The Boys of Killybegs proved too strong for Dungloe and their bandwagon keeps rolling to the quarter-finals of the championship.
“After last year against St. Eunan’s; they absolutely destroyed them; their confidence was shot,” said Killybegs manager Martin ‘Slua’ Boyle.
The boss was trying to explain how his side had confounded the critics, losing all their league games but still are in the last eight of the senior championship, winning two and drawing their group games.
“We would take Kilcar in the quarter-final and play it here in Fintra,” quipped Martin.
On Saturday evening in Fintra, they could afford to lose to Dungloe by two points and still go through. When Dungloe hit three points in the opening four minutes (against the wind) it looked ominous.
But after that the local side dug deep. With Shane Molloy employed in a sweeper role in front of the full-back line, the jigsaw started to come together and for the remainder of the half, they completely dominated Dungloe and by half-time had built up a 0-9 to 0-5 lead.
They kept Dungloe scoreless from the 12th to 30th minute and they had six different first half scorers.
Three more different scorers were to step up to the plate in the second half as Dungloe just couldn’t get a foothold.
Any real chance Dungloe had of turning the deficit into the win they required were all but gone when Adrian Sweeney was shown a straight red card on 38 minutes after an off-the-ball clash with Jason Noctor.
Dungloe had a whirlwind start with Gerard Walsh splitting the Killybegs posts after 17 seconds and Mark Clerkin set up Adrian Sweeney for a second with only 90 seconds on the clock.
When Adrian Hanlon won a free for Sweeney to ponit on four minutes, Dungloe were in the driving seat in the Group.
Killybegs were all at sea, but Brendan Maguire, very lively on the ‘40’, eased them into the contest on eight minutes, pointing and Brendan Boyle won and pointed a free two minutes later.
Dungloe went two clear on 12 minutes when Mark Clerkin pointed from a 35m free after Jack Scally was fouled.
That, however, was to be their last score until the final minute and they hardly had an attack of note in that time.
Two mistakes in the Dungloe defence gifted Killybegs two quick points half-way thorugh the half, Brendan Boyle and Conal Molloy accepting the gifts to level matters.
Brendan Boyle put them into a lead they would never relinquish with a magnificent point from near the sideline on 17 minutes. Conal Molloy added a free and they should have had a goal on 20 minutes ahen a high ball over the top found Brendan Boyle but instead of taking possession, he tried to flick to the net but there was no power in the contact.
Jason Noctor turned the ball over in front of his own goal and then got on the end of the move to add the seventh point and Christopher Murrin and Brendan Maguire (with his left) stretched the lead out to 0-9 to 0-4 by the 29th minute.
Adrian Sweeney had a point from a free for Dungloe but just before Kieran McShea blew for half-time Daniel Breslin struck (after missing two good chances earlier) to leave Killybegs in control, 0-10 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
Dungloe needed inspiration and they got a reasonable start to the second half with Adrian Sweeney pointing a free and Mark Sweeney hitting a wonderful effort from distance. With the ball sailing high over the Killybegs bar, the attention of the referee was drawn to Jason Noctor on the ground in front of the Killybegs goal and when Kieran McShea consulted with linesman Paddy McKeever, a straight red was shown to Adrian Sweeney.
Immediately Killybegs sent in the experienced Mark Boyle to play the free man role and it was that man, Brendan Maguire who struck for their first point of the second half.
David McCarron hit back with a good Dungloe point on 42 minutes but young John Ban Gallagher hit an equally good reply.
Adrian Hanlon, who spent much of the game on the periphery, pointed a free, but Killybegs kept their noses well in front when John Ban and Pauric Gallagher set up Hughie McFadden to point.
Brendan Maguire stretched the lead to five and Louis McNern had out to six with five minutes left.
Jason Noctor took the ball off the line after his ‘keeper had fumbled a high ball, and the only other score Dungloe could manage came with the last kick of the game when Conor Greene powered a shot towards goal but Michael Mullen did very well to get a hand to it and deflect it over.
As it turned out, the point was a decisive one in determining the final outcome of the group. Had it been saved Killybegs would have topped the group, but they have lost out on scores for.
They finished level on points with Gaoth Dobhair (who got a last minute goal in Magheragallon) and also level on scoring average (+6).
As they drew their game with Gaoth Dobhair, the head to head didn’t divide them but the Gaeltachta side have scored more and consequently top the group.
But overall, it has been a fantastic championship for the Fishermen and their season has been turned on its head as a result.
Killybegs: Michael Mullen; Daniel O’Donnell, Jason Noctor (0-1), Ronan Boyle; David Conwell, Christopher Murrin (0-1), John Ban Gallagher (0-1); Enda Murphy, Hugh McFadden (0-1); Shane Molloy, Brendan Maguire (0-4), Daniel Breslin (0-1); Brendan Boyle (0-3,1f), Conal Molloy (0-2,1f), Charles Tully. Subs., Pauric Gallagher for Tully 38; Mark Boyle for Murphy 41; Louis McNern (0-1) for O’Donnell 54; David Conaghan for Maguire 58.
Dungloe: Ciaran Sharkey; Doalty Boyle, Paul McGarvey, Jack Scally; Martin Redmond, Shaun Sharkey, Mark Sweeney (0-1); Raymond Sweeney, Noel McBride; Gerard Walsh (0-1), Adrian Hanlon (0-1,f), Conor Greene (0-1); Adrian Sweeney (0-4,3f), Mark Clerkin (0-1,f), David McCarron (0-1). Subs., Jamsie Boyle for Clerkin 48; Darren Curran for McGarvey 53; Basil Malone for Hanlon 54.
Referee: Kieran McShea (MacCumhaill’s)