Both Donegal and Fermanagh leave Ballyshannon happy with their lot

Alan Foley


Alan Foley

Both Donegal and Fermanagh leave Ballyshannon happy with their lot
Being the manager of a neighbouring county against your own was always going to be just a little awkward for Rory Gallagher.

Being the manager of a neighbouring county against your own was always going to be just a little awkward for Rory Gallagher.

Donegal 0-12

Fermanagh 2-5

There was never really going to be any hard feelings of course in the experimental surroundings of the McKenna Cup at Fr Tierney Park in mid-January.

As it turned out, though, it was one of those reasonably rare occasions where the final outcome was a source of satisfaction for all parties concerned.

Donegal, following a decent first half and a drowsy second, held on to win by a single point.

Fermanagh, for their part, shaved enough off their arrears after the break to top Section B on scoring average .

Their competition will continue with a semi-final against Cavan, another county with whom they share a border, on Wednesday night.

For a while in the first half, the only reason the calculators were required it seemed was to provide statistical evidence of Fermanagh’s demise.

Donegal had bossed the contest and went in seven in front at the break with Frank McGlynn, Christy Toye, Neil Gallagher - who was making his first appearance of 2015 - and Martin McElhinney providing a solid platform.

That quartet gave an edge of physicality and directness on a wintry afternoon where hopping the ball wouldn’t have been advised.

Eoin McHugh and Ciaran McGinley are two men of whom Rory Gallagher would have an in-depth knowledge from his tenure in Towney. The two Kilcar players got on the scoreboard early, as did Ryan Malley from Ardara.

Daniel McLaughlin scored twice and Marty O’Reilly popped over three free-kicks to give Donegal a healthy 0-10 to 0-3 interval lead.

Gallagher, the Glenswilly midfielder, might’ve been missing his sidekick - the retired Rory Kavanagh - but nailed a boomer from outside the 45-metre line.

Fermanagh were denied a goal late in the half by the well-groomed and bearded Paul Durcan, who was too returning to the side, saved in a one-on-one scenario with Sean McManus.

If that was a possible warning sign of what Fermanagh might have in store then so too was the number of opportunities they created and subsequently wasted.

When Daniel Kille pointed with three minutes left in the half it was the first time the umpires behind Durcan had lifted a flag in 19 minutes.

Pete McGrath saw his team kick eight first half wides and they would amass the same total again- and one for luck - in the second.

Donegal looked to be continuing their vein of positivity in the second period when McGlynn galloped from the half-back line to curl over on 38 minutes.

Fermanagh’s waywardness was continuing to inhibit their ambitions.

With Derry surprisingly trailing to Queen’s in Lavey it was Donegal - in the betting-in-running - that were leading the field.

Having not had the spark for so long, Fermanagh’s comeback began to gather momentum when, on 43 minutes, Marty O’Brien finished off a fine move by shooting the opening goal past Durcan - the move had involved Ryan Jones, Darren McQuade and James McMahon.

Durcan then got to breathe a sigh of relief when referee Niall McKenna insisted he had been impeded by Sean Quigley when the umpire waved for a goal after he gathered a Ruairí Corrigan floater.

Then, 14 minutes from time, Quigley was the goalscorer after Paul McCusker and Declan McCusker were involved in the build-up.

Fermanagh were disappointed to kick 17 wides, although their goalkeeper Thomas Treacy was man-of-the-match following four excellent saves.

Treacy denied McLaughlin, Eoin McHugh on two occasions and Paddy McGrath with excellent stops. They kept his side both in the game and in the competition.

Fermanaho go through and Donegal exit but do so with Gallagher content with the home win. There’s nothing awkward about that.

Donegal: Paul Durcan; Paddy McGrath, Eamon McGee, Declan Walsh; Eoin McHugh (0-2), Frank McGlynn (0-1), Ciaran McGinley (0-1); Martin McElhinney, Neil Gallagher (0-1); Mark McHugh, Christy Toye, Ryan Malley (0-1); Daniel McLaughlin (0-2), Hugh McFadden, Martin O’Reilly (0-3, 3f). Subs: Dermot Molloy (0-1) for Gallagher (43), Michael Murphy for McFadden (40 black card), Gary McFadden for McLaughlin (58), Eamonn Doherty for Toye (61), Corey Gallagher for McGlynn (65), Ciaran McCaughey for McElhinney (58).

Fermanagh: Thomas Treacy; Conor Quigley, James Allen, Tiarnan Daly; Declan McCusker, James McMahon, Marty O’Brien (1-0); Risteard O’Callaghan, Conall Jones; Barry Mulrone, Darren McQuade, Sean McManus; Ryan Jones (0-1), Sean Quigley (1-2, 1f), Daniel Kille (0-1, 1f). Subs: Ruairi Corrigan, Eoin Donnelly and Paul McCusker for Kille, O’Callaghan and McManus (half-time), Mickey Jones for Daly (46), Damian Kelly (0-1) for C Jones (50), Eoin McManus for McQuade (52).

Referee: Niall McKenna (Monaghan).