Dungloe Town are celebrating a first county title following victory over Casltlefin Celtic in the Donegal Schoolboys U-12 Champions’ League final in Finn Park last Thursday night.
Report: Tom Comack
Photos: Brian McDaid
Dungloe Town 1
Castlefin Celtic 0
A Daniel Ward goal two minutes into the game was enough to see the Rosses boys claim the glory and round off a brilliant season for manager Pat Ward and his side. They had already won the North West League and Cup and completed the treble at a damp and wet Ballybofey venue.
Ward struck when he connected with a cross from the right wing from Ethan Harkin just outside the box to drill past Declan Bryson. And while the strike took a deflection of a Castlefin defender, the goal most definitely belonged to Ward.
The winners dominated the early exchanges and were unlucky not to have added at least one more goal. Calum Boyle, was denied by the post on eight minutes - and they also had one or two other half chances as they controlled the opening quarter hour.
The Dungloe boys, who were physically stronger, looked a step above the Castlefin lads in those early exchanges. But once they got over their early nerves and awoke to the challenge, Donal Foy’s team gave as good as they got and technically were a very slick outfit .
And on the back of a good closing ten minutes to the first half they were a little unlucky not to have hit the target and go on in all square at the break.
This was down in no small way to a strong Dungloe defence of Mark McFadden and Aaron McClafferty in the centre of the defence and full-backs Liam McFadden and Danny McGlynn who were in no mood to give anything away.
The third quarter was pretty even with both sides creating chances but as the game wore on and Dungloe retreating, Castlefin, as they had done in the opening period pressed in the closing ten minutes and with Corey Lee Bogan threatening, Dungloe keeper Conor O’Donnell was called into action on a number of occasion.
Twice in the closing ten minutes O’Donnell was alert to take the ball off Bogan’s toes. In fairness to Dungloe they did create chances at the other end too and Castlefin keeper Declan Bryson had to be on his toes.
In a nail biting finish both sides scored but both scores were ruled out for offside. Dungloe’s Conor Proctor who had a very good second half raced on to a defence splitting pass from Daniel Ward to drill past the advancing Bryson.
Seconds later with the clock ticking the large Castlefin following nearly lifted the roof off the Finn Park stand, when Bogan stabbed the ball past O’Donnell, only for his strike to be ruled out for offside and what must have been a pretty close call.
Castlefin did press in the closing two minutes of additional time but it was all to no avail and after a cracking and highly entertaining encounter Dungloe held on for the win.
Thursday night’s meeting was the second between the sides. It took a penalty shoot-out separate them in the UEFA final at the Danone Cup qualifiers while in the group stages of the Champions League Dungloe emerged the victors at the end of a 5-4 thriller.
Dungloe Town: Conor O’Donnell; Danny McGlynn, Aaron McCafferty, Mark McFadden, Liam McFadden; Brian Proctor, Ronan Gallagher, Daniel Ward, Ethan Harkin, Calum Boyle (Mark Walsh, 54), Micheal McFadden (Pauric McGinty, 40).
Castlefin Celtic: Declan Bryson; Daniel Foy, Brandon Brogan, Conor McGrenra, Eoin McMenamin, Rory Dalton (Jack Meadows, 50), Paul Farrell, Oisin Fullen, Reece Gallagher, Corey Lee Brogan, Jordan O’Rourke (Aaron McMenamin, 43).
Referee: Mick Slator.