Goals win matches as classy county champions St Eunan’s showed in a most impressive dismissal of Glenswilly before a big crowd in Ballybofey last night.
St Eunan’s 3-7
And despite having considerable possession, Michael Murphy and Co were repeatedly turned over as St Eunan’s punished them mercilessly.
The crucial goal of this game came in the 45th minute when Eunan’s midfielder Kevin Rafferty flicked a ball into the path of Big John Haran. Big John, in his 39th year, took off like a red headed Usain Bolt through the centre of the Glenswilly defence before offloading the perfect pass to Conal Dunne.
Dunne did a double shimmy before burying the ball in the Glenswilly net.
Dunne’s dazzler put the winners into a 2-5 to 0-6 lead and there was no real way back for Glenswilly.
Another hero for Eunan’s was ice cool corner forward Lee McMonagle who hit the final goal four minutes later when he had the simple task of tapping into an empty net from a clever Rory Carr pass.
McMonagle also converted a great penalty for the winners in the 26th minute.
But the real difference between the sides was the county champions ability to turn Glenswilly over and then strike like rattlesnakes on the counter attack.
Michael Murphy and Neil Gallagher tried vainly to rally their troops but just could not find any way through a very well organized Eunan’s defence.
The match had a dramatic opening when Michael Murphy converted a superb 50 metre free with the outside of his boot after just nine seconds.
That set the pattern for an early period of dominance for the Glen as Caelan McFadden set up his brother Gary for a well- struck point to leave Glen in the lead by 0-2 to 0-0.
But they failed to score for a further 20 minutes as a patient, methodical St Eunan’s gradually asserted themselves.
Conor Parke got the county champions off the mark with a superb strike with the outside of the boot in the 15th minute.
But Glenswilly made a wrong call by giving Gary McFadden a free that was more properly in the domain of Michael Murphy in the 11th minute.
However it was all St Eunan’s for most of the second quarter as they calmly unpicked the Glen defence for the crucial score of the opening half.
It came in the 26th minute when Eunan’s live wire corner forward Lee McMonagle hit the ground with alacrity after a heavy challenge from Oisin Crawford in the square.
Caolan Ward fed big John Haran deep inside the Glen square and Haran punched he ball towards McMonagle before he hit the turf.
But the talented 22 year-old showed nerves of true steel as he blasted he ball high to the roof of the Glen net past the 6.5 keeper Philip O’Donnell.
McMonagle’s cool conversion sparked a lively final three minutes, as Glenswilly hit back with fine points from Murphy, and exceptional strike from Darren McGinley and Gary McFadden to make for an interesting finale.
The winners turned over with a 1-4 to 0-5 advantage at the interval as we hoped for better fare in the second half.
What we got was an impressive assertive display from the county champions who now meet St Michaels in the county semi-final in a fortnight.
Glenswilly lost Brian Farrelly to a straight red card in the second half and Rory Kavanagh to two yellows in the second half.
But Jimmy White had a reasonably good game in trying conditions.
St Eunan’s: J P Clarke, P Devine, S Hensey, C Ward; C Parke, E Doherty, D Mulgrew; K Rafferty (0-1), R Kavanagh; S McVeigh, J Haran (0-1) C Dunne (1-2); C Gibbons (0-1), R Carr (0-1), L McMonagle (2-1,1 pen)
Subs; M McGowan for Mulgrew inj (9), P McGowan for Dunne (60),
Glenswilly: P O’Donnell, R Crawford, E Ward, C Callaghan; O Crawford, A McDevitt, J Gibbons; N Gallagher, M Murphy (0-4f); C Kelly, G McFadden (0-31f,) C Bonner; C McFadden, D McGinley (0-1) B Farrelly.
Subs; C Gallagher for McGinley (40), L Kelly for Crawford (53). C Sharkey for McMonagle (60).
Referee: J White (Killybegs).