O'Grady goals help St. Eunan's to victory over Setanta

Donegal Senior Hurling Championship

O'Grady goals help St. Eunan's to victory over Setanta

St. Eunan’s defeated Setanta in an exciting Donegal Senior Hurling Championship encounter in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny on Wednesday evening.

St. Eunan’s 3-13

Setanta 1-15

It was an impressive victory for St. Eunan’s who trailed by six points at half time, 0-7 to 1-10.

They produced an excellent comeback in the second half, scoring three goals and winning n the end by four points.

The visitors opened the scoring through early points from Kevin Campbell and Danny Cullen, with Sean McVeigh levelling matters on 6 minutes.

Setanta moved ahead again with three quick scores from Damian Brown (2) and Brendan Tourish. McVeigh replied with two frees, but another Campbell free opened a two point gap. The lead was extended in the 13th minute with a superb Shane Gallen goal. Cullen won a breaking ball in midfield, played the ball to Brown, who in turn breached the home defence and fed Gallen to finish from close range.

Both sets of backs tightened up for a period, with Mark Callaghan especially prominent in the away defence, and there was no more scoring until Martin Bonner struck a long point for Setanta on 20 minutes.

Colm Flood and Colm Breathnach immediately closed the gap with well worked strikes, but Setanta’s dominance was rewarded with three late points from Campbell (2) and Cullen, leaving six points between the sides at half-time, 0-7 to 1-10.

The Letterkenny men needed a good start to the second half and they got this when McVeigh broke through to strike high to the net two minutes after the resumption. St. Eunan’s piled on the pressure and moved into the lead with three Breathnach frees and a point from Kevin Kealy on 38 minutes.

Setanta levelled with a Campbell free and went ahead again with a fine long range Cullen point. St. Eunan’s continued their strong second period showing however, with Steven Doherty very influential from centre back. In a decisive two minute spell midway through the half the home team struck two goals, giving them a lead they never relinquished. On 44 minutes Darragh McCarthy burst through the Setanta half back line and passed to McVeigh. He rounded the last defender and flicked the ball to Conor O’Grady, who finished to an empty net.

Shortly afterwards, O’Grady won a long delivery 40 metres from goal, ran through and struck a brilliant goal to the top corner. Kealy and Gallen then exchanged points. In the final ten minutes Breathnach pointed a free followed by a Campbell reply.

Setanta went in search of a late goal to get back in contention, but the home defence held firm, only allowing a late Campbell point from close range to leave four points between the sides at the finish.

The league stage of the senior hurling championship has now concluded. The semi-finals will take place on the weekend of August 26th to 28th, with St. Eunan’s facing current champions Burt and Setanta taking on leading qualifiers Mac Cumhaills.

St. Eunan’s: James Connors; Ciaran Kelly, Conor McVeigh, Caoimhin Lennon; Brian McIntyre, Conor O’Grady (2-0), Aaron O’Connell; Colm Flood (0-1), Steven Doherty; Sean Halvey (0-1), Sean McVeigh (1-4, 0-3 frees), Darragh McCarthy; Kevin Kealy (0-2), Colm Breathnach (0-5, 0-4 frees), Gearoid Leahy. Subs: Cian Durack, Conor Kelly, John McIntyre, Eoin Scanlon, Eunan O’Donnell, Sean McBride, Noel Gorman, Paddy Flood.

Setanta: Patrick McGovern; Denim Rowan, Simon Lafferty, Mark Callaghan; Martin Bonner (0-1), Justin McBride, Brendan Tourish (0-1); Danny Cullen (0-3), Richie Kee; Kevin Campbell (0-7, 0-4 frees), Shane Gallen (1-1), Shaun Anderson; Dean McDevitt, Damian Brown (0-2), Colm Melaugh. Subs: Shane Flynn, Noel Ewing, John Crane, Alan McConnell, Josh McCrea, Kieran O’Neill.

Referee: Aidan McAleer.