Cloughaneely pulled off a late escape thanks to a late goal from Darren Ferry to snatch a two point win over Naomh Brid in Falcarragh on Sunday afternoon.
Cloughaneely . . . 3-7
Naomh Brid . . . 2-8
In a game played on the Pobal Scoil Community School grounds, this in truth was theft on a grand scale as Naomh Brid from Division Three almost got the better of their Division One hosts.
For most of the 70 plus minutes Naomh Brid were the better side and for long stretches played the locals off the park. It was they who looked like the team from the top division.
The side managed by Matt Gallagher played against the stiff breeze but still led at half-time. They were 1-4 to 1-3 up at the break and that was after allowing Cloughaneely off to a flying start.
The locals, who lined out without Jason McGee because of injury, had 1-1 on the board by the fourth minute with Cillian Gallagher notching the first point on three minutes and Gallagher and John John Fitzgerald combining to set up Paul Sweeney for the goal. Sweeney palmed a Fitzgerald cross to an empty net.
That was on five minutes and for the next few minutes Cloughaneely pressed with Fitzgerald and Shaun McGarvey carving openings. But despite the pressure, they did not score again for nine minutes and by the time Fitzgerald floated over from 40 metres, Naomh Brid had found their second wind and had clocked up three points from Callum Gallagher, Darragh Brogan and Gerard Gallagher.
And the men from the south were in front by one thanks to a brilliant team goal. Sam Burgess joined the attack to combine with Ryan Brogan to set up Clint Walsh to palm to the Cloughaneely net.
After a barren period, Brogan extended the Naomh Brid lead out to two points, Fitzgerald kicked a fine point for the locals to make it a one point game at half-time, Naomh Brid 1-4 to 1-3 ahead.
Darragh Brogan and Shaun McGarvey and McGarvey and Gerard Gallagher traded points in the third quarter as the play swung from end to end.
When Sweeney netted a second goal in the early seconds of the final quarter after a good delivery into the goalmouth from McGarvey,Cloughaneely were back in front 2-5 to 1-6.
But Naomh Brid responded well. Calum Gallagher judged the breeze to perfection to curl over a super strike from 40 metres out on the right hand side to reduce the margin to two.
And while McGarvey made it a three point game, Naomh Brid were back in front again thanks to a super goal from Ryan Brogan.
Brogan won a ball 40 metres out, turned his marker and with a number of Cloughaneely players chasing him, he did not stop until he planted the ball past Michael McGarvey for a 2-7 to 2-6 lead with a little over five minutes of normal time remaining.
The two sides had chances before one final sweeping move involving Ciaran Scanlon, John Fitzgerald who set up Ferry to strike for the winning goal.
That was five minutes into injury time and in the final minute of play Cloughaneely’s Ciaran Scanlon picked up a straight red card for a high challenge.
CLOUGHANEELY: Michael McGinley; Michael Fitzgerald, Kevin Mulhern, Ciaran McFadden; Ciaran McGeady, Mark Harley, Noel Sweeney; Ciaran Scanlon, Martin Maguire; Shaun McGarvey (0-3, 2f), Darren Ferry (1-0), Cillian Gallagher (0-1); John Fitzgerald (0-2), Paul Sweeney (2-0), Sean Maguire (0-1).
NAOMH BRID: Padraig McDaid; Liam Duffy, Sam Burgess, Jamie Timoney; Clint Walsh (1-0), Ross Gallagher, Michael Gallagher; Thomas Gallagher, Sean Gormley; Gary McCafferty, Gearoid Gallagher (0-2), Ryan Brogan (1-1); Darragh Brogan (0-3,1f), Callum Gallagher (0-2,1f), Declan Gallagher.
SUBS: Eoghan Quinn for S Gormley (black card, 55); Eoghan Rushe for R Brogan (black card 62)
REFEREE: Martin McKinley (Naomh Colmcille).