Malin blew the Raidió na Gaeltachta SFC wide open with a spectacular win over reigning champions St Eunan’s on Saturday evening in Buncrana.
Malin set the tone for the match early and went in at the break in an enterprising position, 2-6 to 1-3 up, after a completely dominant conclusion to the first half.
The water was gushing into the St Eunan’s dinghy at that stage, with Damien McClafferty having been sent off for two yellow cards in five minutes.
And when Stephen McLaughlin outpaced their defence to slam home a third goal for his side just 23 seconds into the second half, Malin were in complete control. St Eunan’s did briefly rally with Sean McVeigh pulling a goal back moments later but Malin weathered the storm.
The scores were tied at 0-2 apiece on 21 minutes when match referee Michael McShane stretched his arms out for a penalty for St Eunan’s when Lee McMonagle was grounded by Gary Farren.
McMonagle dusted himself down to beat Declan Lafferty from the penalty.
However, Terence Doherty slapped a centre from John G McLaughlin past Damian Martin to establish a 1-4 to 1-2 Malin lead on 25 minutes.
They continued to play off the front foot and enjoyed a fruitful conclusion to the half, capped by a goal on 28 minutes from Paul McLaughlin, who knocked in from close range and brilliant play from Stephen McLaughlin.
The wing-forward burst into space and rifled a shot that struck Martin’s goalpost before rebounding off the crossbar in the one movement before Paul McLaughlin made it 2-6 to 1-3, moments before McClafferty saw red.
But the peninsula residents regrouped and used their forwards well on the counterattack after Stephen McLaughlin and McVeigh traded goals.
Matthew Byrne was always an option, as was Michael Byrne and Malin comfortably held on to write perhaps the most glorious chapter in their history.
And the side who were staring down the barrel of elimination from the championship having lost to St Eunan’s in their opener and then trailed Naomh Conaill by seven points with 15 minutes left, before salving a draw that enabled them to reach the last eight by hammering Cloughaneely, have the capabilities of adding to their fairytale.
Malin: Declan Lafferty; Daniel Greene, Damian Harkin, Gary Farren; Charlie Byrne (0-1), Declan Walsh (0-1), Ciaran McColgan; John G McLaughlin, Anthony Kelly (0-4, 2f); Stephen McLaughlin (1-0), Matthew Byrne (0-3), Brendan McLaughlin (0-1); Paul McLaughlin (1-0), Terence Doherty (1-0), Michael Byrne (0-2).
St Eunan’s: Damian Martin; Peter Devine, Michéal Martin, Conor Parke; Damien McClafferty (0-1), Eamonn Doherty, Darragh Mulgrew (0-1); Kevin Rafferty (0-1, 1f), Rory Kavanagh; Sean Hensey, Kieran Sharkey, Sean McVeigh (1-0); Lee McMonagle (1-1, 1-0 pen), John Haran, Donnacha Gallagher (0-3, 1f, 45). Subs: Caolan Ward for Hensey (half-time), Conor Gibbons for McVeigh (48), McVeigh for Kavanagh (52), Jordan McBride for Mulgew (57). Referee: Michael McShane (Kilcar).