Frantic finish sees St. Naul's secure draw with Naomh Columba


Frantic finish sees St. Naul's secure draw with Naomh Columba
Peter Campbell

Despite losing Cathal Lowther to a second yellow early in the second half, St. Naul's came from seven points down to secure a replay against Naomh Columba in Dunkineely.

Naomh Columba1-15

St. Naul's 3-9

At the finish, Stephen Griffin had the chance to steal it but his free from 40m was wide of the target. As it was, St. Naul's will be happy enough with the result, while Naomh Columba will wonder how they threw away a big lead on two occasions.


In one of the amazing openings ever witnessed, St. Naul's had points on 8, 27 and 65 seconds to lead 0-3 to no score. John Rose got the first two, and both could have been goals, while Shane Conneely had the third.

It rocked Naomh Columba, but they eventually got going with points from Philip Doherty and rampaging Michael Maguire.

From there to half-time, St. Naul's relied heavily on Stephen Griffin frees, as Naomh Columba began to punch holes. Two Ryan Gillespie frees had them level at 0-4 each and Pauric Ward and Ryan McNern pushed them ahead.

Ryan Gillespie was almost in for a goal while Stephen Griffin punished two fouls on Des McGroarty and Shane Conneely to level matters four minutes from the break.

But Naomh Columba finished the half strongly. Kevin McNern powered through to fire to the net on 29 minutes and in added time Ryan Gillespie and Declan McGuire added points to leave them ahead 1-8 to 0-6 at the break.

Ryan Gillespie increased the lead to seven with two points in juste over a minute - almost a replace of St. Naul's at the start of the game.

Stephen Griffin hit a free, but St. Naul's Cathal Lowther to a second yellow card before Gillespie made the gap seven again, 1-11 to 0-7.

But St. Naul's made light of the reduced number. John Rose became a real threat raiding and by the 45th minute the margin was down to two, two Griffin frees and a Rose first time effort across the goal was turned in to the net off a Naomh Columba defender.

Ryan Gillespie hit a free but with ten minutes left, Rose again came forward and crossed for Gavin Mulreany to punch the equaliser.

Naomh Columba rallied with three points from Martin Cunningham, Pauric Ward and Declan McGuire to lead by three with three minutes left, but on the stroke of time Danny McDyre had St. Naul's third goal to secure the draw. Naomh Columba were thankful that Griffin missed a free a minute later, which would really have added to their woes.

A good contest in difficult conditions with a couple of heavy showers. But both sides will be happy to go again, probably on Wednesday night under lights.

NAOMH COLUMBA: Pauric O'Donnell; Barry Carr, Kieran McBrearty, Philip Doherty (0-1); Pauric Ward (0-2), Michael Maguire (0-1), Stephen Jones; Declan McGuire (0-2), Paddy Byrne; Ryan McNern (0-1), Martin Cunningham (0-1), Pauric Cunningham; Kevin McNern (1-0), Ryan Gillespie (0-7,4f), Pauric O'Neill. Subs., Gavin McGinley for R McNern 43.

ST. NAUL'S: Patrick Burke; Conor McBrearty, Brendan McCole, Conor McDevitt; John Rose (1-0), Aidan Kennedy, Edward Kane; Lee McBrearty, Stephen Griffin (0-6,5f); Barry Rose (0-2), Cathal Lowther, Des McGroarty; Brian McCabe, Shane Conneely (0-1), Gavin Mulreany (1-0). Subs., Danny McDyre (1-0) and Mark Ward for D McGroarty and A Kennedy, both ht; Glenn McDyre for McCabe 43; Martin Breslin for Kane 48; Andrew Gallagher for Conneely 58.

REFEREE: Connie Doherty (N Conaill)