Big guns St Eunan’s had simply too much power and panache for a gritty but generally outgunned Killybegs side in Fintra on Saturday.
St Eunan’s 2-14
The losers' best spell came in the opening half when they were holding St. Eunan's to a 0-5 to 0-1 lead by the 28th minute.
But the outstanding Rory Kavanagh, who was like a cruising Mercedes, found Conall Dunne on loads of room on the edge of the Fishermen’s square, and the fair haired centre forward struck a low left footed shot to the net.
That was the real killer blow in this lively affair where big Hugh McFadden caused Eunan’s loads of problems in that opening half.
But six wides from fairly scorable positions proved to be their undoing.
The hard working McFadden found himself clear on the Letterkenny goal in the 12th minute.
For an instant a goal beckoned, but the otherwise excellent McFadden hesitated and the ball was swept away.
Letterkenny were only leading by 0-3 to 0-1 at that stage and the Division Two side really needed an early goal to make a real match of it.
Instead they suffered two fairly heavy blows when wing back Christy Cunningham was carried off with a fairly serious injury in the 5th minute.
And inspirational centre back Shane Molloy was black carded for what appeared to be a hand trip on Paddy McGowan in the 25th minute.
This was followed a few minutes later by Dunne’s clinical goal to put Eunan’s ahead by 1-6 to 0-2 at half-time while playing into a slight breeze.
Hugh McFadden hit a monster point for the losers in the 8th minute to level matters, but he hit three wides in the next ten minutes.
In contrast, Rory Kavanagh, who had a Michael Murphy type role between midfield and full forward, looked very sharp and weighed in with three well struck points to steady his younger colleagues' nerves.
The winners had a strong physical presence in the middle of the field with the 40ish John Haran and Sean Hensey giving them a slight edge over McFadden, Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Pauric Conaghan.
But it was Eunan’s ability to strike on the counter attack like a rattler, that was most apparent.
Caolan Ward, Peter Devine and Conor Morrison frequently broke at pace, and tested the Killybegs defence to the limit.
And accurate corner forward Conor Gibbons struck some superb points in the second half.
It was Gibbons who got the opening score of that half with a confidently struck left-footed point
David Tyrrell was then put through on goal but his rasper cannoned off the crossbar and went over for a point.
Hugh McFadden and David McGuinness were on target for Killybegs, but Paddy McGowan and Kavanagh stretched the Letterkenny lead to 1-10 to 0-5 by the 45th minute.
Eunan’s mentors, obviously thinking of a tough encounter with St Michael’s, then replaced Kavanagh and Hensey with Conor Parke and the mercurial Lee McMonagle.
But five minutes later they were briefly rocked when Pauric Conaghan superbly finished off a six- man move to the St Eunan’s net.
That left the leaders ahead by 1-10 to 1-5, but the losers just did not have the power to capitalize on that goal.
Meanwhile Gibbons put his stamp on the final ten minutes with some well-struck points.
And this encounter was well sealed when corner back Conor Morrison was left with a simple tap in after good work by Eamon Doherty and Lee McMonagle.
A comfortable and deserved victory for a Eunan’s side that were minus Kevin Rafferty, Darragh Mulgrew and Rory Carr.
But they will face a much tougher task next week at the Bridge.
Killybegs battled bravely and could have been much closer to their opponents at half-time had they converted some relatively easy chances.
But, despite their resolve, they just did not have the resources to cause a real upset a la Termon over Gaoth Dobhair