Five points in the final eight minutes were enough for Ardara against Gaoth Dobhair to complete the championship semi-finals line-up.
Gaoth Dobhair 0-5
The margins remained-thin till Kenneth Doherty managed to break free from the shackles to give Ardara the slenderest of leads with eight minutes left.
Then substitute Brendan Boyle scored from the tightest of angles before Martin Shovlin added a pair of scores. Boyle added a personal second for the cherry on top.
It seemed the side from Kentucky fared marginally the better in a windy conditions as dusk fell in Letterkenny in the first half last night.
Gaoth Dobhair, as has been the case in recent years, still looked reasonably solid but weren’t as proficient in the forward line as they might’ve been.
Despite having a breakeven in possession in the unpredictable surroundings, it took until the 22nd minute to open their account, which they did thanks to Padraig McGarvey.
However, when Jimmy O’Connell pointed for Ardara at the bitter end of the first half it looked like they, with a 0-3 to 0-1 lead, would have the warmer cup of tea at the break. McGarvey had other ideas and his two late points ensured interval parity at 0-3 apiece.
Peter Oliver McNelis and Noel Gallagher scored early second half points to ensure Ardara reclaimed their two-point initiative, but McGarvey’s fourth of the day and an opportunistic effort from Jonathan Harkin made it 0-5 to 0-5 on 42 minutes.
But Ardara finished much the stronger and Gaoth Dobhair’s goose was cooked when McGarvey was sent off for two late yellow cards.
Ardara: Declan Gallagher; Sean McLoughlin, Declan Gavigan, Kevin Breslin; Paddy Gallagher, Kevin Herron, Ciaran Breslin; Kenneth Doherty (0-1), Conor Classon; Brendan McNeils (0-1,f), Peter Oliver McNelis (0-1), Martin Shovlin (0-3); Noel Gallagher (0-1), Jimmy O’Connell (0-1), Gareth Concarr. Sub: Stephen McHugh for P Gallagher (44), Kevin Byrne for N Gallagher (50), Brendan Boyle (0-2) for O’Connell (53).
Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; David McGee, Neil McGee, Jonathan Harkin (0-1); Ciaran Gillspie, Eamon McGee, Ciaran Ferry; Kevin Cassidy, Donal McBride; Padraig McGarvey (0-4), Odhran MacNiallais, Sean Doherty; Thomas Diver, James Gallagher, Gavin McBride. Sub: Michéal Roarty for Gallagher (58)
Referee: Shaun McLaughlin (Malin).