Donnacha Gallagher fired over nine times as St Eunan’s came from five points down to see off Gaoth Dobhair on Good Friday in the All-County Football League Division One.
St Eunan’s 0-13
Gaoth Dobhair 0-11
Both teams opted to play the only star game in the top flight and as a consequence were featuring young faces, although Maxi Curran, the St Eunan’s manager, could take on the likes of Conall Dunne and John Haran from the bench to help overturn their 0-10 to 0-5 half-time deficit.
Gallagher was simply unplayable at times and his five points from play were stylishly hit, with the first point in the second half - from the most acute angle you can imagine at the River End - perhaps the turning point.
Kevin Cassidy’s Gaoth Dobhair, missing senior county footballers Eamon and Neil McGee, as well as Odhran MacNiallais and five minors, produced a fine second quarter to establish that lead and the player-manager was their driving force.
The former Donegal captain scored two points, as did Tomás Diver, while both Sean Doherty and Padraig McGarvey were excelling from placed balls.
With both teams having won two fixtures apiece in this season’s Division One, top spot in the table was up for grabs and something had to give in Letterkenny,
Curran was pro-active at the break to reduce his team’s shortcomings. Darragh Mulgrew was also tellingly introduced and the reigning league champions were building from the back forward.
Gaoth Dobhair, although much improved from the performance that saw them hammered 1-16 to 0-3 last August on their last league trip to O’Donnell Park, lost their way.
They scored just once in the second half - through Anthony Blair on 36 minutes - as St Eunan’s throttled into the higher gear. Gallagher was the hub of their attacks and Oisin Carr, Mulgrew and Lee McMonagle, who scored the first and last points of the evening, ensured a third win from three.
St Eunan’s: JP Clarke; J McBride, M Martin, C McGinley; C O’Donnell, P Devine, K Sharkey; S Hensey, C Ward; O Carr (0-1), S McVeigh, D Tyrell; L McMonagle (0-2), D Gallagher (0-9, 3f), P McGowan. Subs: C Dunne, M Miller and D Mulgrew (0-1) for McVeigh, Tyrell and O’Donnell (half-time), C Parke for Sharkey (38), J Haran for McGowan (46), C O’Boyle for McBride (55).
Gaoth Dobhair: C Sweeney; S McGarvey, D McGee, C McFadden; C O’Ferraigh, Jamie Boyle, J Harkin; P McGee, R MacNiallias; A Blair (0-2), K Cassidy (0-2), P Mulligan; S Doherty (0-3, 2f, 45), T Diver (0-2), P McGarvey (0-2, 2f). Subs: P Gallagher for Mulligan (25), Mulligan for MacNiallias (black card 50), J Duffy and James Boyle for Gallagher and Diver (58)
Referee: C Doherty (Naomh Conaill)