There were big wins for Lifford Celtic, the reigning Premier Division champions and also Milford Utd in the Donegal League.
Lifford won a dramatic game away to Gweedor Celtic 3-2 while Milford edged past Donegal Town 2-1
Brian Mc Cormick Sports Premier Division
Gweedore Celtic 2
Lifford Celtic 3
Lifford kept their title hopes alive with this narrow victory at An Screaban. The game got off to a whirlwind start with two goals in the first four minutes. The home team were first off the mark on thirty seconds with good build up play involving Chris Porter, Colin Ferry and Jamie Boyle ending with Tommy Diver firing home.
Three minutes later Lifford had drawn level. With the home team appealing for offside Alan Gethins ran on to shoot past the keeper. Gweedore went ahead on forty minutes when a Chris Porter free-kick came off the crossbar and was tapped home by Jamie Boyle. The home side should have been two ahead 20 minutes into the second half when Colin Ferry broke through but his chip over the keeper drifted wide of the post.
Gweedore were made to pay a minute later as Alan Gethins again found the net.
Lifford then took the lead on 70 minutes with a fine individual goal by David Gethins. Try as they might Gweedore were unable to break down the visitor’s defence. Best for Gweedore: Tommy Diver and David McGee. Good team effort by Lifford. Referee: Joe McHugh
Kilmacrennan Celtic 1
Curragh Athletic 2
In a match reversed to Killygordon it was Curragh who came out on top in this crucial game. Curragh took the lead after a long ball into the box landed to Shane Barclay who made no mistake.
Kilmacrennan then equalised through a good finish from Eddie Doherty. In the second half it was all Kilmacrennan but after they spurned chance after chance Curragh scored a late winner to secure the 3 points. Bernard Lafferty got the important finish at the back post after a slick move down the right wing involving a number of players.
Referee: Kevin Logue
Milford United 2
Donegal Town 1
Milford held out to a late Donegal surge to claim the three points. Milford bossed the first half and went two up after twenty minutes. Mark flood fired home a Gary Merritt corner and five minutes later Merritt himself scored a twenty yard free kick. Milford should have scored more before half time but didn’t find the net.
Milford started strongly for the second half but Donegal fought hard. With five minutes to go Donegal scored and then pressed hard but the home side held firm for a good victory.
Best for Milford were Ciaran Mc Ginley, Joey Cullen and Paddy Peoples.
Rathmullan Celtic 3
Cranford United 3
These two sides were desperate for points at different ends of the Premier Division table and that showed throughout a committed and spirited 90 minutes. Some fine goals were scored as Cranford consistently fought back against their title-chasing hosts. Both sides will be left contemplating what might have been in a game that could easily have gone either way as they were ultimately forced to settle for a point each.
Rathmullan got off to the best possible start when Dara Patton turned a shot from Aaron Mc Clafferty into the bottom corner inside the first two minutes of the game. The home side struck again when Kieran Gorman rose highest to head Ryan Connolly’s corner into the bottom corner. Just when it looked as if Rathmullan would exert control on the game, Cranford immediately hit back.
Seamie Friel’s trickery down the right wing saw him get free and his low cross was superbly volleyed home from 12-yards by the impressive Kyle Black. Rathmullan striker Eamonn Sheridan showed all his experience before the break to restore the home side’s two goal cushion. The veteran forward rolled a challenge from Arthur Lynch and cut in from the left wing to calmly fire low into the corner and make it 3-1 to the home side at half time.
Cranford showed the sort of spirit and resolve in the second half that will help them secure their Premier Division status as they took the game to Rathmullan. The home side were forced to defend for long spells but looked to be holding strong until Black again provided the inspiration. A free kick was awarded 25-yards from goal and the forward superbly bent his shot past Ian Strain to give Cranford real hope with 25 minutes left. Arthur Lynch then planted a trademark header into the Rathmullan net from a corner to level the game up. It was just reward for the determined visitors.
