Na Dunaibh who clinched the Donegqal Comórtas Peile Na Gaeltachta junior title PICTURE: GERALDINE DIVER
Na Dunaibh are heading to Kerry and the All-Ireland Comórtas Peile Na Gaeltachta junior finals as Donegal champions following Monday afternoon’s county final win over Gaoth Dobhair.
Na Dunaibh ………… 1-9
The reigning All-Ireland champions and defeated Donegal finalists last year made no mistake this time round after losing the 2018 final to Gaeil Fhánada.
Na Dunaibh led by two points at the end of a closely contested opening half hour and after the sides were on level terms four times.
Gaoth Dobhair's Cathal Gillespie kicked the game's opening score but Na Dunaibh responded with two Lorcan Connor points to take an early lead.
Gillespie, who kicked 0-7 in the semi-final win over Naomh Muire, converted from close range to tie up the game for the second time with only seven minutes on the clock.
With the play swinging from end to end Sean Doherty edged the locals ahead but with Connor causing problems for the Gaoth Dobhair defence, Na Dunaigh levelled the tie at 0-3 each on ten minutes.
While Gaoth Dobhair were back in front when Doherty again found the target for a good individual score, Na Dunaibh were beginning to get a grip around midfield.
And with Fionan McClafferty and Connor carving the openings and with Gaoth Dobhair finding the packed Na Dunaibh defence difficult to break down, the reigning All-Ireland champions produced a strong finish to the half. Connor, Gary Bán McClafferty and Ronan Doherty all split the posts to send their side in two up at the break.
Na Dunaibh took a firm grip on the game in the opening minutes of the second period. Connor added a quick point before Kevin Doherty hit the Gaoth Dobhair net for the game’s opening goal.
The goal opened up a six point advantage and when Connor landed his fifth point the margin was out to seven, Gaoth Dobhair yet to score in the half.
But Gaoth Dobhair were in no mood to roll over and they sparked into life again when second half replacement Mark McFadden found the Na Dunaibh net with just ten minutes remaining. The margin was now down to four and when Colin Ferry followed with a well taken point the gap was back to three.
But Jamie Lee McBride, with a long range strike, restored Na Dunaibh's four point lead with the clock ticking on the hour mark.
Gaoth Dobhair pressed in the closing minutes but all they had to show was a Stephen McFadden point on the stroke of time.
Na Dunaibh now head to Kerry as Donegal champions while Gaoth Dobhair will also make the trip to the Kingdom as Donegal runners up.
GAOTH DOBHAIR: Charles Doherty; Ryan Kelly, Pauric Cribbin, Mickey Boyle; Cian McFadden, Prionsias Gallagher, Neasa McBride; Michael McKelvey, Ronan MacNiallais; Stephen McFadden, Frank McGee, Sean Doherty (0-2); Colin Ferry (0-1), Joe Duffy, Cathal Gillespie (0-2,1f).
Subs; Mark McFadden (1-0) for F McGee 39; Matthew Harkin for S Doherty, Daniel McLaughlin for Colin Ferry, both 58.
NA DUNAIBH: Johnny McGroddy; Max Davis, Ben McNutt, Shane McTeague; Pauric McGinty, Gary Bán McClafferty (0-1) James McBride; Ronan Gallagher (0-1, 1’45), Jamie Lee McBride (0-1); Oisin Boyce (0-1) Fionan McClafferty, Shane Boyce; Lorcan Connor (0-5, 1f), Kevin Doherty (1-0), Allen Pasoma.
REFEREE: Greg McGrory (Four Masters) .