St. Michael’s and Naomh Conaill had to be happy with a share of the points at the end of a cracking game of football played at the Bridge, in Dunfanaghy, on Sunday afternoon.
St. Michael’s 0-15
Naomh Conaill 1-12
Report: Tom Comack
It was a fitting enough result to a game that ebbed and flowed from the first whistle to the last with both sides enjoying their periods of possession and territorial dominance.
Twenty eight scores, 14 different marksmen in 60 plus minutes of football laced with passages of fast free flowing play with only two yellow cards, both Naomh Conaill. This game had everything and was well refereed by Seamus McGonagle, who let the play flow and did not blow for every minor indiscretion. Take a bow St. Michael’s, Naomh Conaill and Seamus McGonagle.
Colm McFadden converted three frees, Michael McGinley stroked over a ‘45’ while Christy Toye, Brian McLaughlin, Martin McGinley and Raymond McLaughlin all split the Naomh Conaill posts to give St. Michael’s a 0-8 to 0-6 half-time lead.
Anthony Thompson with two trademark points, Johnny McLoone, Dermot ‘Brick’Molloy, Leon Thompson and Darragh Gallagher all scored for Naomh Conaill to ensure it was all to play for at the end of a half in which there was never more than two points between the sides.
As St. Michael’s moved up through the gears at the start of the second period they extended their advantage out to five points, 0-11 to 0-5, within three minutes of the restart.
But with Leo McLoone, who had a quiet first half, rising to the challenge, the champions responded in true fashion. And by the end of the third quarter thanks to points from Darragh Gallagher and John O’Malley, who posted three in-a-row, they were back on level terms.
When with ten minutes remaining Leon Thompson ran on to a pass from his brother Anthony to rattle Ciaran Gallagher’s net, there was a rush of money onto Naomh Conaill.
Leading 1-12 to 0-11, with just over ten minutes remaining it looked as if the Naomh Conaill legs and lungs were lasting the pace the better.
But those thinking that way had not counted on the intervention of Christy Toye, Martin McElhinney and Raymond McLaughlin, who all fired over points in the closing minutes to ensure Eddie Harkin and his men took something from a tie that seemed all but gone as the clocked ticked down.
Toye and McLaughlin scored the closing two points for the deserved draw; the least St. Michael’s deserved for their performance in a game that will take beating for entertainment and excitement value not to mention the quality fare for the rest of the season.
St. Michael’s: Ciaran Gallagher; Brendan Rodden, Stephen Doak, Peter Witherow; Gerard Gallagher, Michael McGinley (0-1, ‘45’), Michael Gallagher; Ciaran Gallagher (Rock), Martin McElhinney (0-2); Daniel McLaughlin (0-2), Antoin McFadden, Christy Toye (0-3); Colm McFadden (0-4,4f), Brian McLaughlin (0-1), Raymond McLaughlin (0-2). Subs: Lorcan McDaid for C. Gallagher (Rock) (20); Andrew Kelly for G. Gallagher (48).
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Thomas Donoghue, Johnny Bonner, Jason Campbell; Cathal Ellis, Anthony Thompson (0-2), Eoin Waide; Leo McLoone, Martin Regan; Darragh Gallagher (0-4,4f), Seamus Corcoran, John O’Malley (0-3); Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy (0-1,1f), Johnny McLoone (0-1), Leon Thompson (1-1). Sub: A.J. Gallagher for S. Corcoran (40).
Referee: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh).