St. Michael’s are celebrating a first ever Donegal Comortas Peile Na Gaeltachta success following their senior final victory over Naomh Columba in Pairc Na nGael, Glencolmcille, on Monday afternoon. And they did it in some style.
St. Michael’s 1-13
Naomh Columba 0-6
After a shaky start and a closely contested first half the sides traded ends 0-5 each. But with a stiff breeze in their backs and Christy Toye on the field, the new champions (who put Ardara to the sword in the semi-final on Saturday night), turned on the charm in the second half.
Toye, who made his first appearance of the season after a lengthy layoff due to illness against Ardara, on Saturday night, was sprung a little earlier in Monday’s final.
He was introduced at the start of the second half by manager Charlie McLaughlin and made an instant impact running at the Naomh Columba defence and creating more freedom and space for man of the match McFadden.
Playing some fast and controlled football and attacking from all parts of the field St. Michael’s were not at all flattered at the finish by their ten point winning margin.
They posted a goal and eight points and also chalked up a number of wides in the second period to Naomh Columba’s solitary point, scored by Oisin McGinley, in injury time.
Brian McLaughlin scored the goal in the middle of the second period when he palmed a Colm McFadden cross, past Paddy Byrne. St. Michael’s had already eased into a three point lead, 0-8 to 0-5, courtesy of two from Colm McFadden - who ended the game with a personal tally of seven points - and one from Andrew Kelly.
And with McFadden who struggled to find space in the opening half on fire and unstoppable, in the second period, he reeled off four more points before the finish, with his brother Antoin, driving forward to nail his second for a somewhat easy victory in the end.
Naomh Columba play in Divsion Three of the Donegal All-County League and booked their place in the final by virtue of a nine point semi-final victory over Cloughaneely the evening before.
They more than held their own in the first and if they had a little more firepower up front they could have been in front at half-time.
It took a brilliant save Stephen McPhilemy, before half-time, when he deflected a Stephen Jones drive over for a point. A Naomh Columba goal at that stage would have seen the locals go in, two up, 1-4 to 0-5, at half-time.
As it was, the point gave the locals the lead for the first time and, for a short time, raised the spectre of an upset. But McFadden and company had other ideas.
Brendan Rodden and Antoin McFadden drove forward to kick the game’s two opening points, Rodden inside two minutes and McFadden on five. But even in those opening exchanges all the signs were that Naomh Columba were up for a fight, and that great Naomh Columba pride was on the line, especially at home in Pairc Na nGael.
Barry Carr, Kevin and Martin Cunnigham, Michael Maguire, Padraig Ward and Damien McBreaty tackled as their lives depended on it and while St. Michael’s enjoyed a good share of possession, openings were difficult to carve. Every time, McFadden won possession, he was swarmed by three and four Naomh Columba defenders and such was the Naomh Columba tackling that the county ace must have been gasping for oxygen, never mind space and room.
Oisin McGinley was wide with a couple of long range efforts before Andrew O’Gara popped over the locals’ opener on 12 minutes, James Henry Alcorn, another defender, kicked St. Michael’s third.
But two McGinley pointed frees in quick succession meant the teams were locked on 0-3 each by the end of the first quarter.
McFadden and McGinley traded points before Andrew O’Gara, with a long ball over the top of the St. Michael’s defence, found Jones, who steadied himself before letting fly from 13 metres, only to see his strike deflected over for the point.
And while the score propelled Naomh Columba into the lead for the first time, it has to go down as a missed opportunity and as the game turned out in the second period, it was their best chance of making a game of it in the second period.
St. Michael’s: Stephen McPhilemy; Stephen Doak, Stephen Black, Brendan Rodden (0-1); James Henry Alcorn (0-1), Antoin McFadden (0-2), Michael Gallagher; Martin McElhinney, Peter Witherow; Martin Breslin, Ciaran Gallagher, Lorcan McDaid; Colm McFadden (0-7,2f, 2‘45s’), Brian McLaughlin (1-0), Andrew Kelly (0-2). Subs: Christy Toye for L. McDaid (h/t); Stephen Coyle for M. Breslin (45); Lee Martin Carr for B. McLaughlin (49); Liam Paul Ferry for J Alcorn 52; Raymond McLaughlin for McElhinney 55.
Naomh Columba: Paddy Byrne; Barry Carr, Kevin Cunningham, Martin Cunningham; Padraig Ward, Michael Maguire, Damien McBrearty; Andrew O’Gara (0-1), Declan McGuire; Ryan McNern, Kevin McNern, Gavin McGinley (0-1); Stephen Jones (0-1), Oisin McGinley (0-3,3f), Dermot McGuire. Subs: Noel McGinley for D. McBrearty (35); Ryan Gillespie for S. Jones (50); Ryan McNern for G. McGinley (53).
Referee: Michael McShane (Kilcar).
Comortas Peile Na Gaeltachta - Soisear final
A new Friel on the block for Fanad
Fanad Gaels 3-9
St. Naul’s 0-9
For years the name of Seamie Friel has been synonymous with Fanad Gaels and running up big individual scores. Eight, nine, ten points a game with more than the odd goal scored here and there was Seamie Coshia, as he is known.
