Termon have had a habit in recent seasons of producing championship surprises, but few predicted a win for them at the Burn Road on Saturday night.
Gaoth Dobhair 0-9
They’d been well beaten by Naomh Conaill in their first game, managing a return of only 1-2 in a heavy defeat.
But against their old rivals, Gaoth Dobhair, they dug deep and recorded an impressive victory to give themselves a real chance of qualification to the quarter-finals.
It was a close game throughout. The sides were level at half time, 0-6 to 0-6, although Gaoth Dobhair were at times wasteful in front of goal in that opening half.
After the turn-around, it was a similar story. The visitors had four goals opportunities, but they failed to take any, and they were left to rue their lack of ruthlessness when Aiden Sweeney found the net in the 57thminute to put Termon four points up.
Francie Friel’s men were not going to relinquish their lead and they lost Johnny McCafferty and Daire McDaid to red cards late on, but still held on for a deserved victory.
Gaoth Dobhair have been riding high in the league this year, but they lined out without Eamon McGee on Saturday night.
In contrast, Termon have been struggling of late, but they were able to welcome Michael Boyle and Ricky Gallagher back into their side, while county minor Enda McCormick was also available for only the second time this season.
Daire McDaid and Gavin McBride swapped frees, before Johnny McCafferty put Termon in front in the ninth minute.
Noel Kelly and Daire McDaid (free) were both on target for their respective teams, before Gaoth Dobhair created a goal chance in 15th minute with a fine team move but McBride mis-hit his shot from in front of goal.
There were some fine points taken by both teams in the first half at the end of which Termon scored two late points from McCormick and Daire McDaid, to level the game at the break.
The opening exchanges of the second half were tense, and the close nature of the game continued.
Steve McElwaine and Daire McDaid kicked points for Termon, while Kelly and Daire Ó Baoill were on target for Conal Sheridan’s team.
Gaoth Dobhair almost raised a green flag in the 43rd minute, but Cian Mulligan’s shot was cleared off the line by Kevin McDaid.
Brothers Daire and Caolan McDaid pushed Termon back in front with points from play, but Gaoth Dobhair were dangerous down the other end and Michael Boyle made fine stops from McBride and Kevin Cassidy.
McBride did register a free, but Friel’s men took control of the game when they hit the net in the 57th minute when Sweeney bundled the ball home.
McCafferty was shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Mulligan, but the ball still wouldn’t go into the net for Daire O Baoill, with Boyle denying Gaoth Dobhair again.
Daire McDaid landed the insurance point in injury-time, although he would later be dismissed for two bookings.
Termon finish their group with a home match against Four Masters next week while Gaoth Dobhair must get the better of Naomh Conaill or face early elimination from the competition yet again.
Termon: Michael Boyle; Nathan McElwaine, Kevin McDaid, Kevin McElwaine; Steve McElwaine (0-1), Shane Callaghan, James McSharry; Brendan Friel, Aiden Sweeney (1-0); Ricky Gallagher, Johnny McCafferty (0-1), Enda McCormick (0-2, 1f); Caolan McDaid (0-1), Paddy McDaid, Daire McDaid (0-6, 3fs).
Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; Michael McKelvey, Neil McGee, Jamie Reynolds; Niall Friel, Kieran Gillespie, Cian Mulligan; Peter McGee, Odhran MacNiallais (0-3); Naoise Ó Baoill, Noel Kelly (0-2), Michael Carroll; Eoin Ward (0-1), Gavin McBride (0-2,2fs), Kevin Cassidy. Subs: Daire Ó Baoill (0-1) for Ward (29 mins), Ciaran Ó Fearraigh for McKelvey (36 mins).
Referee: Robbie O’Donnell (Naomh Muire).