With a performance of grit and determination, Four Masters finished much the stronger to clinch a semi-final spot in the RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta Donegal Senior championship where they will meet Naomh Conaill of Glenties on Sunday in O’Donnell Park.
Four Masters 1-15
St. Michael’s 1-8
Report: Peter Campbell
The Donegal Town side had the odds stacked against them when they lost marksman Michael Doherty and full-forward Shane Carr, both injured late in the first half.
They saw St. Michael’s take a 1-5 to 0-5 lead in the 37th minute after a Karl Lacey pass went astray and St. Michael’s attacked with Daniel McLaughlin’s effort for a point came back off the upright and Colm McFadden dummied Paul Durcan to fire to the net.
But if anything that mistake galvanised Lacey, who was immense in the comeback. The Donegal Town men were four down by the 43rd minute as Stephen Doak pointed to put the losers 1-7 to 0-6 ahead.
But Masters then limited St. Michael’s to just one more point (a Colm McFadden effort on 52 minutes) in the next 42 minutes of play.
The first half was a shoot-out between Colm McFadden and Michael Doherty with both recording three points, but the Four Masters side were dealt a severe blow just beforee the break when Doherty was forced off with what looked like a hamstring injury.
McFadden had helped St. Michael’s into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead in the first seven minutes, but Doherty hit back for the Donegal town side and at half-time there was just a point between them, Four Masters 0-4, St. Michael’s 0-5.
Paul Durcan took over the freetaking duties in the absence of Doherty and levelled matters within two minutes but then came the McFadden goal which put daylight between the sides.
But Masters came back two within two points and Stephen Keeney had a great goal chance, but hit the sidenetting on 49 minutes, while Durcan denied both Peter Witherow and Daniel McLaughlin from point blank range.
It was all square with two minutes left as Karl Lacey and Conor McMonagle pulled Masters back level and force extra-time.
Benny Byrne and Stephen Keeney pushed Masters two clear in the first period. There was a controversial moment when the referee blew for half-time in extra-time with Four Masters in on goal, but there was no argument in the second period as the winners pulled away to win easily.
They did so with a great goal from Oisin McGinty after Stephen Keeney had tore through and hit the sidenetting.
Then in the final minutes Lacey and McMonagle added points as the St. Michael’s challenge crumbled.
Apart from the excellent Lacey, Paul Durcan, Jamie McCrea, Barry Monaghan, Barry Dunnion, Benny Byrne, Francis McMullin, Oisin McGinty, Stephen Keeney and substitute McMonagle were outstanding for the winners.
It was a disappointing result for last year’s defeated finalists, who were favourites to advance. They will rue to the great goal chances they had in the second half, but then with Paul Durcan in goal, finding the Four Masters’ net is not an easy task.
Four Masters: P Durcan (0-2,45,f); D McGarrigle, B Monaghan, J McCrea; C Rooney, K Lacey (0-2), B Dunnion; F McMullin, B Byrne (0-1); L Keaney, O McGinty (1-0), S O’Kennedy; S Keeney (0-3), S Carr, M Doherty (0-3,2f). Subs., C McMonagle (0-4,3f) for Carr 20; J Lacey for M Doherty 27; D Walsh for O’Kennedy 51; R McGrory for Dunnion 62; Dunnion for J Lacey
St. Michael’s: C Gallagher; B Rodden, S Black, S Doak (0-1); A Kelly, M McGinley, M Gallagher; C Rock Gallagher, L McDaid; D McLaughlin (0-1), P Witherow, C Toye (0-1); C McFadden (1-4,3f), A McFadden, S Coyle (0-1,f). Subs., B McLaughlin for Coyle 36; M Breslin for McDaid 55; J H Alcorn for Black 65; R McLaughlin for B McLaughlin; M Cannon for Breslin, both 71
Referee: S McGonigle (Aodh Ruadh)