Well a new scoring ace has emerged in the peninsula and low and behold he is called Seamie Friel too. Seamie Nanny, they call him, to differentiate them. And its was Seamie Nanny that stole the show in the scoring stakes for Fanad Gaels in their Donegal junior Gaeltacht triumph over St. Naul’s, in Pairc Na nGael.
He scored 2-5 of Fanad’s total, both goals from the penalty spot, with four of the five points from play as last year’s beaten senior finalists, put last year junior runners up, St. Naul’s, to the sword once again.
Both goals were very timely and pivotial moments in the game. The first on the stroke of half-time when Fanad were facing the prospect going in at the half-time interval three points adrift, 1-1 to 0-7.
And he added the second four minutes into the second period to open up a four point advantage, 0-7 to 3-2, minutes after he had converted from 40 metres to edge his side ahead.
The second goal really knocked St. Naul’s back. Not only did Fanad go four up, but St. Naul’s also lost keeper Lee McBrearty, for his foul on Marty McAteer; a second yellow card offence for the St. Naul’s keeper. He also tripped Michael Sweeney for the fist penalty. Fanad had lost Aidan McAteer to a straight red in the first minute of the contest.
Sweeney had got Fanad off to a flyer inside two minutes with a screamer of a goal on three and half minutes when he completed a one-two with Mark Friel, to drill past McBrearty.
The winners did not score again until Seamie (Nanny) opened his account from a 20 metres free. In between, St. Naul’s, with the wind and rain at their backs, had clocked up six points. Paul Roarty, after good work from Michael Quinn, got the Naul’s scoring up and running on five minutes. And they had drawn level by the 11 minute mark, with Jamie White and player manager Brian McCabe both raising white flags.
It was looking good for the men from Gerard Gallagher Memorial Park, when James Flynn,, with three converted frees, two of them from over 40 metres saw St. Naul’s, pull four clear with five minutes remaining in the half.
And even after Friel kicked a Fanad point two minutes later, John Rose up in attack from centre half back, restored a four point advantage as the clock ticked down to 30 minutes.
But despite spending most of the half on the back foot, Fanad had always looked threatening on the break.
And as half closed, they were rewarded when Micheal Sweeney dispossessed McBrearty, who had taken a Martin McAteer strike for a point that dropped short, pretty comfortably.
With the ball going away from goal and close to the endline, McBrearty hand tripped Sweeney and referee Connie Doherty did not hesitate in pointing to the spot.
Seamie ‘Nanny’, and Barry Griffin traded scores a the start of the second period before Friel converted the second penalty. This one looked slightly on the harsh side when McAteer went down under pressure from McBrearty from behind.
But with Friel in no mood to look a gift horse in the mouth, he duly sent the spot kick to replacement keeper Michael Quinn’s right.
While Jamie White made it a two point game shortly afterwards, Fanad’s dander was up and they were in cruise control by the three quarter mark, and 3-4 to 0-9 to the good.
Martin McAteer notched a good point over his shoulder and the fleetingly fast Sweeney, added another before Seamie Coshia, chipped in with his first of the day. That was on 48 minutes, and Mark Friel was getting his acceptance cupla focal ready long before the final whistle, as ‘Nanny’ and Coshia added late points in what was a pretty impressive second half display.
While Lady Luck may have shone on them ever so slightly with the penalties,, for their work rate and effort throughout the park and greater economy, the new champions were worthy victors.
They were very solid at the back where Fergal Friel, Francis Sweeney, Joe Blaney and Paddy McConigley were steady throug out. Michaal Sweeney’s ball winning ability and searing pace gave them a vital edge in midfield while Seamie Nanny stole the show up front with Martin McAteer, Mark Friel and Brendan Callaghan doing well in supporting roles.
Jamie White, John Rose, Fiachra McGinley, James Flynn and Edward Kane were the men that tried hardest for St. Naul’s side that did not make enough of their first half possession.
Fanad Gaels will now join Termon in the All-Ireland Junior Gaeltacht finals in Ring, Waterford, on the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Fanad Gaels: Seamus McAteer; Ryan McConigley, Fergal Friel, Francis Sweeney; Joe Blaney, Paddy McConigley, Ronan McAteer; Kevin McElwaine, Michael Sweeney (1-1); Aidan McAteer, Seamie Friel (Nanny 2-5, 2-0 pen, 1f), Brendan Callaghan; Martin McAteer (0-1), Seamie Friel (Coshia 0-2), Mark Friel. Subs: Jimmy Coyle for B. Callaghan (46); Paul Coyle for J. Blaney (55); Paddy Shiels for S. Friel (Coshia) (58). Ciaran Coll for R. McAteer (59).
St. Nauls: Lee McBrearty; Conor McBrearty, Edward Kane, Karl Rose; Jamie White (0-2,1f), John Rose (0-1), Barry Griffin (0-1); Michael Quinn, Fiachra McGinley; Brian McCabe (0-1), Cathal Lowther, Eddie Gallagher; James Flynn (0-3,3f), Paul McGroarty (0-1), Stuart Johnston. Subs: Glen McDyre for B. McCabe (47); Barry Rose for C. Lowther (50); Liam McGroarty for F. McGinley (57); Kenny McDaid for P. McGroarty (58).
Referee: Connie Doherty (Naomh Conaill)