To their credit, Rathmullan responded with their strongest spell of the game as they desperately sought a priceless winner. Cranford however held out for a deserved share of the spoils.
Best for Rathmullan on the day were Aaron Mc Clafferty and Dara Patton whilst Kyle Black and Seamy Friel were a constant threat for Cranford. Referee: Ronan Floyd
Glenea United 0
St Catherines played host to Glenea in a hard fought game in Emerald Park. Both teams set out their stall early with very little being given away through possession or chances on goal. Midfield saw all the action in the first half with Glenea’s Denis Boyle and Kevin Mulhern battling it out with The Saints’ Shane O’ Rourke and Shane Molloy. This game was on tender hooks throughout and chances were far and few between, every threat was being snuffed out.
Half time saw the scoreline reading honours even at nil - nil.
The second half was much the same as the first with little being given away but as time ticked on both teams started to feel the pace of the game. Ryan Mc Fadden came close with a free kick for Glenea on seventy minutes and Barry Cannon had a chance for the Saints on seventy five. The only goal came on eighty minutes when veteran striker Stephen Gildea, who came on as a sub, found the Glenea net with his half volley proving unstoppable. Glenea pushed hard for the equaliser in the last ten minutes but it was the home side that claimed all three points. Team performance both teams.
Referee: Paddy Duffy
Watson Hire Division One
Cappry Rovers 5
Dunkineely Celtic 1
Cappry went away from Darney Park with three well deserved points after a convincing performance. They served notice of their intentions as early as the first minute when they forced the home keeper into a fine save from a headed effort. Cappry’s early dominance was rewarded in the fifteenth minute when Darren O’Leary rose to power home a corner.
Dunkineely were finding it difficult to make any impression on a well organised Cappry defence and were restricted to long range efforts on goal. Cappry doubled their lead on 35 minutes when a defensive error left Brendan McLaughlin in for an easy finish. They continued to press forward and effectively sealed the win on 42 minutes when Mark Griffin shot home from 12 yards.
Dunkineely came more into the game in the second half and created a number of good chances and forced Cappry into some last ditch defending. With Dunkineely pushing more men forward they were open to the counter attack and Cappry took advantage in the 65 minute when a quick break on the left created the opening for Brian Lafferty to fire home from the edge of the box.
Dunkineely got on the score sheet on 70 minutes when Christian McNelis curled home a fine effort from 20 yards. Any thoughts of a comeback were wiped out on 85 minutes when another quick break saw Cappry get their fifth when Kyle Lafferty finished from close range following a Brendan Mc Laughlin cross. Referee: Paddy Martin
Gweedore United 3
Keadue Rovers 0
This game played in glorious conditions in Carrickboyle saw the home side claim a vital three points in this local derby. United started the game the stronger and went one up after four minutes. This goal came following good football between Paul Duggan and Michael Connolly before Ciaran Mc Fadden neatly finished past the outrushing Ben Boyle in the Keadue net to make it 1-0. The home side dominated possession creating a number of decent chances in the opening half hour.
They doubled their advantage on thirty three minutes when a Shane O’ Donnell free kick was parried by Boyle in the Keadue net and Lee Ferry was on hand to finish well to make it 2-0. Keadue had a number of half chances before half time, through Ryan Green and Chris Mc Glynn, however it remained 2-0 until the interval. In the second half the home side again dominated possession and got their third goal in the 59th minute when Ciaran Mc Fadden again finished well. United could have extended their lead on a number of occasions however Boyle in the Keadue net was excellent with a number of good saves.
Ryan Green had a chance in the 87th minute but he pulled it wide of the United net. It was a good team performance from Keadue with Paul Duggan, Eoin Doohan and Jonathan Harkin excelling for United on the day.
Referee: Marty Quinn.
CT Ball Division Two
Ballybofey United 1
Whitestrand United 4
Whitestrand left Ballybofey with their credentials as Division Two title challengers well intact. They led by three goals to nil at the interval and scored another in the second half to return a scoreline of four nil at the finish. Michael Sweeney set them on their way in the opening stages and the same man got the second before Eddie Blake got in on the scoring act to complete a positive first half display against a somewhat weakened however competitive Ballybofey United side.
