St. Eunan's - Donegal champions through to quarter-finals in Ulster
Donegal minor champions had a magnificent victory in the Ulster Minor Club competition at Shaw’s Road, Belfast, defeating Burren of Down.
St. Eunan’s 1-7
Burren were the reigning Ulster minor club champions, having defeated Kilrea last year, and they had half of that winning team available.
But St. Eunan’s, despite being short county players Conor O’Donnell and Michael McGroary, put up a great second half display to get the result and advance to the quarter-final of the competition.
They will meet the 2015 Ulster U-16 Paul McGirr winners, Clann Eireann of Armagh on Sunday next, back at the St. Paul’s ground at Shaw’s Road. St. Eunan’s were the winners of the Paul McGirr in 2016.
It took a magnificent second half performance from the Letterkenny boys to get over the line against Burren, having trailed 0-5 to 0-3 at the break.
The big turning points in the game were two penalties, one to each side. Burren had their opportunity in the opening half but Ronan McGeehin made a magnificent stop, getting down low to his left to make the save.
With ten minutes left and St. Eunan’s a point in front, Aaron Deeney was fouled to give Niall Hannigan the chance to put his side in a commanding position and he made no mistake.
“It was a really tough game with the pitch cutting up,” said St. Eunan’s joint manager, Paul McGovern.
“While we were a couple of points down at half-time, we were very calm. We knew that we would have an uphill battle but the boys put in a great second half display. It was nip and tuck but the penalty gave us the breathing space needed,” said McGovern.
“It has been very difficult to prepare the team. We hadn’t a game for 11 weeks and all our efforts to have a challenge game fell by the wayside. We were due to play Errigal Ciaran last weekend but the pitch was frozen.
“The boys were playing college football, but we didn’t know what to expect collectively. But they did very well in the second half, coming out and bossing the game,” said McGovern, who praised some of the players who came into the side because of injuries.
“Anthony Gallagher came in at corner-back and had a stormer today. James Kelly was unlucky not to start the county final but he was magnificent, not giving the up and coming Down star, Liam Kerr, a sniff. Peter McEniff also covered every blade of grass,” said McGovern.
“We are just delighted with the result, even though it only gets us into the quarter-final, but we will look forward to another big game next Sunday against Clann Eirann.
ST. EUNAN’S: Ronan McGeehin; Jerome Atuahene, Ciaran McCloskey, Anthony Gallagher; Ryan Hilferty, James Kelly, Peter McEniff; Paddy McColgan (0-1), Aaron Deeney; Louis Hasson (0-1), Niall Hannigan (1-3,1-0pen,1f), Éoin McGeehin (0-1); Cormac Finn, Matthew McGovern (0-1), Oisin Purdy. Subs., Sean Breen for Finn 45; Sean Ryan for McGovern 57; Oisin McGarvey for O McGeehin 60.