Defending Donegal League Premier Division champions Lifford Celtic beat their predecessors Glenea United on the seasons’ opening day.
Brian McCormick Sports Premier Division
Lifford Celtic 1
Glenea United 0
The only goal of the game came late in the second half. Paddy Sumner of Lifford Celtic got the important strike. This was a very entertaining game but Glenea failed to put the ball pass Lifford’s keeper Paul Given.
Best for Glenea United: Darren Mc Geever, Paddy Boyle and Liam Sweeney.
Cranford United 1
St. Catherines 1
Cranford United opened their first season back in the Premier Division with a home draw against St Catherine’s.
After a well contested game both sides were probably happy with a point to get their respective seasons off the mark.
Cranford had a couple of half chances in the first half when Kyle Black and Marty McBride went close and the lively Conor O’ Rourke was unlucky for the Killybegs men.
The second half was more of same with the game flowing from end to end.
On 70 minutes Conor O’Rourke finally broke the deadlock with a header from close range. Cranford responded well and Philip Buchanan crossed for Kyle Black to tap home at the back post to make it one each.
There were no real clear cut chances in the last 10 minutes as the game petered out. Conor O’ Rourke was best for the fishermen with Philip Buchanan and Arthur Lynch the pick of the home side.
Milford United 5 Kilmacrennan Celtic 3
Milford won this local derby with a good solid performance in a game that they dominated for long periods.
Milford scored from a corner after 15 minutes when Johnny Gallagher deflected the ball into his own net.
Darren McLaughlin then scored five minutes later from 18 yards. Before half time it was two one as Paul Shields deflected the ball in to his own net.
It took Milford one minute to score in the second half with PJ Hagan finishing well from a Ciaran Mc Ginley through ball.
Milford began to dominate scoring twice through Joey Cullen and Darren McLaughlin to lead by five goals to one. Kilmacrennan scored twice to start a mini revival.
The first a 25 yard cracker from Kevin McMenamin and then Michael McLaughlin scored from the penalty spot. Milford held out for a well deserved three points. Good team performance by Milford.
Donegal Town 3 Gweedore Celtic 3
Donegal Town got life in the Premier Division underway with a 3-3 draw against Gweedore Celtic.
Last season’s Division One winners went behind on twenty minutes when a Chris Porter free was deflected home of a Donegal defender.
Donegal then grew into the game and got a well deserved equaliser when Declan Brown scored.
Gweedore found themselves back in front right on half time when Eamonn McGee scored after some poor Donegal defending.
After the restart Donegal got right back in it as a perfectly slid through ball from Paul Gerard Duncan split the Gweedore defence and debutant Hugh Mc Partland dispatched a shot to the corner of the net.
Colin Ferry put the Gweedore men back in front with twenty minutes remaining.. Donegal attacked in numbers in search of an equaliser and forced several corners.
The equaliser came when Donegal’s talisman JP Byrne rose highest at the back post to head home a Ciaran O’Reilly corner.
Best for Donegal Town were Paul Gerard Duncan and Hugh Mc Partland. Solid team performance from Gweedore Celtic.
Curragh Athletic 1 Rathmullan Celtic 2
Played in glorious weather conditions on a perfect surface it was Curragh Athletic who made the early breakthrough with a fine goal.
Calvin Bradley found Dan O’ Brien who went past his marker and found John Mc Laughlin in space just inside the box and he made no mistake, drilling the ball home on nine minutes.
Rathmullan came more into the game and were rewarded for their efforts on twenty two minutes when Eamon Sheridan fired home a penalty after he was adjudged to have been fouled.
The away side then went in front on thirty nine minutes when a long throw-in seemed to evade everyone and ended up in the net.
Calvin Bradley and Eamon Sheridan then had good attempts on goal as the first half ended.
Curragh started the second half with John Mc Laughlin missing a golden opportunity on forty nine minutes after Calvin Bradley saw his shot go just wide.
McLaughlin then had another good opportunity however as the half wore on it become evident that those missed chances could cost Curragh dearly and so they did.
It got worse for Curragh on 70 minutes when Calvin Bradley saw red and although Curragh did try to come back Rathmullan saw out the match aided by the extra man. Rathmullan were best served by the Sheridan Brothers and Patrick Patton
while Curragh had Garth Gallagher and the hard working O’ Brien and Mc Laughlin always looking sharp.
Watson Hire Division One
Bonagee United 1 Cappry Rovers 2
Cappry Rovers made the short journey to Bonagee United and left with both the points.
Bonagee should have taken the lead on 10 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Kevin Doran was brought down in the box.
Unfortunately Oran Grant sent the spot kick over the bar. On 12 minutes Cappry’s Benny Mc Laughlin saw his shot from12 yards well saved by Carr in the home goal.
Bonagee took the lead on 20 minutes after good work down the left by Marcus Oliver.
He crossed to Lee Mc Monagle who hammered home from 10 yards. Carr in the home goal had two good saves from Alan Patton and Brian Lafferty on 30 and 35 minutes
Cappry levelled the game on the hour when Benny Mc Laughlin fired home from ten yards. Bonagee came close on seventy minutes when a cross from the right by Lee Mc Monagle found Carl Doogan and his header was pushed over the bar O’ Meara.
Cappry took the lead on 80 minutes. A Bonagee defender’s attempted clearance struck Alan Patton and ended up in the back of the Bonagee net.
Eany Celtic 0
Drumoghill F.C. 7
Drumoghill had an easy opening to the new League season against an understrength Eany Celtic.
They by three at half time with Liam O’ Donnell getting a hat-trick . O’ Donnell was on the mark again early in the second half.