David White pulled a goal back for the hosts when his well struck free-kick beat the visiting custodian. James Gallagher then added his name to the scorer’s list as he notched the game’s final goal. Paul Lynch will be happy with this display from his side as the season enter it’s final third.
Convoy Arsenal 6
Letterbarrow Celtic 1
The game started at a frantic pace with both sides pushing for the opener. Convoy started to get a foothold in the game after about 15 minutes and created a number of chances before finally breaking the deadlock in the 22nd minute when Mickey Melaugh finished off a quick counter attack. On the half hour mark Ryan Carlin doubled the lead after some great work from Darren Harvey down the wing.
Convoy kept the pressure on and got a third in the 37th minute when John Kee headed home from a corner. Convoy made the perfect start to the second half when Mickey Melaugh scored his second when he won the ball himself in the middle of the pitch, broke through a couple of tackles and knocked the ball past the keeper.
This seemed to spur Letterbarrow into a bit of life and they dug deep to try and get back into the game. Their hard work paid off in the 50th minute when they were awarded a penalty which Barry Jordan stroked home. The game flowed back and forward for the next half an hour with Convoy happy to pick Letterbarrow off on the counter attack. In the 80th minute great chasing from Ryan Carlin won the ball before Keelan Gillen rounded the keeper and unselfishly laid the ball to Mickey Melaugh who completed his hat-trick.
Convoy pushed again and put the icing on the cake in the 91st minute when Keelan Gillen finished well after he was put through by Ryan Carlin. Best for Convoy was James Kee with a team effort from Letterbarrow.
Referee: Martin Mc Anneny
Copany Rovers 4
Glenree United 1
Copany entertained Glenree United at Killowen Park. The home side got off to a great start when they took the lead in the 2nd minute when Glenn Harron scrambled the ball home from a corner. That lead doubled in the 17th minute when Callum Gallagher put Pauric Rooney through with a great pass and Rooney found the net.
Rooney scored his second in the 26th minute to make it three-nil following a cross from the left by David Graham. Rooney completed his hat -trick in the 60th minute with a fine chip over the keeper. John Doherty pulled one back for Glenree in the 89th minute. Good team performances from both sides. Best for Copany: Pauric Rooney and Glenn Harron.
Drumbar United 4
Dunlewy Celtic 0
Drumbar controlled this match from start to finish and must wonder how they didn’t finish with more goals. There were perfect conditions in Drumbar for this match and the home side created chance after chance. Alan Cavanagh opened the scoring on 30 minutes after a scramble in the box. After this Drumbar opened up the play and played some great football.
Ray Balogun came on to score the 2nd and Enda Brogan did well to connect with the third. He should have added a second for himself but missed a great chance with a header on an open goal soon afterwards.
Darragh Doogan finished off a fine performance with a run from right back and a cool finish past the Dunlewy keeper. Best for Drumbar were Alan Cavanagh and Gavin Bennett. Team performance from Dunlewey.
SATurday Division One
St. Catherines Res 1
Fintown Harps 2
Saints played host to neighbours Fintown Harps on a mild Winters day. The game started off with both teams creating half chances but none could test either keeper. Twenty minutes in and Saints’ striker Gary Cunningham found the net when he pounced on a rebound off the keeper to pass the ball into the Fintown net. The Saints pressed hard for the second goal but couldn’t convert numerous chances created. On 35 five Aaron Thompson latched onto a through ball to slip it under The Saints’ keeper to level the score. The last ten minutes of the first half saw both teams battle hard but with very few chances created.
The second half started as the first ended with both teams cancelling each other’s attacks out, very little was given away by either side. Chances were scarce in this half and it wasn’t until 90 minutes that the winner came. Shan Mc Millan latched onto a corner to head home from six yards to give the visitors all three points. Team performances both teams.
Referee: Barry Hunter