Shane Molloy of Killybegs collects a pass during Saturday's Senior Championship play-off win over Glenfin. Photo: Geraldine Diver.
Killybegs will play in the Donegal Senior Championship again next year after they came out on top in their relegation play-off with Glenfin on Saturday.
They had ten points to spare at the finish to ensure the club’s 37 years in the senior championship is preserved.
Killybegs were much the better side and delivered a much improved performance from that which they produced in last week’s 2-8 to 1-11 draw.
It was as if Hugh McFadden and Eoghan Ban Gallagher were both allowed off their leash this time around on the wide open spaces of O’Donnell Park, in Letterkenny.
And boy did the two county men perform. McFadden turned in a man of the match performance in the middle of the park.
He was his team’s top scorer with 1-4, all from play, while Eoghan Ban kicked two wonderful points and also set McFadden up for the second goal.
Evan Broderick also added to his growing reputation with a goal and two points, all scored in a glorious five minute spell just before half-time.
Killybegs got off to a promising start and had three points on the board in the opening nine minutes. Hugh McFadden, John Ban Gallagher and Christopher Murrin raised the early white flags.
The power and pace of Hugh McFadden and Eoghan Ban Gallagher were driving the machine forward at every opportunity.
And but for over-elaboration a number of times, and good defending from the Glenfin last line of Martin O’Donnell, Gary Herron and Gary Dorrian, Killybegs would have had more than six points on the board before Michael McGlynn kicked Glenfin’s only point of the half, on 24 minutes.
Eoghan Ban Gallagher fisted one of the Killybegs points and Christopher Murrin screwed over after David McGuinness’s initial effort came back off Liam O’Meara’s crossbar.
That was on 21 minutes and opened up a 0-6 to 0-0 scoreline.
McGlynn did well under pressure to get Glenfin off the mark from just inside 40 metres.
But McFadden, lord and master around midfield, had extended their lead out to seven 0-8 to 0-1, before Broderick struck for the goal.
The corner forward first timed to the net after Liam O’Meara made a good save from point blank to deny McFadden.
But O’Meara could only parry and the ball fell to Broderick who rifled to the net.
And Killybegs took a giant step towards retaining their status as they finished the half with a flourish with two Broderick points to go in 1-10 to 0-1 in front at half-time.
Paddy O’Connor skimmed Antoine O’Hara’s crossbar in the opening seconds of the second period for Glenfin’s second score.
But with McFadden and Eoghan Ban resuming where they left off before the interval, Killybegs were soon back in the groove.
And Murrin and Eoghan Ban kicked points before Conor McBride, from a close in free, landed Glenfin’s third.
That was on 41 minutes and Killybegs had extended their lead to 1-12 to 0-3 by this stage and had the look of winners about them.
McFadden landed his fourth point before being sent free by Eoghan Ban for goal number two and a 2-13 to 0-4 lead with a little over ten minutes remaining. Job done.
In fairness to Glenfin they battled to the finish and as Killybegs wound down the clock, Glenfin added respectability late on with a Michael McGlynn goal and points from Conor McBride and Paddy O’Connor.
KILLYBEGS: Antoine O’Hara; Christopher Cunningham, Owen Gallagher, Daniel O’Donnell; David McGuinness (0-1), Shane Molloy, Niall Carberry; Hugh McFadden (1-4), Daniel Breslin; Christopher Murrin (0-3) Eoghan Bán Gallagher (0-2), Christopher Cunningham; Daniel Keeney , John Bán Gallagher (0-1), Evan Broderick (1-2).
Subs; Pauric Conaghan for D O’Donnell, 52; Mark Finnerty for D Keeney, 54; Darragh McClean for Christopher Cunningham, 57; Ryan Ward for John Ban Gallagher. 61.
GLENFIN: Liam O’Meara; Martin O’Donnell, Daniel Harkin, Gary Dorrian; Stephen McGlynn, Frank McGlynn, Jason Morrow; Michael McGlynn (1-2), Stephen Ward; Daniel McGlynn, Paddy O’Connor (0-2), Stephen Carr ; Conor McBride (0-2,2f), Gerard Ward, Kevin McGlynn. Subs; Hugh Foy for S Ward, Ronan Carlin for S Carr, both on 44; Sean McGlynn for G Dorrian, 54; Ciaran Foy for D McGlynn, 56
REFEREE: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh).