Sean MacCumhaills produced a storming finish to book a place in the last eight of the Donegal Senior Championship with a narrow victory at Ardara.
Sean MacCumhaills 0-13
In a highly entertaining and evenly contested tie that was level seven times the Finnsiders pulled away in the closing quarter with three points from Stephen O’Reilly, Brian Lafferty and Joe Dunnion.
The two-point winning margin in the end was no more than Brendan Dunleavy’s side deserved as they had been the most industrious throughout. And with county man Marty O’Reilly, in flying form they dictated the pace for most of the 60 plus minutes.
O’Reilly kicked seven of his teams five points - albeit five of them were from frees - and was the conductor that made the winners tick.
And he added three more in the second period including a sweetly struck 40-metre free to level the game for the seventh and final time, on 46 minutes.
Ardara manager Adrian Brennan, though in the losing corner at the finish, would have been happy enough with Saturday night’s outing. First and foremost they too had qualified for the quarter finals. But also because his weakened side short six first choice players had turned in a gutsy performance.
Paddy McGrath, Declan Gavigan and Martin Shovlin all missed the game through injury while Stephen McHugh was not fit to start,though he did come on for the closing quarter.
Kenneth Doherty and Kieran Breslin were away on holidays and if things were not bad enough wing back Paddy Gallagher was forced out to retire before halftime through injury.
Young Thomas Boyle scored 1-3, with three of his points scored in the first half,his last of the half insured the sides went in on level terms 0-6 each at half-time.
While his goal seven minutes into the new half propelled Ardara back in front, 1-6 to 0-7 while Brendan McNelis (2) Kevin Herron and Matthew Maher were others that did not let the side down either.
Sean MacCumhaills: Chris Patton; Gerard Grindle, John Lynch, Andrew McCloskey; Seamus McGinty, Joe Dunnion (0-1), Shane Duffy (0-1); Stephen O’Reilly (0-1), Pat McNulty; Darren McGowan, Brian Lafferty (0-1), Martin O’Reilly (0-7, 5f); Brendan McLaughlin (0-1), Darren O’ Leary (0-1), Rory Dunleavy. Subs: Eoghain Wright for S Duffy (58); Paddy Hannigan for S. McGinty (61).
Ardara: Declan Gallagher; Sean McLaughlin, Matthew Maher, Kevin Breslin; Kevin Herron (0-1), Conor Classon, Paddy Gallagher; Brendan McNelis (0-2,2 f),Jimmy O’Connell (0-1); Peter McHugh, Brendan Boyle, Kevin Byrne; Thomas Boyle (1-3, 1f), Peter McNelis, Gareth Concarr. Subs: Nicholas Breslin for P Gallagher (29 inj); Stephen McHugh (0-1,1f) for P. McHugh (47).
Referee: Andrew Mullin (Killybegs).