Reigning champions Naomh Conaill came good in the second half to overcome a young Termon side in Davy Brennan Park on Saturday evening.
Naomh Conaill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-11
Termon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-2
The visitors gave as good as they got in the opening half, but a shoulder injury to Ricky Gallagher on the stroke of half-time was a big turning point. The Termon midfielder had been their stand-out player in the opening half, but he had to be removed by ambulance after picking up a nasty injury.
After a delay of some 45 minutes to allow Gallagher to be removed, the game changed completely.
The sides were level as Michael McShane blew for half-time with Gallagher receiving treatment with Termon putting it up to Naomh Conaill.
The home side were very rusty in the opening half and trailed 1-1 to 0-2 after 15 minutes when the aforementioned Ricky Gallagher cut through the Naomh Conaill defence, threw a lovely dummy before sliding the ball to the net.
Naomh Conaill hit seven first half wides and Eunan Doherty hit a crossbar after an effort from Dermot Molloy dropped short on four minutes. They needed two good Dara Gallagher points to get back on terms before the break.
However, on the resumption they were a different outfit and the Termon balloon seemed to have punctured. Young Ethan O'Donnell, impressive at midfield, hit two points inside three minutes before Dara Gallagher finished a great move in style to the Termon net.
Ahead by 1-6 to 1-1, Naomh Conaill pushed for home and they had four more points on the board before Termon got their solitary point of the second half from substitute James McSharry. Dermot Molloy (3) and county minor, Eoghan McGettigan, were the Naomh Conaill scorers.
It was fitting that Dermot Molloy to the final score in added time after a great run from Kevin McGettigan.
Termon had Brendan Friel black carded on 44 minutes; he was on the field for just three minutes.
The Naomh Conaill men were without Anthony Thompson, suspended after being red carded in the Ulster Club Championship last year against Trillick. However, their main men - Leo Molloy, Dermot Molloy and Dara Gallagher were up for the contest while Ethan O'Donnell and Ciaran Thompson also played well.
For Termon, they will take plenty from their first half display. The loss of Ricky Gallagher was a major blow and hopefully he will be back in action when the next series of games takes place.
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Aaron Thompson, Kevin McGettigan, Stephen Molloy; Marty Boyle (0-1), Leo McLoone, Eoin Waide; Ciaran Thompson, Ethan O'Donnell (0-2); Dara Gallagher (1-2), Dermot Molloy (0-5,1f), Eunan O'Donnell; John O'Malley, Seamus Corcoran, Leon Thompson. Subs., Eoghan McGettigan (0-1) for S Molloy ht; Cathal Ellis for L Thompson 56; Stephen Molloy for A Thompson 61.
Termon: Conor Tinney; Anthony McGrenra, Kevin McDaid, Shaun O'Donnell; Enda McCormick, Kevin McElwaine, Austin Marron; Ricky Gallagher (1-0), Caolan Mellett; Shane Callaghan, Johnny McCafferty, Aidan Sweeney; Caolan McDaid, Nathan McElwaine, Daire McDaid (0-1,f). Subs., Daniel Connaghan for Callaghan 31; James McSharry (0-1) for R Gallagher ht; Brendan Friel for Sweeney 43; Fintan Flynn for Friel, bcard 56; Joe O'Donnell for S O'Donnell 51.
Referee: Michael McShane (Kilcar)
Gaoth Dobhair stepped up in the second half to maintain their winning start to the season as the chalked up a six point win over Four Masters in Magheragallon.
Gaoth Dobhair 2-12
Four Masters 1-9
Second half goals from Gavin McBride and Ciaran Gillespie made this easy in the end for the men from the Gaeltacht, who had it far from their all their own way against a game Four Masters.
There may be a full division between the sides in the All-County Football League - Gaoth Dobhair are unbeaten at the top of division one and Four Masters are the pacesetters at the top of the second division, but at times, especially in the first half, Four Masters were in this game, though in fairness to Gaoth Dobhair, they always seemed to be ahead.
The locals playing into a stiff breeze got off to a good enough start and had raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead courtesy of two Gavin McBride points, one from a close-in free - the game’s opening score on 50 seconds - and the other a fine effort off his left foot from a tight angle, as well as one each from Michael Carroll and Kevin Cassidy.
Conor McMonagle scored the first of his tally of 1-5 on nine minutes to tie up the game as both sides were wayward in their shooting.
Two late points in the half from Barry Monaghan and Karl Lacey made it a one point game before the elusive Owen Ward sent Gaoth Dobhair in two in front at half-time, 0-5 to 0-3.
Four Masters were guilty of posting eight first half wides and also dropped two scorable chances into the arms of Christopher Sweeney in the Gaoth Dobhair goals.
Great credit must go to the Four Masters defence who worked hard to hold the locals to just five scores and Ryan Haughey, in the Four Masters goals, who made a brilliant save to deny Odhran MacNiallais an almost certain goal.
The locals got motoring on the resumption. Kevin Cassidy made it a three point game within 15 seconds of the restart.
And when Cian Mulligan and Naoise O Baoill began to run at the Masters defence the holes began to appear
MacNiallais extended the margin out to four before McBride struck for the first of the goals when he polished off a sweeping move involving Mulligan and MacNiallais with a brilliant strike to the roof of the Masters net.
That was on 35 minutes and opened up a 1-8 to 0-5 lead; Lacey and McMonagle registered the early second half points for the visitors.
And there was no way back for the Masters when Gillespie flicked to the net for Gaoth Dobhair’s second green flag six minutes later after McBride’s initial strike came back off the post.
Leading 2-8 to 0-6 with a little under 20 minutes remaining, Gaoth Dobhair were not going to be caught. In fairness to Four Masters they played to the finish and McMonagle did post a goal and two points to Gaoth Dobhair’s 0-4 in the closing quarter hour. The goal came from the penalty spot after Michael Doherty was fouled two minutes from the end.
Gaoth Dobhair looked good when they got going in the second half and they had too much power and pace for the Masters.
Michael Carroll and Peter McGee gave them an edge at midfield throughout and once they got going the power and pace of Ciaran Gillespie, Odhran MacNiallais, Cian Mulligan and Naoise O Baoill carved the openings that paved the way for the victory that was comfortable in the end.
Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; Gary McFadden, Neil McGee, Jamie Reynolds; Cian Mulligan, Ciaran Gillespie (1-0), Eamonn McGee; Peter McGee, Michael Carroll (0-2); Niall Friel, Odhran MacNiallais (0-3,2f, Kevin Cassidy (0-2); Owen Ward (0-2), Gavin McBride (1-2,1f), Naoise O'Baoill. Subs; Daire O Baoill for N Friel 30;
Four Masters: Ryan Haughey; Darren Walsh, Kevin Breslin, Dylan Haughey (0-1,og); Daire Quinn, Karl Lacey (0-2), John Boyle; Kevin McBrearty, Sean O'Kennedy; Darren Doherty, Conor McMonagle (1-5, 1-0 penalty, 3f), Caolan Loughney; Barry Monaghan (0-2), Dillon Muldoon, Leo McHugh. Subs: Conor McDaid for D Doherty 48; Patrick Reid for C Loughney 51; Michael Doherty for D Walsh 53.
Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs).