Shane Conneely in action for St. Naul's against Red Hugh's. Photo Thomas Gallagher
St Naul's are celebrating once again following their five point win over Red Hugh’s in Killygordon on Saturday afternoon.
St. Naul’s 0-17
Red Hugh’s 0-12
The win in the last game of Division Three league means that St Naul's, who were already promoted, go up as champions.
They pipped Naomh Muire by a single point at the end of a highly competitive campaign.
Man of the match Peadar Mogan and team captain Stephen Griffin shared the top scoring spot on five points each.
Stuart Johnston, who had a fine game at wing back, posted 0-3 and Cathal Lowther, Shane Conneely and substitutes Barry Rose and Edward O'Kane chipped in with 0-1 in a game that the winners had far from all their own way.
Though short a number of regulars, Red Hugh's really put it up to the champions-in-waiting in the opening half hour.
The teams were level at 0-6 each at the end of the first half with Red Hugh’s playing as if they were the team going for league glory.
Damian Browne, who scored all but two of Red Hugh’s points from full forward, kicked all of the locals first half points.
Browne was a real threat on the the edge of the St Naul's square and gave young Conor Gavigan a tough opening half hour.
St Naul's were a little lethargic early on though they had a chance of an early goal before Browne kicked Red Hugh’s into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead inside ten minutes.
Peadar Mogan kicked St Naul's and the game's opener before Stephen Griffin, in a one in one with Luke Kelly, in the Red Hugh's goals, was denied at point blank by the ‘keeper.
With Mogan and Stuart Johnston awakening to the challenge, St Naul's did eventually begin to play with a little more purpose and directness.
And thanks to strikes from Cathal Lowther - who scored their second point on 17 minutes - Mogan, Griffin and Barry Rose, they had moved two ahead, 0-5 to 0-3, by the middle of the second quarter.
They went two up thanks to Johnston, who had a fine game at wing back, prodding and probing at every opportunity.
But the man of the first half Browne responded with late Red Hugh’s points to leave the teams all square at half-time 0-6 each.
Manager John McNulty must have had the paint stripper out at half-time in the St Naul's dressing rooms.
St Naul's began with more fire in their bellies and they reeled off four points without response to race into a four point lead, 0-10 to 0-6, in the opening five minutes of the second period, Griffin, Johnston (2) and Shane Conneely the St Naul's marksmen.
Browne got the locals off the mark nine minutes into the new half to pull it back to a three points game.
But with Mogan and Johnston dictating and Griffin - who had a quiet first half - coming more into the game, points from Mogan (3) and Griffin meant it was a double scores game, 0-14 to 0-7, by the three quarter mark.
With the winning post in sight, St Naul's lost their way for a spell in the final quarter and were outscored by four points to two by the locals, who left the stage with their heads held high.
But the day belonged to St Naul's and the perfect end as they added the Division Three league title to the Donegal and All-Ireland Junior Gaeltacht titles.
It will be a good Christmas in the Parish of Inver.
ST NAUL'S: Patrick Burke; Conor Gavigan, Enda Lynch, Caolan Gaffney; Stuart Johnston (0-3), John Rose, Martin Breslin; Barry Griffin, Lee McBrearty; Stephen Griffin (0-5,1f), Cathal Lowther (0-1), Daniel Friel; James Flynn, Shane Conneely (0-1), Peadar Mogan (0-5,2f). Subs: Barry Rose (0-1) for B Griffin 20; Edward O'Kane (0-1) for M Breslin 47 Gavin Mulreany for P Burke 55; Aidan Meehan for J Flynn 56.
RED HUGHS: Luke Kelly; Gary Kelly, Stephen McMenamin, Ryan Kelly; Tomas Doherty, Karol Gallen, Jason Callaghan; Pauric McMenamin, Peadar McGlinchey; Colm Melaugh, Damien Browne (0-10,8f), Odhran Doherty; Ricky Gallen (0-2), Shane Maguire, John Crane.
Subs; Shane McGlinchey for J Crane h/t; Ryan Dullaghan for S Maguire 46; John Crane for T Doherty, 59 black card.
REFEREE: Aidan McAleer (Naomh Padraig, Muff).