Youthful Gaoth Dobhair edged out Glenswilly in a truly thrilling affair that saw two Donegal stars leave the field through injury.
Glenswilly . . . 2-13
Gaoth Dobhair . . . 0-22
And county team boss Rory Gallagher could have a few anxious weeks, hoping that team captain Michael Murphy and Gaoth Dobhair’s iron man Neil McGee recover from injuries sustained in the heat of battle in yesterday’s exciting contest.
Murphy had to go off after just 17 minutes with a leg injury while McGee was forced to leave the field in the 40th minute with a back injury in a match where Gaoth Dobhair star Odhran MacNiallais also retired at half-time through injury.
Murphy’s departure sparked a surge from Gaoth Dobhair who kicked five unanswered points after he left the field.
Young defender Niall Friel was in superb form for the winners, kicking six points from wing back while Michael Carroll and Cian Mulligan were also very prominent in a match where there were only four scores from frees.
On balance Gaoth Dobhair probably deserved their narrow victory as Glenswilly were forced to rely on goals to keep them in contention in a very high scoring opening half.
In truth, the home side were a tad lucky to be level on a score of Glenswilly 2-5 Gaoth Dobhair 0-11 at the interval.
It took goals from Leon Kelly in the seventh minute and a 32nd minute goal from Caolan Kelly to tie matters.
Gaoth Dobhair then lost Odhran MacNiallias and Neil McGee through injury early in the second half.
But this did not deter them and they went ahead through early points from Friel and Michael Carroll.
That set the tone for another ding-dong second half with both sides swapping some splendid scores.
Glenswilly’s cause was not helped when Ciaran Gibbons was sent off in the 52nd minute.
And Gaoth Dobhair finished strongly with some fine points from Mulligan, Friel and Eamon Collum
Glenswilly scorers: Leon Kelly (1-1), Caolan Kelly (1-0), Ciaran Bonner (0-3), Gary McFadden (0-3f) Caolan McFadden (0-3) Michael Murphy (0-1) Cathal Gallagher (0-1), Ciaran Gibbons (0-1),
Gaoth Dobhair scorers: Niall Friel (0-6), Michael Carroll (0-51f), Cian Mulligan (0-3), Eamon Collum (0-3) (Odhran MacNiallais (0-21f), Eamon McGee (0-1), P O’Gallchobhair (0-1), M McKelvey (0-1))