a number of missed chances, including two saved penalties, in testing conditions at the Bridge.
St. Michael’s 2-11
St. Eunan’s 1-5
A howling wind meant each team would have a half with distinct advantage as the game got underway. Against the wind it was the home team who started brightest with Daniel McLaughlin scoring a point from play with just 19 seconds gone. It was a smart score from a move he began by linking up with Andrew Kelly.
Within two minutes McLaughlin pointed a free won by Stephen Coyle to put two between them.
In the seventh minute Conor Gibbons missed a free for St Eunan’s but a minute later Gibbons provided a pass that put Ross Wherity through on goal and his low powerful shot rattled the net making it St Michael’s 0-2 to 1-0.
With the visitors enjoying much of the possession on the ten minute mark John Haran found himself in a good position but was dragged to the ground by Stephen Doak with a goal chance looming. Referee Shaun McLaughlin pointed to the spot but Kieran Sharkey’s shot was well saved by Ciaran Gallagher in the St Michael’s goal. The first of a number of vital saves he made in the game.
Conall Dunne pointed from play to register St Eunan’s first point on 17 minutes. Substitute Mark McGowan added another from play for Eunan’s on 24 minutes. St Michael’s hit back with a fine score from play from in-form county player Martin McElhinney to bring his side’s tally to 0-3 to 1-2. Another goal chance was on the cards for Haran’s side when his swift turn wrong footed his marker but he opted to fire over for a point.
Dunne found his mark from long range to increase the Letterkenny teams lead to 1-04 to 0-03 but his side had a tally of seven wides in total as the half came to a close, which would have a major impact on the final score line.
Now with the wind advantage St Michael’s opened the scoring in the second minute with a long range Stephen Coyle point from play after he was set up by McElhinney.
His county team mate Daniel McLaughlin added another from play following a pass from Peter Witherow.
St Eunan’s rallied back and were award a penalty in the fifth minute for a foot block following a messy goalmouth incident. The time Conor Gibbons stepped up but once again ‘keeper Gallagher made a great save to keep St Michael’s in the match.
In the sixth minute Martin McElhinney put St Michael’s in front for the first time since the eighth minute when he burst through the middle with a powerful run to blast home a goal making it 1-5 to St Michael’s, St Eunan’s 1-4. Now controlling the match, they extended the lead with a McLaughlin fisted a point from a tight angle.
Andrew Kelly added another goal for the home team on the 15 minute mark following a lengthy, determined, run making it 2-6 to 1-4. Coyle pointed a succession of four well taken frees to put daylight between them.
Once again Ciaran Gallagher was sharp between the sticks to deny a good shot by Conor Gibbons. Ross Wherity managed to grab another for the visitors from a fisted effort with 28 minutes gone.
To top off a good defensive display James Henry Alcorn found himself as part of a surging St Michael’s attack and his run was rewarded when he chipped over a fine point to leave the final score 2-11 to 1-5
St Michael’s: Ciaran Gallagher, James Alcorn (0-1), Stephen Doak, Brendan Rodden, Martin Breslin, Anton McFadden, Liam Paul Ferry, Martin McElhinney (1-1), Peter Witherow, Daniel McLaughlin (0-4,1f) Ciaran ‘Rock’ Gallagher, Lorcan McDaid, Stephen Coyle (0-5, 4f’s), Brian McLaughlin, Andrew Kelly (1-0). Sub: Oisin Langan for L McDaid 56min.
St Eunan’s: JP Clarke, Conor Parke, Michael Martin, Darragh Mulgrew, Peter Devine, Eamonn Doherty, Ciaran Green, Ross Wherity (1-1), Caolan Ward, Conall Dunne (0-2), Sean McVeigh, Conor Gibbons, John Haran (0-1) Ciaran Sharkey. Subs: Mark McGowan (0-1) for S McVeigh 10mins. Sean Hensey for C Sharkey 50min. Conal McGinley for C Ward 55min.
Referee Shaun McLaughlin, Malin.