St Eunan’s will take on Sean MacCumhaill’s in the first round proper of the county U-21 championship after they hammered Gaoth Dobhair in the preliminary round at O’Donnell Park on Tuesday evening.
St Eunan’s 4-24
Gaoth Dobhair 0-2
Conor Gibbons has been operating proficiently at senior level but the corner-forward was pivotal to the U-21 side with an excellent personal haul of 2-12. Gaoth Dobhair were never at the races in truth and having landed in Letterkenny with just 15 men were at a further disadvantage when they were forced to continue with 14 after Danny McGarvey was withdrawn with a split eye.
That was on the stroke of half-time but at that stage there was little doubt about the outcome as the hosts were in a completely unassailable position, 1-8 to 0-1 in front.
Gibbons scored six points in the opening half, three apiece from frees and from play, while Caolan Ward and Lee McMonagle also added scores. The opening goal of the contest came when a shot from Conor Harley came back down off the upright and although Conor McEniff was thwarted by Odhran MacNiallais in the visitors’ goal with his first shot, the St Eunan’s corner-forward slapped the second attempt into the net on 10 minutes. The side from Magheragallon finally got on the scoreboard, when, on 29 minutes, Owen Ward scored a free.
Gaoth Dobhair were dead and buried at the interval but completely collapsed at the seams in part two. Aside their eventual paltry total of two points, an understrength Gaoth Dobhair did not hit a wide all night, while St Eunan’s pops off target ran just into double figures.
Garbhán Grant got the wheels of their second half in motion, while Darragh Mulgrew’s score preceded a Gibbons free. Three successive McMonagle points, all taken astutely from distance, made it 1-14 to 0-1 seven minutes into the half.
The relentlessness continued and Grant dummied MacNiallais to score a second St Eunan’s goal on 38 minutes before Gibbons smashed home a third six minutes later. Substitute John Cavanagh and Peter Devine then scored points.
Gibbons, on 48 minutes, tucked into the bottom corner for fourth goal after a crossfield pass from Grant, which made it 4-16 to 0-1 as the drizzle began to fall from a dusking sky.
Grant added a point before Gibbons fired over five more, two frees and three from play, and substitute Colm Flood pointed twice. Gaoth Dobhair’s second point of a woeful evening came when Michael Roarty scored a late free.
Meanwhile, also in the U-21 A championship, St Michael’s enjoyed a simple 6-17 to 1-6 win over Fanad Gaels at Pairc Ui Shiail in Portsalon, while Dungloe won 2-6 to 1-10 at St Naul’s
St Eunan’s: Jordan McBride; Thomas Grant, Conor Parke, Colm Flood; Ciaran Greaney, Peter Devine (0-1), Mark Forde; Darragh Mulgrew (0-1), Caolan Ward (0-1); Conor Harley, Garbhán Grant (1-2), Lee McMonagle (0-4); Conor McEniff (1-0), Conal McGinley, Conor Gibbons (2-12, 6f). Subs: Kevin Meehan for Harley (half-time), Colm Flood (0-2) and John Cavanagh (0-1) for McEniff and T Grant (39), Barry McGeehin for Mulgrew (45), Conor O’Donnell for Parke (50).
Gaoth Dobhair: Odhrán MacNiallais; Conor Sweeney, Joe Blair, Conor McGeever; Aiden Ferry, John Harkin, Danny McGarvey; Michael Roarty (0-1, 1f), Sean Donnegan; Joe Ferry, Owen Ward (0-1, 1f), Jamie Ferry; Hugh Boyle, Shaun Boyle, Sean Doherty.
Referee: Paddy McGonagle (Buncrana).