Hugh McFadden . . . again outstanding for Killybegs
Phew! This hard fought championship affair ended on the most dramatic note possible.
Sean MacCumhaills 1-9
Five minutes into injury time and Killybegs are leading by 2-8 to 1-9 when their excellent corner-back Cilian Gildea catches the ball deep in his own defence, but gives it away to Oisin Gallen.
And Farah has the ball in the net in a heartbeat.
But referee Shane Toolan had already blown his whistle as Gildea caught the ball.
Delight for Killybegs and despair for Sean MacCumhaills who will rue those eight wides and two gifted goals to their opponents in each half.
In fairness the Twin Towns goal had a fair slice of luck too as Darren O’Leary’s well struck shot went to the Fishermen’s net via a luckless Killybegs defender in the 25th minute.
But the key score in this affair came in the 48th minute of the second half as MacCumhaill’s led by 1-6 to 1-8.
Luke Gavigan hit a free which went straight to man of the match, Hugh McFadden and he lobbed the ball into the net with MacCumhaills keeper Eoin Gallen off the line in no man’s land.
That was the real turning point as Killybegs edged into a lead they never surrendered.
And even though Marty O’Reilly opened the home defence, he hit two wides as Killybegs hung on thanks to late points from Jack McSharry and McFadden.
On balance, the home side deserved their victory as they looked the more composed side especially in the opening half.
Youthful Killybegs took off like a rocket and Michael Statham rifled over a point after just 12 seconds.
Darren O’Leary equalised for the Twin Towns side and that set the tempo for a taut, tense tie played against a raucous background of vocal advice to the match officials from two excitable benches.
Killybegs looked better organised and Hugh McFadden eased his team into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the 12th minute.
MacCumhaills corner-back Ronan McMenamin narrowed the gap in the 15th minute.
McFadden was on target from a free again before we had the first of two somewhat fortunate goals for each side.
Unlucky MacCumhaills keeper Eoin Gallen slipped as he went to take a kick out and the ball skidded out to Conor Cunningham who fed Ryan Cunningham who clinically finished to the net.
Suddenly the home side had jumped into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead ten minutes from the break.
MacCumhaills were coming more into the match and burly full-forward Darren O’Leary tore in across the end line and his rasper ricocheted into the net off a hapless Killybegs defender in the 25th minute.
This was game back on and O’Leary could have netted another a minute later but his thunderbolt was brilliantly saved by Killybegs keeper Kevin Martin.
A draw was probably a fair result in a well contested first half as the sides tied on a score of 1-4 apiece at the break.
On the resumption, it was MacCumhaills who looked the sharper side and they moved into a two points lead through Pauric Patton and Marty O’Reilly.
The inevitable McFadden narrowed the gap for the home side.
But MacCumhaills should have netted in the 35th minute when great work from O’Reilly found Nathan Gavigan on the edge of the square, but his point blank shot was brilliantly smothered by Killybegs keeper Kevin Martin.
Still the Twin Towns side moved into a three point lead through Oisin Gallen and a great effort from Aaron Gilhooley to leave them ahead by 1-8 to 1-6 by the 48th minute, before Lady Luck turned against them and the game was changed utterly
KILLYBEGS: Kevin Martin; Cilian Gildea, Ciaran Conaghan, Paul McGinley; John Ban Gallagher, Jack McSharry (0-1) Ryan Carr; Hugh McFadden (1-6,4f), Eavan Broderick; Michael Statham (0-1), Daniel Breslin, Shaun Gorrell; Conor Cunningham, Paul Cunningham, Ryan Cunningham (1-0). Subs: Christopher Murrin for Shaun Gorrell (56), Eoin Gallagher for Conor Cunningham (59).
SEAN MACCUMHAILLS: Eoin Gallen: Ronan McMenamin (0-1) Martin Gallagher, Aaron Gillooley (0-1); Gary Dunnion, Andrew McCloskey, Luke Gavigan (0-1); Gavin Gallagher, Nathan Gavigan; Marty O’Reilly (0-1), Pauric Patton (0-1), Oisin Gallen (0-1,f); Brian Lafferty, Darren O’Leary (1-2,2f), Gary Wilson. Subs: Aaron Kelly for Nathan Gavigan, Conor Griffin for Martin Gallagher (54),
REFEREE: Shane Toolan (Aodh Ruadh)