there are days when things just won’t go your way and it seems to happen more when you need it most.
Gaoth Dobhair 2-4
It has been a disastrous start to the league for Killybegs and it didn’t get any better on Saturday evening in Fintra.
The home side were outplayed in the opening half but were unlucky to be six points adrift at the break (2-2 to 0-2) but they dominated the second half and had strong claims for a penalty in the last minute which would have snatched victory.
Barry Cannon seemed to be impeded and from our vantage point on the sideline in the fading light, it looked a foul. However, Connie Doherty was much closer and waved away the strong appeals, much to the relief of Gaoth Dobhair, who were without Eamonn McGee (hamstring) and Odhran MacNiallais (chest infection).
The opening half was a strange affair with Gaoth Dobhair ending up ahead by two goals - both scored by James Carroll. Both also had an element of fortune about them.
The first came after 19 minutes, a speculative effort that confused the Killybegs defence and ‘keeper and it bounced and ended up in the net. The goal put Gaoth Dobhair 1-1 to 0-1 ahead with Padraig McGarvey (free) and Daniel Breslin getting the opening two points.
Four minutes later Gaoth Dobhair had their second goal with Carroll clinically despatching a penalty after Ronan MacNiallais was fouled. However, Killybegs’ supporters claimed that there had been a foul pass seconds before MacNiallais was put through. And they had a case!
Before the end of the half Daniel Breslin had Killybegs’ second point while Ronan MacNiallais fisted the final point of the half.
Killybegs’ manager, Martin ‘Slua’ Boyle left the dressing room early for the second half allowing his side to have a discussion among themselves and whatever was said worked.
Brendan Maguire had a point after 38 seconds and by the 49th minute the margin was reduced to the minimum with Benny Boyle, Matthew Smyth (2) and Daniel Breslin all finding the range.
Indeed, the second of Smyth’s points was a really good effort for goal. He fielded a Benny Boyle effort that was drifting wide before powering through only to see his effort spectacularly deflected over the crossbar by Christopher Sweeney.
Gaoth Dobhair needed inspiration and it came in the form of Kevin Cassidy, who hit a delightful point with the outside of his foot from a 35m sideline.
Anthony O’Hara came forward from goal to match that effort but Cassidy struck again on 53 minutes to put two between them again.
And that margin remained although Killybegs kept pressing to the end and really deserved to get something from the game.
Daniel Breslin, Matthew Smyth, Christopher Murrin, David Conwell and Benny Boyle worked really hard for Killybegs with Smyth putting in a powerful display at midfield.
Kevin Cassidy may have been quiet for a good part of the game, but his contribution at a vital stage was the reason the points went to Maghergallon. Ciaran Ferry was outstanding alongside Neil McGee; Dan McBride and James Carroll also played their part.
Killybegs: Anthony O’Hara (0-1,f); Daniel O’Donnell, Kevin Fallon, Ciaran Conaghan; Bernard Byrne, Barry Cannon, Daniel Breslin (0-3, 1f); Matthew Smyth (0-2), Christopher Murrin; David Conwell, Mark Boyle, Pauric Conaghan; Jason Noctor, Benny Boyle (0-1,f), Brendan Maguire (0-1). Subs., Pauric Gallagher for P Conaghan; Ronan Boyle for B Byrne, both 26; Conal Molloy for M Boyle 40; Kevin Martin for Molloy 54.
Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; Sean McGarvey, Neil McGee, Ciaran Ferry; Anthony Blair, Dan McBride, Proinsias Gallagher; Joe Duffy, Kevin Cassidy (0-2); James Gallagher, Ronan MacNiallais (0-1), James Carroll (2-0,1-0 pen); Padraig McGarvey (0-1,f), Sean Doherty, Owen Ward. Subs., Peter McGee for Doherty 51; Michael McKelvey for MacNiallais 59.
Referee: Connie Doherty (N Conaill)
Brian McCormick Sports Division 1
P W D L F A Diff Pts
St Michael’s 5 5 0 0 79 38 41 10
St Eunan’s 5 4 0 1 81 48 33 8
Kilcar 5 3 1 1 61 57 4 7
Malin 6 3 0 3 66 88 -22 6
Naomh Conaill 5 2 1 2 52 48 4 5
Gaoth Dobhair 6 2 1 3 74 76 -2 5
Four Masters 4 2 1 1 36 48 -12 5
Ardara 5 1 0 4 47 67 -20 2
Killybegs 7 0 0 7 50 76 -26 0