Second half burst sees Downings into Junior final


Second half burst sees Downings into Junior final
Eamonn McFadden @dgldemocrat

A spirited second half from Downings saw them reach the Junior A county final after coming from behind at half-time to overcome Letterkenny Gaels in Dunfanaghy.

Letterkenny Gaels . . . . . . . . . 1-8

Downings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-6

Downings got off to a great start and were the quicker to settle when Lorcan Connor pointed from play after four minutes.

Just three minutes later Connor worked his way toward goal and hit the back of the net to leave it 1-1 to no score.

It took the Gaels 12 minutes to get on the scoreboard but Conor Browne stuck it between the posts in a move that began by teaming up with Mikey Harte.

Conor McBrearty pointed a free won by Brendan O’Brien before Cormac Cannon tipped over a fine point from play to leave just a point in it after 16 minutes.

Letterkenny Gaels then enjoyed a period of strong possession but a series of wides meant they did not capitalise on their pressure until Harte equalised for them in the 23rd minute. McBrearty then fired Gaels ahead for the first time in the 24th minute.

Downings answered with a Connor point three minutes later but as the half came to a close Letterkenny looked to be in the ascendency and scores from McBrearty and Shane McGlade saw them end the half two up at 0-7 to 1-2.

Downings were in need of strong restart and Lorcan Connor pointed within the first couple of minutes. Both sides traded wides before Connor hit two quickfire scores within a minute. The first came from a free and the second involved a great passage of passing to point from play to put them into the lead 1-5 to 0-8 in the 42nd minute.

Ciaran Lynch came off the bench to equalise for Gaels as the game entered the final ten minutes.

Then Downings got a major breakthrough when a long ball was gathered by Kevin Doherty who supplied the oncoming James Lee McBride who rattled the net in fine style to put his side in the driving seat.

Lorcan Connor again added to his tally from play in the 56th minute and they could sense a place in this year’s final.

Gaels, however, had other plans and in the 57th minute Conor McBrearty supplied substitute Sean McDonagh, who skilfully found the net to put them a point behind and right back in the game.

As the game moved into injury time Gaels had the possession to claw back that much needed point to level the tie but three chances went abegging with one falling short into the keeper's hands and two others going wide meant Downings had done just enough to march on into this year's Junior A final.

Downings had Colin Gallagher red carded deep in added time.

LETTERKENNY GAELS: Shane Graham, Ciaran Cannon, Ray Quinn, Kevin Kilkenny, Nicky McGarrigle, Darren Hunter, Conor Browne(0-1), Brendan O’Brien, Liam Doherty, Shane McGlade (0-1), Mikey Harte (0-1), Paddy Doherty, Cormac Cannon (0-1), Conor McBrearty (0-3,2f), Mark Hunter. Subs: Ciaran Lynch (0-1) for P Doherty 45min, Sean McDonagh (1-0) for L Doherty 46min

DOWNINGS: Patrick McGroddy, Max Davis, Shay Coyle, Kevin McGee, Colin Gallagher, Kevin Doherty, Ben McNulty, Shaun McBride, Shane Boyce, Alan Boyce, James Lee McBride (1-0), Ben McBride, Oisin Boyce, Lorcan Connor (1-6,1f), Sean McClafferty. Subs: Seamus Gallagher for B McNulty 39, Finnian McBride for M Davis 50.

REFEREE: Martin Coll (Gaoth Dobhair)