Glenswilly held their composure to see off Naomh Conaill on Sunday to book their place in the final of the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta SFC.
Naomh Conaill 0-8
The reigning champions overcame Paddy Campbell’s team with two injury time points in Letterkenny through Oisin Crawford and Eamonn Ward.
Gary McDaid’s side, who had led 0-4 to 0-3 after a defensively-minded first half from both teams, lost captain Caolan Kelly to a red card three minutes from time for a late challenge on Stephen Molloy.
However, experience saw Glenswilly over the line.
Anthony Thompson had fired Naomh Conaill into an early lead but points from Brian Farrelly, Michael Murphy and Kelly opened up a two-point Glenswilly cushion before John O’Malley and Dermot Molloy restored parity.
Ciaran Bonner pointed to give Glenswilly their narrow interval advantage but it should’ve been more as the centre-fielder blazed over the crossbar with an open goal after Darren McGinley provided the pass.
In wintery conditions, Murphy kicked two excellent long-range free-kicks for Glenswilly to keep their noses in front but Naomh Conaill managed to get back on terms when they decided to abandon their initial conservatism.
Darragh Gallagher’s free and Brendan McDyer’s point brought it back to 0-6 apiece.
Murphy an Gary McFadden’s second free of the day moved Glenswilly two up again as they showed their abilities to chug up the gears when required.
However, Dermot Molloy’s two late points levelled the score at 0-8 to 0-8 and with Kelly watching from the mouth of the tunnel, Bonner was black-carded.
Ironically, it was Bonner’s replacement Crawford who edged his team in front at the bitter end with his first touch.
With Naomh Conaill pushing forward in an attempt to force extra-time, they left holes at the back .
Ward, the Glenswilly full-back, found himself in acres of space and was content to take the sensible option to score the insurance point.
Glenswilly: G McGrenra; B McDaid, E Ward (0-1) Darren McGinely; A McDevitt, O Crawford, C Callaghan; N Gallagher, C Bonner (0-1); R Crawford, G McFadden (0-2,2f), L Kelly; C Kelly (0-1), M Murphy (0-3,2f), B Farrelly (0-1). Subs: C Gallagher for McDevitt (53), O Crawford (0-1) for C Bonner (58, black card).
Naomh Conaill: S McGrath; S Molloy, J Campbell, J Bonner; Aaron Thompson, C Brennan, M Boyle; Anthony Thompson (0-1), L McLoone; J O’Malley (0-1), B McDyer (0-1), C Ellis; D Molloy (0-4,2f), J McLoone, D Gallagher (0-1). Subs: E O’Donnell for Gallagher (45), E Waide for Ellis (45).
Referee: J White (Killybegs).