Gaoth Dobhair and St Eunan’s shared the points in a high quality, fast flowing league opener in Magheragallon yesterday.
Gaoth Dobhair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-14
St Eunan’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-14
Full-forward Gavin McBride was the toast of the local support after his late penalty earned his team a thoroughly deserved draw with the men O’Donnell Park.
McBride also kicked seven points, six of the from placed balls, most of them from close range but five of them into a stiff second half breeze.
Gaoth Dobhair led by a point, 2-6 to 1-8, at half-time thanks to two first half goals in the space of five minutes at the start of the second quarter from Micheál Roarty, who was an early replacement for Peter McGee.
The first on 15 minutes was a flicked effort from a Michael Carroll shot on goals that seemed to be going wide. And he struck for the second when he got on the end of a good move involving Cian Mulligan, Niall Friel and Noel Kelly.
New St Eunan’s manager David McGinley will be concerned at the ease in which his defence was opened up for Roarty’s second goal.
The goal propelled the locals into a 2-3 to 1-2 lead. Donnacha Gallagher scrambled home the St Eunan’s goal in between Roarty’s two strikes after Darragh Mulgrew’s initial effort was blocked on the line. Mulgrew had a big first half with his ball carrying ability a huge factor in St Eunan’s being in a good position at the half-time break.
St Eunan’s response to the second Gaoth Dobhair goal was positive and Peter Devine, Cillian Morrison and Lee McMonagle all raised white flags to tie up the game approaching the interval.
MacNiallais with a late point sent Gaoth Dobhair in one up at the break.
McBride made it a three point game within five minutes of the restart before John Haran boxed St Eunan’s second goal for a 2-9 to 2-8 lead.
And when Morrison struck for St Eunan’s third goal early in the final quarter the margin was out to three points.
Gaoth Dobhair, thanks to points from McBride and MacNiallais, made it a one point game before Cillian Morrison and Lee McMonagle restored St Eunan’s three point margin with the clock ticking.
And the margin was still three when Noel Kelly was hauled down for the penalty and McBride made no mistake from the spot for the draw.
Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; Gary McFadden, Jamie Reynolds, James Boyle; Jonathan Harkin, Eamon McGee, Cian Mulligan (0-1); Peter McGee, Michael Carroll (0-1); Niall Friel, Odhran MacNiallais (0-4, 2f), Kevin Cassidy; Darragh Boyle, Gavin McBride (1-7, 1-0 pen, 6f), Noel Kelly (0-1). Subs: Micheál Roarty (2-0) for P McGee (9); Anthony Blair for N Friel (59).
St Eunan’s: John Paul Clarke; Darragh McWalter, Caolan Ward, Conor Morrison (0-1); Eamon Doherty, Conall Dunne, Conall O’Boyle; Rory Kavanagh (0-2), Darragh Mulgrew (0-2); Peter Devine (0-2), John Haran (1-0), Conor Parke (0-1); Lee McMonagle (0-3,1f), Donnacha Gallagher (1-0), Cillian Morrison (0-3).
Referee: Liam McConigley (Downings)