Ice cool Conor McDaid converted a real pressure kick to give Four Masters a last gasp draw in a feisty affair at Tir Conaill Park.
Four Masters . . . . . . . . . . . 0-16
Sean MacCumhaill's . . . . . 2-10
For the second week in-a-row, Masters left it very late to get parity of esteem for a deserved outcome as neither side deserved to lose.
But veteran late replacement referee Pat Walsh got loads of what could be very diplomatically described as “spirited advice” from supporters and mentors of both sides as they drove for victory in those final frenetic moments.
MacCumhaill's were not happy with the final free that was awarded to Masters centre-back Leo McHugh, but there was a definite free for the home sides seconds earlier.
But this was a very entertaining affair, studded with some fine scores from both sides, with Darren O’Leary of MacCumhaill's striking some glorious points.
Both sides were without their county player - Karl Lacey and Martin O'Reilly.
At times it threatened to boil over, but did not quite go over the edge in a match where an injury to MacCumhaill's star midfielder Nathan Gavigan was a key moment in this well contested affair.
The son of the great Rambo Gavigan is even bigger than his dad, and he and Steven O’Reilly ruled midfield in the opening half.
But all changed utterly after half-time when he had to go off injured and Masters veteran Barry Monaghan and the towering Kevin McBrearty took over, to change the complexion of this hard fought affair.
Sean MacCumhaill's led by 2-6 to 0-9 at half-time and were well worth their lead and were also awarded two penalties in that opening half.
O’Leary got them off the brightest of starts when he drilled a penalty low to the right of diving Masters 'keeper James McDaid.
Referee Walsh had no hesitation in giving the penalty as O’Leary and Masters corner back Darren Walsh got into a bit of a tango.
Some Masters fans felt it was a tad harsh, but there was no massive protest from their players.
Masters hit back with points from McDaid and Sean O’Kennedy.
But they were rocked again in the 9th minute when bustling MacCumhaill's wing back Darren McGowan (who is a bit like the great Red Pat Collier of Meath) went on a defence splitting run.
He found the lively Barney Lafferty who quickly transferred to Stephen Mulligan, who found the net in the blink of an eye.
This was the score of the match and gave the Twin Towns side a priceless cushion.
But they spurned another great chance when O’Leary hit a much more clear cut penalty wide in the 19th minute when the Twin Towns side were leading by 2-4 to 0-7.
To their credit Masters refused to yield and hit further points from McDaid, O’Kennedy and Leo McHugh.
Masters were the dominant side for the third quarter and quickly set about overhauling the MacCumhaill's lead.
O’Leary opened the scoring for MacCumhaill's, but this was their last effort until the 43rd minute.
And it took a great save from MacCumhaill's keeper Christopher Patton to deny Darren Doherty’s rocket from hitting the net in the 33rd minute.
Masters took the lead for the first time through substitute Dillon Ward in the 47th minute.
That set the pattern for a ding- dong passionate final ten minutes.
Steven O’Reilly hit a superb point for the visitors to put them ahead by 2-9 to 0-14.
The final minutes were hectic as both sets of mentors were encroaching on the field and matters were not helped by the absence of a designated linesman on the side next the stand.
But this did not unduly detract from an enjoyable affair.
Four Masters veteran Barry Monaghan felt a draw was probably a fair result.
He said he thought the first penalty awarded was a bit “harsh”.
“I don’t think there was much in it but MacCumhaill's were clearly the better team in the first half.
“Their forwards were very lively, they were on top at midfield and we just could not really get going.
“They lost Nathan Gavigan at half-time which was a major factor.
“But we had a chat in the dressing room at half time and were much more determined in the second half.
“We did not have Karl Lacey and we are a different team when he is there and Michael Doherty picked up an injury.
“And we are losing some players to the US so it is pretty tough going.
“But I thought our young lads showed a lot of character in the second half.”
Four Masters: James McDaid; Darren Walsh, Daire Quinn, Dylan Kennedy; Barry Dunnion, Leo McHugh (0-1), John Boyle; Patrick Reid, Sean O’Kennedy (0-2), Darren Doherty (0-2), Conor McMonagle (0-3,1f), Conor McDaid (0-6,6f); Barry Monaghan, Dillon Muldoon, Kevin McBrearty (0-1). Sub., Dillon Ward (0-1) for D Walsh ht
Sean MacCumhaill's: Christopher Patton; Gerard Grindle, Martin Gallagher, Sean McGowan; Darren McGowan, Gary Dunnion, Shane Duffy; Steven O’Reilly (0-1), Nathan Gavigan; Alan Patton, Joe Dunnion (0-1), Adam Lynch (0-1); Stephen Mulligan (1-2,1f), Darren O’Leary (1-4, 1 pen), Barney Lafferty. Sub., Cormac Muldoon for N Gavigan inj ht.
Referee: Pat Walsh (Bundoran)
Milford up to second
Milford moved up to second position in Division 2, after they proved too strong for St Naul’s in Mountcharles on Saturday evening.
St Naul’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-10
Milford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-13
The home side started the game well and established a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after nine minutes, with Daniel Brennan posting three scores.
Milford replied with points from Gary Merritt and Joey Cullen, before Stephen Griffin got in behind the Milford defence and drilled to the net in the 18th minute.
However, Merritt scored a rather fortunate goal with Milford’s next attack and they got back on level terms with a Cathal McGettigan free.
St Naul’s kept plugging away and three Griffin frees saw them lead by a goal at the interval.
Milford had plenty to do, but they made a blistering start to the second half.
Cathal McGettigan landed a brace and Luke Barrett pointed a free, before Cullen scored a super goal.