Shea McDaid, Michael Lynch and Kevin Kelly completed the scoring for the men from The Moss.
Dunkineely Celtic 2 Castlefin Celtic 4
Castlefin will be very happy to have left Darney Park with all three points after coming from two goals behind to record a fine victory.
Dunkineely started very brightly and took the lead after only three minutes when a Peter Alvey cross was headed by Adrian Ward into the path of Cian Kennedy who scored from close range.
Castlefin kept playing their passing game and came close on seven minutes when a JP Malley shot was well saved by John Mc Mullin. Dunkineely doubled their lead on 22 minutes when a cross from Adrian Nesbitt was fumbled by the Castlefin keeper and Cian Kennedy was on hand to tap home.
Castlefin kept working hard and got a goal back on the half hour mark when a through ball from Ronan Tourish was lobbed over the keeper by JP Mailey. Castlefin started the second half at a high tempo and had a corner cleared off the line on 55 minutes.
They equalised on 67 minutes with a carbon copy of their first goal.
Ronan Tourish again the provider and Malley with the finish. Castlefin were now well on top and took the lead on 82 minutes when Malley completed his hat-trick when he connected well with a cross from the right. They completed the scoring on 87 minutes when Ronan Tourish broke through the middle to finish well from 10 yards. Best for Dunkineely were
Declan Murrin and Adrian Ward while Ronan Tourish and JP Malley were best for Castlefin. Before the game a minutes silence was observed in memory of Conor Boyle who passed away in England during the week. Conor was a grand nephew of Dunkineely Celtic Chairman Gerry Rodgers.
Lagan Harps 4
Kerrykeel ’71 F.C. 2
Lagan got their league season off to a good start with a win over a strong Kerrykeel side.
Kerrykeel took the lead on eight minutes when Mark Friel fired home after Tony Blake could only parry away Paddy Mc Grenaghan’s shot.
Lagan equalised on ten minutes when Drew Connolly crossed and Eunan Diver headed home. Lagan were then dealt a blow when Eunan Diver went off injured.
Lagan kept their composure and took the lead on 25 minutes when Ross Hamlyn’s cross was driven home by Bryan Kelly.
Kerrykeel pushed hard for an equaliser at the start of the second half but Lagan extended their lead on 55 minutes.
Shane Kelly sent over a cross and Jay Dee Olawiye finished superbly from the edge of the area.
Kerrykeel continued to dominate possession but some wasteful finishing and dogged defending by the Lagan back four kept them at bay.
Lagan got the decisive goal on 80 minutes when Drew Connolly pulled the ball back to James Gillen who hit a stunning shot in off the post. Kerrykeel kept up the pressure and grabbed a second in injury time when Mark Friel’s cross was driven home at the back post by Jonathan Friel.
For Lagan it was a great win after some poor results, with the young side showing great character. Best for Lagan were Ciaran Diver, Paul Rodgers and Jay Dee Olawiye. For Kerrykeel Mark Friel, Paddy Mc Grenaghan and Patrick Mc Conigley were best.
CT Ball Division Two
Deele Harps 0 Copany Rovers 0
Deele Harps and Copany Rovers, two teams who showed well during the Brian Mc Cormick Cup Group stages, played out a scoreless draw at the Athletic Grounds in Lifford on Sunday. Back in Sunday football after an absence of a few seasons, the home side were unable to breach the Copany defence. Copany will be hard to beat this season and an opening day point isn’t the worst of returns from a venue where many fancied teams have fallen through the years.
Ballybofey United 2 Letterbarrow Celtic 4
An Eoin Mc Hugh hat-trick secured all three points for Letterbarrow Celtic when they visited Ballybofey United on Sunday.
Letterbarrow took the lead through Mc Hugh before the home side equalised through Noel Quinn.
Two more from McHugh gave the visitors a healthy half time advantage.
Ballybofey United’s experienced John Gregg was unlucky to see his wayward clearance from thirty yards end up in his own net. Gregg then completed the scoring when he registered at the other end reducing the deficit to two.
Despite having numerous chances Ballybofey couldn’t get back into the game.
Dunlewy Celtic 3 Raphoe Town 1
On a wonderful day in Dunlewey it was the visitors Raphoe men who started the brightest.
They went in front when Ryan McCullagh broke through the home defence to knock past Cathal Gillespie in the Dunlewey goals.
The home side settled and came close through John Cannon but it took until the stroke of half time for the home side to get on level terms when Liam McMullen rose highest to head home a Christy Cannon cross.
Kieran Mc Geady gave the home side the lead shortly after coming on as a substitute.
The home side continued to pressure the visitors and got their third when Liam McMullen once again rose highest to head home a Daniel Cannon cross.
The Raphoe men never gave up and were unlucky not to get one back through Lee Smith but Cathal Gillespie saved well. Best for Dunlewey Kieran Mc Geady, Liam McMullen and Daniel Cannon.
Convoy Arsenal 1 Whitestrand United 2
Convoy started brightly, kept hold of possession well and created a few half chances in the first 50 minutes.
Whitestrand started to come into the game after this and forced a number of free kicks and corners.
The deadlock was broken in the 65th minute after a through ball sent Calvin Mc Gowan clear and he stroked it past Lee Boyd in the Convoy goal.
It took Whitestrand only four minutes to double their lead. It was a carbon copy move with Jerome Burke putting the finishing touch to it this time.
Convoy settled down again after this. Their determination reaped rewards in the 81st minute when Michael Melaugh curled in a goal from the edge of the box.
The Whitestrand keeper made a great save from Keelan Gillan near the end to help his team hold out for the win.