Malin scored an injury time goal in Connoly Park to snatch a narrow victory over championship opponents Naomh Conail.
Naomh Conail 0-9
The game was played in changeable conditions with a swirling wind, rain and even sunshine in stages which made for a low scoring game.
Malin who had any advantage of the wind gave in the first half fell behind when Leon Thomson won the ball and cut in from the right to get the Glenties men off the mark. Both teams had goal chances after this but both Matthew Byrne and Leo McLoone were denied by both goalkeepers. Naomh Conail extended their lead with a Dermot Molloy free on ten minutes.
Malin responded by moving up the field and a long ball in from Matthew Byrne to his brother Michael, who did well to keep the ball in play, then fisted across the square to Dan McDaid who turned and left footed into the corner.
Dara Gallagher responded with a free. Anthony Kelly then scored two sublime scores from play. The first was from on the 45’ in which he judged the swirling wind perfectly and the second from similar range but close out on the right touchline was the point of the game. Amazingly the last twelve minutes of the half remained scoreless as the weather proved difficult for both teams and the half time score read Malin 1-2 Naomh Conail 0-3.
Naomh Conail dominated the first fifteen minutes of the second half with Leo McLoone scoring from out on the right opening the scoring and then Dara Gallagher scored from out in the left using the wind to his advantage having earlier seen a shot which looked to be going over drift wide in the conditions.
Dermot Molloy scored a free to edge Glenties ahead and then they built on the lead after patient work across the resolute Malin defence, Aaron Thompson managed to get a good cross field pass to Gallagher and he made no mistake again. Gallagher was in good form now and after an easy free he scored another after collecting a stray Malin sideline ball to run in and tap over the black spot and Malin were in trouble.
To their credit Malin who seemed to be strengthened by their bench got going and Matthew Byrne scored after a well worked short free from Anthony Kelly. Dermot Molloy scored a free after Anthony Thomson was taken down and Naomh Conail led by two with five to go. Malin pushed hard and it seemed they were going to be left frustrated with decisions and Naomh Conail’s defending, however they never gave up and were rewarded when John Gerard McLaughlin won a kick out and fed Matthew Byrne and after some neat work down the left hand side, fed Brendan McLaughlin and the young forward ran along the byline and he fed Steven McLaughlin who shot through players and goalkeeper to hit the net and send the large home crowd ecstatic.
There was just time for the kickout and Malin had rescued a famous victory and continue their good start to the league, though it doesn’t get any easier for them as they host another championship oppent St. Eunan’s on Friday night and away to Gweedore on Sunday.
Malin: Declan Lafferty, Gary Farren, Damien Harkin, John Colm Doherty, Michael McLaughlin, John McLaughlin, Gerard Green, Anthony Kelly (0-0), Declan Walsh, Darren McLarley, Matthew Byrne (0-2), Brendan McLaughlin, Michael Byrne, Daniel McDaid (1-0), Adam Byrne: Subs Used: Terence Doherty for Adam Byrne, Charles Byrne for Micheal McLaughlin, John Gerard McLaughlin for Gerard Green, Steven McLaughlin (1-0) for Darren McLarkey, Paul McLaughlin for Daniel McDaid
Naomh Conail: Stephen McGrath, Jason Campbell, Ciaran Brennan, Stephen Molloy, Anthony Thompson, Cathal Eilis, Aaron Thompson, Ciaran Thompson, Johney McLoone, Eunan Doherty, Dermot Molloy (0-3), Dara Gallagher (0-4), Marty Boyle, Leo McLoone (0-1), Leon Thompson (0-1): Subs: Conal McLoone, Paddy Campbell, Martin Regan, Anthony Gallagher, Dermot Ward, Seamus Corcoran, John O Malley, Hughie Gallagher, Jamie McHugh.