Cathal Lowther kicked a point for St Naul’s, but Milford were dominant and in Cathal McGettigan, they had a dead-ball specialist who was in fantastic form, and he helped himself to another five points, while Luke Barrett was also on target.
Griffin replied with two frees, but it was Milford who deservedly collected the league points.
St Naul’s: Patrick Burke; Conor McBrearty, Brendan McCole, Brian McCabe; John Rose, Aidan Kennedy, Cathal Lowther (0-1); Lee McBrearty, Stephen Griffin (1-5,5fs); Brian McGroary (0-1), Danny McDyre, Des McGroarty; Shane Conneely, Daniel Brennan (0-3), Andrew Gallagher. Subs: Caolan Gaffney, Martin Breslin, Glen McDyre, Liam McGroarty.
Milford: Caolan McGettigan; Conor McNulty, Barry McNulty, TJ Evesson; Gary Merritt (1-1), Paddy Peoples, Sean Black; Luke Barrett (0-2, 1f), Joey Cullen (1-1); Darragh Black, Pauric Curley, Jonny Logue; David Curley, Christopher Barrett, Cathal McGettigan (0-9, 4fs,1’45’). Subs: Kieran Sheridan, Kyle Black, Anthony Fisher.
Naomh Muire snatch late draw
Naomh Muire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-11
Malin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-8
Young Jack Boyle was the hero for Naomh Muire after his last gasp free earned a draw for the home side against a lively Malin outfit.
Malin got a tonic start with an early goal from Seamus Houghton as he clinically found the Naomh Muire net.
Shell- shocked Naomh Muire took a while to settle as Malin added a point before Harry Harden and Co responded with a series of points.
Exchanges were hard hitting but fair as both sides vied for supremacy with Benny McLaughlin and Dan McDaid prominent for Malin and Sean ‘Yank’ Boyle and Johnny McCafferty steady for the home side.
The sides were level at the interval on a score of Naomh Muire 0-7, Malin 1-4.
The chief feature of the second half was two quick fire goals for both sides.
Patrick Gillespie of Naomh Muire and Paul McLaughlin of Malin exchanged early goals as matters intensified in the second half.
The home side created the more chances with Harden and Sean “Yank” Boyle all on target for them.
But the lively Benny McLaughlin, who hit an impressive 0-6 and Dan McDaid kept the visitors just in front, until Jack Og Boyle ensured a deserved draw for the home team.
Good away win for Killybegs
Cloughaneely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0-10
Killybegs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0-11
Cloughaneely will be disappointed to not come away with at least a draw, in their neck and neck game against Killybegs in Páirc Naomh Fhionán on Saturday evening.
But once again, the sheer scoring power of county panelist Hugh McFadden was crucial in this narrow but valuable victory for the Fishermen.
The home side had the better of the exchanges in the opening half and deservedly led by 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval.
Martin McGuire and Darren Ferry were on target for the home side while the inevitable McFadden replied for the visitors.
But the home team could only register three points in the entire second half and were held scoreless for a period of 20 minutes.
At the other end, McFadden and Christopher Murrin were on target for the feisty Fishermen.
Cloughaneely ended their scoring famine through Martin McGuire in the 63rd minute, but Killybegs clung on for victory after 66 minutes.
Cloughaneely: Shaun McClafferty, Cian McFadden, Paul McFadden, John Harley; Paddy Cannon, Darren McGeever, Ronan Cannon; Kevin Mulhern (0-1), Ciaran Scanlon (0-1); John McGarvey (0-1), Darren Ferry (0-3), Mark Harley; Martin McGuire (0-3, 3f), Shaun McGuire, Ciaran McFadden (0-1)
Killybegs: Kevin Martin, Daniel O’Donnell, Ciaran Conaghan, Gavin Boyle, Christopher Cunningham, Shane Molloy, Owen Gallagher, Pauric Conaghan, Hugh McFadden (0-8,6f), David McGuinness, Christopher Murrin (0-2), John Ban Gallagher, Donal McGuire (0-1), Rory McCallig, Evan Broderick.
Valuable home win for Glenfin
Glenfin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-6
Naomh Columba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-7
Two goals either side of half-time from Kevin McGlynn were the key scores in this vital victory for the home side over youthful, but wasteful Naomh Columba at Pairc Taobhoige.
A lively Glen rocked the home side through a lightning goal after just 20 seconds, when Philip McNern found the net, after a brisk opening move.
Pauric O’Neill added a point before Glenfin settled. It took a full ten minutes for the locals to get on the score sheet, courtesy of a Paddy O’Connor free.
The Glenfin marksman followed this up with a point from play two minutes later.
Frank McGlynn hit a point in the 23rdminute, just before Kevin McGlynn’s seminal strike.
McGlynn hit a rocket to the top corner of the Glen net after a well worked move that left the sides level at 1-3 apiece at half-time.
Both teams were reduced to 14 men when Glen’s Paddy Byrne and Stephen McGlynn were given straight red cards.
But the match was barely a minute old on the restart when the predatory McGlynn struck again, to give his side a priceless cushion.
O’Connor underlined this advantage with another converted free four minutes later.
Glen had loads of possession but could not translate that fact to the scoreboard as they racked up 11 wides over the hour.
In contrast, Glenfin were much more economical as they finished this close encounter on a firmer note.
Glen could only hit four points in the second half, all coming from frees from Ryan Gillespie while O’Connor and Michael McGlynn were on target for the winners.
A valuable and deserved victory for Glenfin, but Naomh Columba will need to sharpen up in front of the posts if they are to fulfill their excellent approach work.