Glenea United 2
Gweedore Celtic 1
Throw in a controversial incident or two the banter was also good in both the Stand and on the terraces between the opposing supporters in the large crowd at this local derby clash in Glasheroo.
At the end of a pulsating 90 plus minutes, the three points went to the home side and deservedly so thanks to two goals from centre forward Ryan McFadden.
On the day not even Gweedore’s most ardent supporter could disagree with the outcome.
Glenea played with greater purpose and had far more intensity about their game to leave the champions and table toppers trailing in their wake.
The elusive McFadden scored his two goals in the middle of the second quarter and in the space of three minutes to send the home team in smiling at half-time.
Paul Rua McBride scored the visitors’ only goal. That was in the middle of the second half and set up a grandstand finish of sorts. While Tomas Diver and Colin Ferry went close to tying it up in the closing exchanges, Glenea, who had a number of chances too to add to their goal count, always seemed to have the measure of their neighbours and arch rivals. And they held out for a very important win that keeps their league ambitions very much alive.
Tom Coll’s men now trail Gweedore by just three points with a game in hand to set up an interesting run in to the Premier League race.
And yet, it could have been all so different if Tomas Diver had found the net from a 25th minute penalty.
His well struck effort was well saved by Glenea number one Sean McClafferty. The save, which came after Ferry was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, almost lifted the roof on the packed stand and really set the tone for the remainder of the tie.
It certainly lifted the home side who after a period of early dominance and bombardment of the Gweedore posts had begun to sag a little and were beginning to allow the visitors a little more time and space on the ball.
But the game changed again after McClafferty’s heroics when ten minutes later Ryan McFadden showed nimble footwork to turn on a coin to drill a Sean Coll centre past Michael McKelvey from inside the box.
And three minutes later the Glenea fans were dancing on the terraces when McFadden nipped in between four defenders to despatch past McKelvey for goal number two. Coll himself went close shortly afterwards at making it three and Kevin Mulhern was thanking his lucky stars that his deflection on the stroke of half-time went over rather than under McClafferty’s crossbar.
Leading 2-0 at the break, Glenea as expected found themselves under a fair bit of pressure in the opening minutes of the second half. Fionnan Diver went close from a header within two minutes of the restart and Ferry drove over from 35 metres while Damien O’Sullivan pulled wide from just outside the box.
But Glenea have not the best defensive record in the league without earning it. The back four of Kevin’ Beag’ McFadden, Pauidie McGee, Barry McGinley and Paul Sweeney stood firm and despite the best efforts of Ferry and the Divers could find no way through.
Ferry should, however, have hit the net when through on goal only to drive wide with McClafferty in no man’s land.
That was on 60 minutes and was Gweedore’s most clear cut opportunity of the day and the visitors had to wait a further 12 minutes for the breakthrough. And just as Glenea’s first was something against the run of play so too was Paul Rua McBride’s strike that brought the champions right back into the race.
Right back McBride, up in attack, first timed a Tomas Diver lay-off in a crowded goalmouth off the crossbar. The ball cannoned down off the crossbar and was deemed, much to the disapproval of the Glenea players and followers, by referee Paddy Duffy to have crossed the line. Game on again! Well not quite; while Gweedore did press in the closing exchanges most of their strikes on goal were from distance and never really threatened Sean McClafferty’s posts.
The chances that would go down as real opportunities in the remaining quarter hour were shared evenly with Brian Cuffe going close for Glenea and Ferry doing likewise at the other end for Gweedore.
Glenea United: Sean McClafferty; Kevin ‘Beag’ McFadden, Barry McGinley, Pauidie McGee, Paul Sweeney, Sean Maguire, Sean Coll (John Harley, 77), Kevin Mulhern, Ryan McFadden, Brian Cuffe (David Coll, 88), Darren McGeever (Declan McGarvey, 85).
Gweedore Celtic: Michael McKelvey, Paul Rua McBride, Jamie Boyle (Ciaran McFadden, 79), Shane Barr, David McGee, Eamon Cannon, Gary Whoriskey (Eugene McBride, 65), Damien O’Sullivan, Colin Ferry, Tomas Diver, Fionnan Diver.
Referee: Paddy Duffy
Man of the match
Ryan McFadden scored Glenea’s two goals. He showed great skill and neat footwork to drill home the first under pressure and he deserves full marks for chasing up what seemed a lost cause for the second as he darted in between four defenders to slot past a despairing Michael McKelvey. McFadden may be small in stature but he posed a constant threat up front and when his side were under pressure he was also willing to roll up his sleeves and scrap for possession. He received the vote ahead of his teammates Sean McClafferty, Kevin Mulhern, Sean Maguire, Barry McGinley and Paul Sweeney, who all turned in big performances for the winners.
Paul Rua McBride, Shane Barr, Eamon Cannon and Colin Ferry were the pick of the Gweedore men on the day.
In a game with its fair share of twists and turns Sean McClafferty’s save from Tom Diver’s penalty on 25 minutes was probably the key moment in the game. It was not a case of a poorly struck penalty but a save out of the top drawer by McClafferty, when diving full stretch to his left. It really lifted his teammates and supporters in the stand and on the terraces.
Paddy Duffy came in for a fair deal of stick from the Glenea followers right through the game. There may be a slight question mark over the awarding of the Gweedore penalty as it was felt that Colm Ferry may have been guilty of a little barging before he was tripped in the area.
And there were also questions surrounding Paul Rua McBride’s goal and whether the ball was over the line or not. In fairness to the referee he was close to the action and did not hesitate in making the call.
In what was a highly competitive encounter he let the game flow while at the same time keeping a firm grip on proceedings and on balance had a good game.