DONEGAL GAA - SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

Naomh Conaill show great resilience to make their third county final in-a-row

Peter Campbell

Reporter:

Peter Campbell

Email:

sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Naomh Conaill show great resilience to make their third county final in-a-row

Niall O'Donnell on the ball for St Eunans against Naomh Conaill Picture: Thomas Gallagher

After a titanic struggle Naomh Conall prevailed in the first of the Michael Murphy Senior Championship semi-finals with a one point win over St Eunans

Naomh Conaill 0-15
St Eunans 1-11

Shuan Patton had a last ditch chane for a replay but his free from 45m went just wide of the posts.
St Eunans looked good at one stage in the first half as they led by three but Naomh Conaill then took a firm grip on the game.
There were many turning points with St Eunans going ahead again in the second period after an opportunist goal from Eoin McGeehin but Naomh Conaill showed great resilience to come through.
There was a fantastic opening to the game with the sides sharing eight points in the first 10 minutes, level on four occasions.
The pattern was set with two points inside the first 50 seconds, Leo McLoone pointing from the throw-in after being found by Charles McGuinness.
Brian McIntyre replied from the kick-out but Charles McGuinness then landed a free from outside the '45'. Niall O'Donnell levelled.
Eoghan McGettigan, with a great jink and infusion of pace, hit a great score but Eoin McGeehin, from an angle, responded immediately.
Niall O'Donnell and Ciaran Thompson traded frees before Niall O'Donnell hit two quick point, one a free for an off-the-ball tug, to put the Letterkenny side ahead 0-6 to 0-4.
But again Eunan Doherty replied with a great score after a diagonal run on 17 minutes. A great crossfield pass from Eoghan McGettigan to Eoin Waide deserved a score, but his effort was just wide.
Ciaran Thompson found space to level matters once again on 23 minutes and his brother Anthony lofted Naomh Conaill ahead on 26 minutes. Kieran Gallagher doubled the lead a minute from the break from a very sharp angle.
Half-time: Naomh Conaill 0-8, St Eunans 0-6.
Two minutes into the second half Ciaran Thompson increased the lead from distance. That lead was four when a long free from Ciaran Thompson was broken and Dermot Brick Molloy marked his introduction with a tardemark point.
Brian McIntyre cut the lead to three and Niall O'Donnell made 0-10 to 0-8 with a free on 38 minutes. Charles McGuinness extended the lead to three with another impressive free from distance.
The sides were level on 42 minutes with a fortunate St Eunans goal. A free from Niall O'Donnell dropped just short and it was palmed out. Eoin McGeehin was alert to fist to the net.
Immediately Niall O'Donnell pointed a free to put Eunans ahead for the first time since the 16th minute.
Naomh Conaill hti back with Eunan Doherty equalising from a very acute angle but Caolan Ward replied with a great score after a mazy run. It was followed by a class point from Niall O'Donnell with his left after a beautiful dummy.
Brendan McDyer had a goal chance after a Naomh Conaill break but his effort was straight at Shaun Patton.
Eoghan McGettigan cut the lead to the minimum from a free and it was all square with just over four minutes left when a high ball from Anthony Thompson was fisted clear to Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui and he tapped over.
Leo McLoone made a great run to win a free of Rory Kavanagh and Eoghan McGettigan curled the free over to edge the Glenties men ahead.

Scorers - Naomh Conaill: Ciaran Thompson 0-3,1f; Eoghan McGettigan (1f) 0-3; Eunan Doherty, Charles McGuinness (2f) 0-2 each; Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui, Anthony Thompson, Leo McLoone, Kieran Gallagher, Dermot Molloy 0-1 each.
St Eunans: Niall O'Donnell 0-7,4f; Eoin McGeehin 1-1; Brian McIntyre 0-2, Caolan Ward 0-1

NAOMH CONAILL: Stephen McGrath; Ultan Doherty, AJ Gallagher, Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui; Ethan O'Donnell, Anthony Thompson, Eoin Waide; Ciaran Thompson, Leo McLoone; Brendan McDyer, Eoghan McGettigan, Eunan Doherty; Kevin McGettigan, Charles McGuinness, Kieran Gallagher. Subs: Deermot Molloy for K Gallagher ht; Stephen Molloy for U Doherty 44; Nathan Byrne for McGuinness 51; Marty Boyle for McDyer 61; Kieran Gallagher for Mac Ceallabhui 64

ST EUNANS: Shaun Patton; Conor Parke, Conor Morrison, Aaron Deeney; Sean Ryan, Eamonn Doherty, Dara Mulgrew; Conor O'Donnell, Sean McGettigan; Caolan Ward, James Kelly, Brian McIntyre; Niall O'Donnell, Rory Kavanagh, Eoin McGeehin. Sub: Peter McEniff for Ryan 60

REFEREE: Enda McFeely (Convoy)