ON an afternoon of needs and wants, it was Gaoth Dobhair who gained a stay of execution in the All-County League Division One after Tomás Diver’s goal defeated champions St Eunan’s.
St Eunan’s 0-8
Gaoth Dobhair 1-7
Diver struck the decisive score 14 minutes into the second half when he scampered into space following a daring break from centre-back by Donal McBride. Diver drove under John Paul Clarke for the only goal of the game and having been in an uncompromising position, 0-7 to 0-4, as the second half took shape, the visitors had manufactured a lead that they would not relinquish.
With visibility virtually non-existent due to a lingering fog and the temperature dipping in below freezing, it was always going to be a battle of attrition. St Eunan’s were presented with the Democrat Cup after the match, completing the double after their Raidió na Gaeltachta SFC earlier this month.
James Carroll fired over two early Gaoth Dobhair with the yellow football scores to give the team joint-managed by Alan Boyd, Martin Boyle and Tom Beag Gillespie an early foothold. Although it took St Eunan’s a little while to get going, they were level by the 16th minute thanks to points from their centre-field pairing of Ross Wherity and Kevin Rafferty. Diver and Rafferty then scored points for their sides to make it 0-3 apiece before Lee McMonagle edged the hosts in front at the break, 0-4 to 0-3 in front.
St Eunan’s looked to be making some headway as the second half got underway and after another Carroll free, Conor Gibbons scored three points on the spin, two of which came from frees, to put them 0-7 to 0-4 up.
However, with news filtering through that only a win would keep Gaoth Dobhair alive as Glenswilly had won their match against Dungloe, the away side clicked into gear. Diver scored 1-2 in the space of seven minutes, with the points coming either side of his goal and Gaoth Dobhair’s pulse was still strong. They survived a late scare when Wherity squared but Christopher Sweeney managed to get in the way of a deflection and Carroll’s fourth of the day made the win safe, despite Sean McVeigh’s injury time score.
St Eunan’s: John Paul Clarke; Eddie Brennan, Michéal Martin, Adrian McClafferty; Peter Devine, Eamon Doherty, Caolan Ward; Ross Wherity (0-1), Kevin Rafferty (0-2); Lee McMonagle (0-1), Conall Dunne, Ciaran Greene; Conor Gibbons (0-3, 2f), John Haran, Sean McVeigh (0-1). Subs: Paul Greaney for Brennan (50) Donncha Gallagher for McMonagle (54), Patrick McGowan for Greene (58).
Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; Danny Curran, Neil McGee, Ciaran Ferry; Prionsas Gallagher, Donal McBride, Anthony Blair; Kevin Cassidy, Eamon McGee; James Carroll (0-4, 4f), Odhran MacNiallais, Padraig McGarvey; Sean McGarvey, James Gallagher, Tomás Diver (1-3, 1f). Subs: Micheál Roarty for P McGarvey (47), Manus Weed for Gallagher (50), Joe Duffy for Blair (60).
Referee: Ian Molloy (Naomh Conaill).
It was easy in the fog for Glenswilly against a Dungloe team that were thinking of the bigger battle ahead. The visitors started without Adrian Sweeney and Adrian Hanlon was kept in reserve until almost half-time.
Michael Murphy was listed as a substitute for Glenswilly but was never troubled to change from his runners into boots, as Glenswilly led by 2-6 to 0-4 at half-time, a margin that didn’t flatter them.
Neil Gallagher and Ciaran Bonner dictated the terms of the game with big Neil creating the first goal for Brian Farrelly after just three minutes and Oisin Crawford fisting home the second from a Gallagher ‘pass’, although Big Neil may have been going for a point. In between Oisin Crawford should have have had a second goal; Ciaran Bonner added three points and Neil Gallagher converted a ‘45’
At the other end Cory Gallagher, David McCarron, Conor Greene and Adrian Hanlon (free) had Dungloe scorers.
The second half saw the fog get more dense, but the fare on the pitch was still pedestrian. A goal from Eoin Redmond after a good run from Hanlon on 38 minutes threatened to make a contest of it but Glenswilly replied with three points in a row from the impressive Oisin Crawford and Gary McFadden and Ciaran Bonner frees to stretch the margin to 2-11 to 1-5.
From there to the finish it was a matter of playing out time and referee Connie Doherty will rarely have an easier afternoon.
There are bigger games ahead with Glenswilly meeting Gaoth Dobhair, while Dungloe will put the heads down to get ready for a Rosses Park showdown with the winners of that game, probably on Saturday, 8th December.
Glenswilly: Ciaran Molloy; Brian McDaid, Eamonn Ward, Ryan Hunter; Joe Gibbons, James Pat McDaid, Ruairi Crawford; Neil Gallagher (0-2,1’45’), Gary McFadden (0-1,f); Leon Kelly, Ciaran Bonner (0-6,2f), Darren McGinley; Kealan McFadden (0-2), Brian Farrelly (1-0), Oisin Crawford (1-2). Subs., Caolan Kelly for L Kelly 37; Gerard McGrenra for Farrelly 47; Colm Farrell for K McFadden 51; Liam Molloy for D McGinley 57.
Dungloe: Ciaran Sharkey; Doalty Boyle, Jamie Sweeney, Jack Scally; Gerard Walsh, Gavin Ward, Darren Curran; Shaun Sharkey, Paul McGarvey; Owen Scally, Noel McBride (0-2), David McCarron (0-1); Owen Redmond (1-0), Conor Greene (0-3,1f), Cory Gallagher. Subs., Adrian Hanlon (0-2,1f) for C Gallagher 24; Mark Clerkin for Sweeney ht; Mark Forker for Curran 43; Alan Rodgers for Sharkey 46; Christopher McGlynn for Redmond 57.
Referee: C Doherty (N Conaill)