Gary McFadden under pressure in Gaoth Dobhair Photo Geraldine Diver
The champions Glenswilly suffered what could well be a costly defeat when they lost out to Gaoth Dobhair in Magheragallon on Sunday evening.
Gaoth Dobhair . . . 1-7
Glenswilly . . . 0-5
Cian Mulligan’s goal on 21 minutes was the big moment in a match that offered very little in the way of incident or entertainment.
What was surprising was the lacklustre performance of the visitors who just couldn’t click into gear.
This defeat now means they travel to Kilcar next weekend where another defeat could see them crash out of the championship.
In contrast, Gaoth Dobhair have given their championship hopes a timely boost. Despite being without a string of key players, their game-plan worked a treat and they thoroughly deserved the win.
With Kilcar safely into the quarter-finals after their win over Ardara earlier in the day, Glenswilly came into this game knowing that a win would also secure their place in the last eight.
Gaoth Dobhair, for their part, couldn’t afford to lose and they started brightly with James Carroll, Daire O’Baoill and Odhran McFadden Ferry looking lively early on.
They were guilty of a couple of poor wides in the early stages and that allowed Glenswilly to stay in touch on the scoreboard - a well taken score from Caolan Kelly on 15 minutes levelling the scores at 0-2 apiece.
With both sides going very defensive when not in possession, it wasn’t the greatest spectacle in the first half. However, the game was lit up by a wonderful goal from the home side on 21 minutes. Gaoth Dobhair won possession inside their own half and quickly went on the offensive with Daire O’Baoill and Noel Kelly combining to set up Cian Mulligan and he produced a clinical finish to beat Philip O’Donnell.
That goal put Gaoth Dobhair three points to the good and they followed it up with two scores from James Carroll, one a fine effort from play from 40 metres.
The wides for the home side continued to mount however, and by the end of the half their total of wides was eight.
Glenswilly also managed a late point of their own and despite being well below par in that first 30 minutes, the visitors only trailed by four at the break, 1-4 to 0-3.
But despite moving Michael Murphy into a more attacking role after half time, Glenswilly just couldn’t get their game together.
They managed only two points in the second half, off the boot of Murphy and substitute Caoimhin Marley. But they lost both Caolan Kelly and Gary McFadden to black cards in a hugely frustrating second half as Gaoth Dobhair eased in the end to a five point win.
James Carroll top-scored for the winners with five points, four from frees.
They were also well served by the excellent Daire O’Baoill and Kieran Gillespie.
The win throws Group C wide open going into next weekend’s final round of games.
GAOTH DOBHAIR: Christopher Sweeney; Gary McFadden, Neil McGee, Christopher McFadden; Danny Curran, Kieran Gillespie, Jamie Reynolds; Eamon McGee, Odhran McFadden Ferry; Cian Mulligan (1-0), James Carroll (0-5,4f), Daire O’Baoill (0-1); Eamonn Collum (0-1), Noel Kelly, Niall Friel. Sub: Peter McGee for C McFadden (47).
GLENSWILLY: Philip O’Donnell; Ryan Diver, Eamonn Ward, Paddy McFadden; Oisin Crawford, Aidan McDevitt, Joe Gibbons; Michael Murphy (0-1), Caolan Kelly (0-1); Gary McFadden (0-2,1f), Cathal Gallagher, Brian Farrelly; Ciaran Bonner, Leon Kelly, Kealan McFadden. Subs: Caoimhin Marley (0-1) for C Kelly (b/card 47), Ciaran Gibbons for K McFadden (54), Connor Boyce for G McFadden (b/card 59)
REFEREE: Jimmy White (Killybegs).