For the second year in-a-row St Eunan’s and Naomh Conaill have emerged from the pack and will contest the Donegal Minor Championship final.
The final is on Sunday in St Mary’s Park, Convoy, throw in 4 pm.
St Eunan’s are the reigning champions and they will be up against the recently crowned Division One League champions.
John O’Malley, a member of the current Naomh Conaill senior team and a minor championship winner himself with the club back in 2009, is the Naomh Conaill manager.
And in his first year in the job having served his apprenticeship in recent years as part of the minor management, he has taken over as manager from Michael O’Donnell.
That 2009 success was over Sunday’s opponents St Eunan’s and was the last of Naomh Conaill’s five county minor titles.
“The Brick (Dermot Molloy) and Cathal Ellis were the big men in that team. I was just 16 and I had two more years at minor,” said the Naomh Conaill boss, a first year student in Sports Science at Dublin City University. Naomh Conaill defeated Four Masters, Ardara and Aodh Ruadh to win the Southern Regional Championship. Their win over Aodh Ruadh in the final was their toughest test so far.
Eoghan McGettigan scored 3-5 and Shane McDevitt hit three goals in their 7-9 to 3-19 win over Aodh Ruadh, in the regional decider.
The other goal was scored by by Jack Flannery after being introduced off the bench.
And Jack Flannery was among the goals when they hit four against St Michael’s in their 4-21 to 2-3 win.
Flannery (2) Paul McGuinness and McGettigan were the goalscorers against the Northern Regional runners-up.
“The Aodh Ruadh game was our toughest so far; we only won by two points, thankfully Shane and Eoghan scored the goals to see us over the line,” the Naomh Conaill boss told the Democrat.
St. Eunan’s toughest test was also against Aodh Ruadh; that was in their last game, the county semi-final
Niall O’Donnell scored five points and Evan McCroary scored the goal for St Eunan’s their 1-15 to 1-8 win over the Ernesiders, in Convoy, the venue for Sunday’s final.
Niall O’Donnell and Niall Hannigan were the standout players for St Eunan’s, who squandered a number of good goal chances.
St Eunan’s, who are managed by Jim Clarke, were 1-12 to 1-7 winners over Gaoth Dobhair in Magheragallon, in the first round.
In the second round, they defeated Sean MacCumhaill’s, 2-14 to 0-10, in O’Donnell Park, before proving far too strong for St Mary’s, Convoy, in their 5-18 to 1-1 regional semi-final win.
And in the Northern final they recorded a five point, 1-9 to 0-7, win over St Michael’s, under the lights in Buncrana.
Niall O’Donnell, Aaron Deeney, Oisin and Darragh Toal are some of the big name players in the St Eunan’s lineup. They were all members of this year’s Donegal Ulster minor championship winning team, with O’Donnell joint captain.
But St Eunan’s, who area big and physical side, have quality right through the team. Brian McIntyre, Kevin Kealy, Sean McGettigan, Niall Hannigan and Oisin O’Boyle are just a number of the other players in Clarke’s squad who have been to the fore in the run to the final.
Kieran Gallagher, J D Boyle, Eoghan McGettigan and Jack Flannery are the county minors in John O’Malley’s squad.
Logan Quinn is the team captain while Paul McGuinness, at full-forward, and Shane McDevitt at corner-forward along with McGettigan are the danger men up front for Naomh Conaill.
McGuinness, with a dead leg picked up in the semi-final win over St Michael’s, is John O’Malley’s injury concern this week.
St Eunan’s are believed to have a clean bill of health.
Verdict: St Eunan’s.
Naomh Conaill squad: James Boyle, Oran McDevitt, Charlie McDonnell, Odhran Doherty; Cian Doherty, Logan Quinn (c), Keelan McGill, Kieran Gallagher, Tony Byrne; Paul McGuinness, Jack Flannery, J D Boyle, Jeaic McKelvey, Eoghan McGettigan, Shane McDevitt, Paul Molloy, Danny Gallagher, Nathan Byrne, Keelan McMonagle, Leo Dunphy, Manus McDyre, Sean Roarty, Sean Coughlan.
St Eunan’s squad: Matthew Gallagher, Rory McCrossan, Darragh Toal, Sean Halvey, Brian McIntyre, Aaron Deeney, Michael McGroary,Oisín Toal, Sean McGettigan, Oisin O’Boyle, Niall Hannigan, Kevin Kealy, Evan McCroary, Niall O’Donnell, Oisín Purdy, Eoin O’Boyle,Matthew McGovern, Éoin McGeehin, Patrick McColgan, Dylan McCroary,Louis Hasson, Jerome Angel-Atuahene, Ciaran McCloskey, Fionn Clarke, Ryan Hilferty, Shane Maguire, Peter McEniff, Eoin McLaughlin.