A scintillating scoring surge in the third quarter pushed an energetic and impressive St Naul’s side to victory over Fanad Gaels on Saturday evening.
St Naul’s . . . . . . . . . . . 2-12
Fanad Gaels . . . . . . . . 0-10
In full flight, this youthful St Naul’s side are very easy on the eye, but they had to withstand a choppy first half when they struggled to contain the wily Seamie Coshia, who was leisurely dictating affairs from the '40'.
But the decision to concentrate the speedy and very youthful Brendan McCole to do a man to man marking job on the vastly experienced Friel was another major factor in the home side getting through.
A brilliantly worked goal involving the excellent Barry Rose, Shane Conneely and top scoring Stephen Griffin ended with a simple tap in for the impressive Daniel Brennan in the 13th minute.
Brennan struck confidently for a point 15 seconds later as the home side had a somewhat fortunate 1-4 to 0-6 half-time lead.
Fanad came back strongly in the second quarter with Coshia hitting some delightful defence splitting passed and Nanny pretty accurate from frees.
St Naul’s marksman Stephen Griffin and Fanad’s Oisin Shields and John Friel swapped points in the run-up to half-time.
But the home side were out of the traps like electric hares as they quickly stretched their half-time lead.
Griffin, Brennan and the excellent John Rose extended their lead to 1-10 to 0-6 ten minutes into the second half.
Fanad had a great chance of narrowing the gap but Co minor 'keeper Gavin Mulreaney pulled off a superb save from Johnny Friel in the 43rd minute.
The towering Lee McBrearty and Stephen Griffin were beginning to assert themselves in the middle of the field as the home side carved out a number of good chances.
And with Seamie Coshia being well contained by Brendan McCole, a somewhat weakened Fanad’s options up front were severely curtailed.
The skillful Seamie Nanny Friel continued to pose a sporadic threat, but his side were dealt a heavy blow when referee Connie Doherty lined their centre-back Ryan McGonigle for a second yellow card in the 52nd minute.
Mark Friel was also yellow carded in the same incident as an increasingly rampant St Naul’s scented victory.
John Rose drove them forward from wing back and this match was effectively settled in the 50th minute when Cathal Lowther’s goalbound shot was blocked by a Fanad foot, deep inside their defence.
Querying Fanad players surrounded Connie Doherty, but he was not for turning.
And ice cool Stephen Griffin slid the penalty cooly to the corner of the net. Griffin’s calm clinical finish put the home side ahead by 2-11 to 0-7.
The remainder of proceedings had the feeling of inevitability.
To their credit, the outnumbered and outgunned Fanad did not surrender and Seamie Nanny Friel and Mark Sweeney were on target for the losers.
The ever accurate Griffin added another point for the winners who cantered home impressively.
This was a well- worked victory for a youthful and zippy St Naul’s for whom wing back John Rose was particularly outstanding.
They also have some serious physique in all the right places and look to be good contenders to make a real impression in this competition, whenever the county season permits it to end.
St Naul’s: Gavin Mulreaney, Aidan Kennedy, Conor McBrearty, Caolan Gaffney; Glen McDyre, Brendan McCole, John Rose (0-2); Lee McBrearty, Stephen Griffin (1-7, pen, 7f); Des McGroarty (0-1), Cathal Lowther, Barry Rose (0-1), Brian McCabe, Daniel Brennan (1-1), Shane Conneely. Subs: Jamie White for Brian McCabe h-time, Martin Breslin for Caolan Gaffney 55, Andrew Gallagher for Shane Conneely 59, Davy McDyre for Glen McDyer 60.
Fanad Gaels: Brendan Friel, Ciaran Coll, Patrick Heraghty, Conor McGonigle; Frankie Sweeney (0-1), Ryan McGonigle (0-1), Paul Coyle; Fergal Friel, Michael Sweeney (0-1, Niall Carr, Seamus Coshia Friel, Oisin Shiels (0-1); Mark Friel, Johnny Friel (0-1), Seamus Nanny Friel (0-5,5f).
Referee: Connie Doherty (N Conaill)
Cathal McGettigan scored 1-8 as Milford sauntered past Carndonagh at Moyle View Park on Saturday evening.
Milford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-15
Carndonagh . . . . . . . . . 0-3
It was a day to forget for the Inishowen men, as they could only travel with 19 players due to a variety of reasons, and couldn’t field in the reserve match.
There were 24 league spots in the All County League between the teams before throw-in, and a gulf in class was evident.
Playing against a strong enough breeze in the first half, Milford got some lovely scores when they moved the ball quick, including a nice goal from Christopher Barrett after a great team move.
Cathal McGettigan got the second goal from the penalty spot after a Joey Cullen goal chance was picked off the ground in the small square. This left the home side with a commanding half time lead of 2-8 to 0-2.
Milford took their foot off the gas somewhat in the second half, and their manager Danny O’Donnell was not impressed with his side’s tally of 18 wides.
However, he will be pleased with the victory and it leaves Milford in a very comfortable position in Group A.
Milford: Caolan Mc Gettigan; TJ Evesson (0-1), Barry McNulty, Conor McNulty; Gary Merritt (0-2), Paddy Peoples, Jonny Logue; Sean Black, Joey Cullen; Darragh Black (0-1), Luke Barrett (0-1), Christopher Barrett (1-2); Cathal McGettigan (1-8, 1 pen, 5fs), Pauric Curley, Kyle Black.
Carndonagh: Dermot Doherty; Michael Nelson, Ryan Davenport, Nathan McLarkey; Tiarnan Coyne, Padraig Doherty (0-1), James Monagle; Dermot McGonagle, Ryan Kelly; Feargal Doherty, Gerard Doherty (0-2,2fs), Paddy Nelson; Ben Lafferty, Paddy McLaughlin, JJ Doherty. Sub: Kieran Canny.