“LET’s take it down the trough” was Ryan McHugh’s last words as Kilcar triumphed for the second time in three years in the Donegal Minor championship at MacCumhaill Park yesterday.
St. Eunan’s 2-4
The final result does not flatter Kilcar as they were the better side throughout, but struggled at times to convert their possession into scores. However, they had Eoin McHugh on top of his game, hitting six points in a memorable display.
The big turning point came with Kilcar’s second goal with 11 minutes left. At that stage, St. Eunan’s were within a point, but when Chris Doogan fired home from close range, Kilcar found the confidence to tag on points at will and win easily in the final ten minutes.
They had the most of the possession in the opening ten minutes but could not find the target, hitting three wides before David Tyrell, from a free, opened the scoring for St. Eunan’s on nine minutes.
A minute later Eoin McHugh kick-started Kilcar with a left footed point and then three minutes later Aaron Doherty finished to the net from three yards after Conor Doherty had cut through only to be denied by St. Eunan’s ‘keeper Aidan Mitchell.
Eoin McHugh then landed two points inside a minute from 45m to extend the lead to five points. David Tyrell added another free while Ryan McHugh made the break for Matthew McClean to point on 21 minutes.
St. Eunan’s had their best period of the game in the final ten minutes of the opening half and a point from Conor O’Donnell was followed on the stroke of half-time by a goal from Kevin Meehan. Meehan was put through by Michael Miller and his effort went under Kilcar ‘keeper Kevin Boyle, but hit the butt of the upright, but Meehan was following up and tapped home from very close range.
Half-time: Kilcar 1-4, St. Eunan’s 1-3.
Eoin McHugh continued the trend, pointing inside two minutes of the restart and he then began a move deep in his own defence, which ended Matthew McClean firing over to put Kilcar three clear.
But it was all tied up on 36 minutes when Michael Miller found space in behind the Kilcar full-back line to fire home.
Kilcar responded with Eoin McHugh involved in creating a great goal chance for Michael Cunningham but Mitchell made a great save before McHugh put Kilcar in front again on 39 minutes.
Ryan McHugh added a free while Dan O’Donnell, just on the field, reduced the margin to the minimum on 46 minutes.
Then came the second Kilcar goal, Christopher Doogan getting free close to goal and he fired with his left across Mitchell to the corner of the net. Doogan almost had a carbon copy goal a minute later but pulled his shot wide.
But Kilcar were on their way with Eoin McHugh firing his sixth point on 56 minutes and Cormac Cannon and Matthew McClean added to their total before the end.
Near the end St. Eunan’s were reduced to 14 when David Tyrell was shown a second yellow card.
Apart from the almost perfect display from Eoin McHugh, there were great performances all over the field for Kilcar, from Martin Byrne, Cormac Cannon, Ryan McHugh, Aodhan McGinley and Conor Doherty. Stephen McBrearty, even though clearly not fully fit, also played his part.
For St. Eunan’s Conor O’Donnell, Oisin Carr, David Tyrell all played well, but for most of the game, they were in defensive mode.
St. Eunan’s: Aidan Mitchell; Brian Hannigan, Conor Parke, Conor Morrison; Darragh McMonagle, Conor O’Donnell (0-1), David Tyrell (0-2,2f); Jordan McBride, Oisin Carr; Conor McCloskey, Darragh Mulgrew, Barry McGeehin; Michael Roache, Kevin Meehan (1-0), Michael Miller (1-1). Subs., Conal O’Boyle for McMonagle 20; John Gibbons for McCloskey 28; Dan O’Donnell (0-1,f) for Roache 40; Conor McEniff for Roache 43; Daniel Gillespie for Meehan 58.
Kilcar: Kevin Boyle; Christopher Cunningham, Martin Byrne, James Shovlin; Cormac Cannon (0-1), Ryan McHugh (0-1,f), Andrew McClean; Aodhan McGinley, Eoin McHugh (0-6); Christopher Doogan (1-0), Matthew McClean (0-3), Conor Doherty; Michael Cunningham, Aaron Doherty (1-0), Stephen McBrearty. Sub., Neil Sweeney for Cunningham 48.
Referee: Kieran McShea (MacCumhaills.
Man of the match
Rarely has the task been easier. Eoin McHugh was a class apart in this game, hitting six points, three in each half, all from play. He was also involved in many of the other scores, including the vital second goal.
The second goal, expertly taken by Christopher Doogan, was the big turning point. It killed off any chance St. Eunan’s had in the game. They were just a point behind at that stage and still in with a chance.
Kieran McShea had a very good game, always up with play and he was helped by two teams who were intent on playing the game.
FOOTNOTE: One sour note from the game was the fact that there was no programme available, not even a public address to give the supporters the team lineouts. It is a black mark on the Minor Board. The minor championship was always regarded as one of the most important competitions, but it’s status was reduced by the arrangements at the final.