Naomh Conaill dig deep to survive against St. Michael's

ALLSPORTSTORE.COM ALLCOUNTY LEAGUE DIVISION ONE

Naomh Conaill dig deep to survive against St. Michael's
Tom Comack sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

Naomh Conaill moved into third place in the All County Football League Division One following their one point victory over St Michael’s in Davy Brennan Memorial Park, on Saturday evening.

Naomh Conaill . . . . . 1-15

St Michael’s . . . . . . . . 1-14

In a highly entertaining encounter, Naomh Conaill had to call on all their craft and experience as they came from behind in the final quarter. St. Michael’s were the better side for up to three quarters of the tie.

The two teams were without their county players while Leon Thompson was absent from the Naomh Conaill lineout and St Michael’s were without Peter Witherow.

St Michael’s played with 13 men in defence at times in the first half and sat back and invited Naomh Conaill to attack and then broke at pace, any time the locals coughed up possession.

And it worked well as St Michael’s led 1-8 to 0-8 at half-time thanks to Kealan McGee’s 13th minute goal and points from Michael Langan - the standout player on the park in the first half - Daniel McLaughlin and McGee.

Langan controlled the airways over Davy Brennan Park as he made a number of high fetches followed by penetrating runs.

In all he kicked five of his eight points tally in the opening 30 minutes and also had a hand in St Michael’s other three first half points as well as carrying the ball from deep to carve the opening for McGee’s goal.

Daniel McLaughlin, who asked questions of the Naomh Conaill rearguard throughout, and McGee (2) were the other St Michael’s first half point scorers.

Jamie McHugh (2), Brendan McDyer (2), Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy (3), John O’Malley posted the first half points for Naomh Conaill who were a little sluggish and pedestrian at times.

They really struggled to make any headway against St Michael’s packed rearguard.

However, it could have been different at the break if a Brick Molloy rocket that came back off the underside of the crossbar in the middle of the half had ended up in the net.

Michael and Daniel Langan kicked two early points on the resumption in response to one from Aaron Thompson to open up a 1-10 to 0-9 lead for the visitors.

Dermot Molloy and Kealan McGee traded white flags before the locals began their comeback.

And following points from Mark Gallagher, Seamus Corcoran, Brendan McDyer and Ethan O’Donnell, Naomh Conaill had drawn level 0-14 to 1-11 by the three quarter mark.

Andrew Kelly drove wide from five metres with only Stephen McGrath to beat before Langan landed a super point to restore a one point lead for Eddie Harkin’s men.

But a goal from the quick thinking John O’Malley, ten minutes from the end, turned the game on its head. And from being four down minutes earlier, all of a sudden Naomh Conaill were in front, 1-14 to 1-12 with the clock ticking.

O’Malley drove a quickly taken free from 20 metres to the St Michael’s net after he had been fouled as he cut in from the right wing.

Langan and Brick Molloy traded late points and Daniel McLaughlin capped a fine performance in added time with his third white flag of the night.

Ethan O’Donnell was shown a black card in the dying seconds.

Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Kevin McGettigan, Cathal Ellis, Stephen Molloy; Marty Boyle, Aaron Thompson (0-1), Eunan Doherty; Seamus Corcoran (0-1), Ethan O’Donnell (0-1); Jamie McHugh (0-2), Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy (0-5,2f), Mark Gallagher (0-1); Brendan McDyer (0-3), A J Gallagher, John O’Malley (1-1). Subs: Charles McGuinness for M Gallagher 39; Logan Quinn for A J Gallagher 52.

St Michael’s: Dean McColgan; James Henry Alcorn, Stephen Doak, Michael Gallagher; Chris McElhinney, Michael McGinley, Michael Cannon; Michael Langan (0-8,4f, 1’45’), Ciaran Gallagher; Ryan Langan, Daniel McLaughlin (0-3), Oisin Langan; Brian McLaughlin, Andrew Kelly, Kealan McGee (1-3). Subs: Brendan Rodden for J H Alcorn 45 ; Stephen Coyle for O Langan 48; Raymond McLaughlin for R Langan 54; Paul Creamer for B Rodden 58,inj.

Referee: Shane Toolan (Aodh Ruadh).