Both St Catherine’s FC and Milford United, in the end, went home from Emerald Park happy with their evening’s work .
St Catherine’s 1
Milford United 1
Brian Dorrian’s side had been crowned champions of the Brian McCormick Sports Premier Division eight nights’ beforehand.
In front of a bumper crowd in Killybegs, captain Jason Noctor lifted the trophy afterwards to rubber-stamp St Catherine’s triumph.
It was their third top flight title in the Donegal League -a first since 2006.
With eight minutes remaining against Milford, Shane O’Rourke finished off a centre from Barry Rose after Noctor had flicked a clearance from goalkeeper Michael Mullan out to the right wing.
O’Rourke’s run was perfectly timed, laying in wait in the second rung of the St Catherine’s attack, to shoot past Coalan McGettigan.
It seemed that goal would be enough for the three points to stay in the south-west but two minutes into injury time, Mark Flood shot home a leveller that was greeted with celebrations from those associated with the Moyle View Park club.
The point keeps their head just about the dotted line of the relegation play-off.
But no more than O’Rourke’s goal was deserved, so too was the equaliser. The preceding corner, with goalkeeper McGettigan making himself useful in the opposition penalty area, saw Ciaran Blaney hit the crossbar and then Flood strike the post from the rebound.
It made for a cinematic conclusion. And yet in the opening exchanges it seemed as though there would be no need for the late dramatics as St Catherine’s squandered chance after chance.
Shane Molloy, the man whose goal against Dunkineely Celtic sealed St Catherine’s last title in 2006, went close on three occasions.
He was denied by McGettigan as early as the second minute. Then, Brendan McGuire missed a guilt-edged opportunity from close range, when he steered over the crossbar. Chances came and chances went but the trophy isn’t going anywhere for quite a while.
St Catherine’s: Michael Mullan; Evan Broaderick, Christopher Murrin, Daniel Breslin, Ryan Farrelly; Brendan McGuire (Conor O’Rourke 80), Shane Molloy (Christopher Cunningham 66), Shane O’Rourke, David Conwell (Ryan McCloskey 80); Jason Noctor, Barry Rose.
Milford United: Caolan McGettigan; Paul Shields, Johnny Logue, Mark Flood, Ciaran Gibbons; Lee Burke (Ciaran Blaney 81), Paul Nash, Damien Casey, Joey Cullen; Cathal McGettigan, Peter Doherty (Ciaran McGinley 75).
Referee: Joe McHugh