Gaoth Dobhair U-21s pictured before their quarter-final
Gaoth Dobhair are looking forward to first Ulster U-21 Club Championship semi-final following the quarter-final win over Antrim champions St Mary’s, Aghagallon.
Gaoth Dobhair 1-12
St Mary’s 1-5
The Donegal champions came out on top by seven points despite trailing early on and playing the entire second half with just 14 players.
Gavin McBride received his marching orders just before half-time for a black card offence having earlier been shown a yellow card.
Gaoth Dobhair, who were playing in the Ulster championship for the first time, were also forced to start with the injured duo of county seniors Ciaran Gillespie and Cian Mulligan, both out through injury. Gillespie picked up a hamstring injury playing for Donegal against Cavan last Sunday in the Dr McKenna Cup and Mulligan suffered a quad injury in the closing seconds of Donegal’s senior challenge against Meath on Saturday.
Michael Carroll, another of the county senior men in the Gaoth Dobhair line-up, scored the goal from the penalty spot late on that finally sealed the win for the Donegal flag bearers.
Carroll, who was also named man of the match, converted from the penalty spot after Naoise O Baoill was dragged down at the end of one of his trademark mazy runs.
Carroll top scored with 1-4, getting his team’s last four scores of the game.
The goal propelled the winners into a six point lead, 1-11 to 1-5, seconds after St Mary’s scored their only point of the second half.
Gaoth Dobhair, despite a man down, totally dominated the second period after the sides had gone in all square, Gaoth Dobhair 0-7, St Mary’s, 1-4.
Gaoth Dobhair started well and hit three of the game’s first four points to lead 0-3 to 0-1 by the ten minute mark.
But they were knocked back on their heels when Eunan Walsh struck for St Mary’s goal and a 1-1 to 0-3 lead.
And with Gaoth Dobhair still reeling the Antrim champions quickly tagged on two more points to move three clear, 1-3 to 0-3.
The Donegal champions produced a strong finish with points from Aoghan O’Fearraigh, Eamonn Collum (3) and McBride from a ‘45’ - just before he received his marching orders - to go back in front 0-7 to 1-3.
Driven on by Carroll, Daire and Naoise O Baoill, Gaoth Dobhair took complete control and thanks to O’Fearraigh and Carroll they pulled four clear, 0-11 to 1-4, before St Mary’s raised their only white flag of the second period.
And it was game set and match when Carroll converted from the spot and then tagged on a late point.
Gaoth Dobhair will now face three in-a-row chasing Watty Grahams from Derry in the semi-final. That game has been fixed for next Sunday, back at the Kickham Creggan’s ground, throw-in 2.15 pm
GAOTH DOBHAIR: Charlie Doherty; Ryan Kelly, Gary McFadden, James Boyle; Neasan McBride, Niall Friel, Odhran Ferry; Conor McCafferty, Michael Carroll (1-4,1-0 pen, 0-1’45’, 0-1,f); Daire O BaoilL (0-2), Aodhan O’Fearraigh (0-2), Naoise O Baoill; Gavin McBride (0-1,’45’), Eamonn Collum (0-3), Conor Boyle. Subs: Daniel McLaughlin for N Friel, Shane Brown for C Boyle.
ST. MARY’S: Robert Haire; Aaron Doherty, Dan Donnelly, Aidan Mulholland; Eunan Walsh, Pat Branagan, Jonny Harbinson; Caolan Farr, James Grant; Adam Shanks, Niall McShane, Ruairi McCann; Paul Mulholland, Shane Russell, Ruairi Loughran.