Letterkenny Gaels got their championship campaign up on running with a good win over St Mary’s, Convoy, in St Mary’s Park, yesterday.
Letterkenny Gaels 1-9
St Mary’s 0-9
In a competitive, closely contested tie, the winners laid the foundation for the win in the first half and led 1-5 to 0-3 at half-time after being much the better side in the opening 30 minutes.
Brendan O’ Brien at midfield, Darren Hunter at centre-back and Shane McGlade gave them the platform out around the middle of the field.
And with Conor McBrearty proving a good target man on the edge of the area and Mark Hunter and Paddy Doherty also showing well, the winners were no way flattered by their five point interval lead.
Hunter, Paddy Doherty, McBrearty (2) and Shane Graham posted the points for a 0-5 to 0-2 lead after 20 minutes. Laurence McMullan and Anthony Browne hit the St Mary’ss point in the opening eight minutes.
With the Gaels three up and dominating, McBrearty laid off to Paddy Doherty who rattled the roof of Conor Cairns’ net from ten metres.
That was on 28 minutes and propelled Sean McBrearty’s men into a 1-5 to 0-2 lead and no more than the visitors deserved. Minutes earlier Cairns had gone to the top shelf when he bravely dived on the boot of the marauding O’Brien, who was a towerhouse in midfield throughout. Brendan Bonner kicked a late point as the locals produced a late flurry.
St Mary’s did mount a challenge on the resumption with Raymond McNamee opening his shoulders in the middle of the field.
St Mary’s, thanks to points from Anthony Browne (2) and McMullin, outscored the Gaels by three points to one in the opening ten minutes of the second period to reduce the margin to three points, 1-6 to 0-6. Conor Browne scored the Gaels’ early point on the resumption.
St Mary’s had Cairns to thank when he pulled off a second save to deny Donal O’Malley at the expense of a ‘45’.
Hunter and Liam Doherty pointed for the Gaels and Anthony Browne with two frees responded for the locals to keep the door ajar before Sean McDonagh made the win safe two minutes from time.
Letterkenny Gaels: Shane Graham (0-1, ‘45’); Shane McGlade, Ray Quinn, Kevin Kilkenny; Ciaran Lynch, Darren Hunter, Conor Browne (0-1); Brendan O’Brien, Liam Doherty (0-1); Sean McDonagh (0-1), Donal O’Malley, Paddy Doherty (1-1); John Doran, Conor McBrearty (0-2,1f), Mark Hunter (0-2). Subs: Conor Coll for K Kilkenny16; Mikey Harte for P Doherty, 60.
St Mary’s: Conor Cairns; Ronan Donnellan, James Kee, Sean Browne; Emmett Patterson, Liam Prunty, Michael Patton; Raymond McNamee, Brendan Bonner (0-1); Emmett Kelly, Laurence McMullan (0-2), Michael Ayton; John A Mullan, Peter Blake, Anthony Browne (0-6,2f).
Referee: Tony Gallagher (Red Hugh’s)