Kieran Sharkey, John Haran and Sean McVeigh scored the goals as St. Eunan’s went to the top of the Brian McCormick Sport’s Division One League table following Sunday’s victory over Naomh Conaill.
Naomh Conaill 1-6
St. Eunan’s 3-6
In a game that was sprinkled with patches of good football both sides were without their county men with Naomh Conaill the hardest hit.
The reigning champions were minus Anthony Thompson, Leo McLoone, Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy and Marty Boyle while Rory Kavanagh and Kevin Rafferty were the St. Eunan’s men that sat the game out.
Naomh Conaill also lined out without the injured Eoin Waide, John O’Malley and Dominic Bonner while Eunan’s were minus Ross Wherity, who is in Poland for Euro 2012.
The locals were further weakened with the loss of Thomas Donoghue to a red card for two yellow card offences – at the end of the first half - and Stephen Molloy, Leon Thompson and Johnny McLoone to injury.
But despite both sides’ shortcomings this was a lively encounter for three quarters of the tie at least. Sean McVeigh and Sean Hensey at midfield along with Eamon Doherty, Conor Parke, Darragh Mulgrew, Caolan Ward, Conall Dunne, Austin Marron, John Haran and Conor Gibbons all left their mark on an entertaining encounter for the winners.
Leon Thompson, until forced out of the game through injury, had Naomh Conaill pulses racing any time he won possession while Brendan McDyre, Johnny McLoone, Cathal Ellis and Seamus Corcoran all had their moments for the blue and whites.
Kieran Sharkey netted the winners’ first goal on 17 minutes when a long ball into the Naomh Conaill goalmouth was batted by full-forward John Haran into the path of the wing forward who smashed past Stephen McGrath.
That gave St. Eunan’s the lead 1-2 to 1-1 for the first time after Darragh Gallagher got the locals off to a dream start when he had John Paul Clarke’s net bulging on ten minutes.
Gibbons and Leon Thompson – who had fine games and kicked a number of top quality points – traded white flags and Austin Marron kicked St. Eunan’s second before Sharkey struck.
Gibbons and Brendan McDyre kicked further points and Donoghue got his marching orders for a tangle with Dunne before Haran pounced for goal number two to send Eunans’s in at half-time, 2-4 to 1-3 in front.
The former midfielder first timed to the net after a Conor Parke had forced McGrath into a good save and the ball broke to Haran, who made no mistake from five yards.
Naomh Conaill missed a great opportunity to get right back into the game when John Paul Clarke got down well to deny Darragh Gallagher from the penalty spot within a minute of the restart.
James Doherty, up in an attacking position, was pulled down for the spot kick.
While McDyre did reduce the margin shortly afterwards the game was as good as over when Eunan’s midfielder Sean McVeigh was on hand in a crowded goalmouth to flick goal number three for the visitors.
McVeigh’s fisted effort was waved by one of the umpires as having crossed the line and after consulting with the two umpires referee Jimmy White let the score stand.
Leading 3-4 to 1-4 and with the extra man Eunan’s were looking good though two rapid fire points from Thompson and McDyre did raise Naomh Conaill hopes temporarily.
But that was good as it got for the locals as they did not score in the closing quarter-hour and Gibbons could afford to fail to convert from the penalty spot. His attempt came after Haran was adjudged to have been fouled was well saved by McGrath.
With the points in the big Eunan’s who were guilty of some wayward shooting in the second period but brought the curtain down on the scoring with injury time points from Lee McMonagle and Dunne.
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Jason Campbell, Johnny Bonner, Stephen Molloy; James Doherty, Thomas Donoghue, Cathal Ellis; Martin Regan, Johnny McLoone; Brendan McDyre (0-3,1’45’), Seamus Corcoran (0-1), Darragh Gallagher (1-0); Aaron Thompson, A.J.Gallgher, Leon Thompson. Subs: Ciaran Brennan for S. Molloy, 26 inj.); Ciaran Thompson for M. Regan (39); Eunan Doherty for L. Thompson (49 inj); Seamus Ellis for A.J.Gallagher (51 inj); Hugh Gallagher for J. McLoone (52, inj).
St. Eunan’s: John Paul Clarke; Conor Parke, Micheal Martin, Peter Devine; Darragh Mulgrew, Eamon Doherty, Caolan Ward; Sean Hensey, Sean McVeigh (1-0); Kieran Sharkey (1-0), Conall Dunne (0-1), Lee McMonagle (0-1); Austin Marron(0-1), John Haran (1-0), Conor Gibbons (0-3,1f).
Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs).