Ciaran Thompson fields above Daire Quinn in Glenties. Photo jmac
A strangely lethargic Naomh Conaill eventually edged out a gritty Four Masters in a close and exciting affair that had precious few patches of good football at the Davy Brennan Memorial.
Naomh Conaill 1-9
Four Masters 0-11
And it tooK two late points from the impressive Ciaran Thompson and Brendan McDyer to ensure victory for Martin Regan’s men.
Both sides looked nervous for long periods with Glenties hitting nine to Four Masters total of six.
And the usually productive Dermot Molloy had a relatively quiet afternoon and hit a number of wides.
It was left to Ciaran Thompson (in patches), Jeaic MacCeallbhui and Ethan O’Donnell to spur on their troops as the home fans waited in vain for their team to cruise through as expected.
This did not happen mainly because the Masters showed that their recent defeat of Gaoth Dobhair was no fluke.
The winners also lost sub J D Boyle, who was only on the field for a few minutes, before he got a red card from referee Andrew Mullin.
A dreadful mistake from Four Masters stand-in keeper Eamon Jordan was the catalyst for a somewhat choppy Naomh Conaill to get the expected result at the Davy Brennan Memorial Park.
Jordan’s short kick was gratefully swallowed up by the promising Jeaic MacCeallbhui who kept calm before leaving the experienced Brendan McDyer with the simplest of tap ins in the 24th minute.
McDyer’s calm finish pushed the home side to a 1-3 to 0-2 lead.
And it came just three minutes after underdogs Masters spurned a great chance of taking a decisive lead.
Wiry corner forward a Glenties player pulled down Sean Meehan in the square and Killybegs referee Andrew Mullin had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Masters towering midfielder Kevin McBrearty tried to side foot the ball to Stephen Mc Grath’s but the keeper guessed right and smothered the shot.
Both sides were guilty to some dreadful shooting in the opening half with Glenties hitting seven to the Masters tally of two.
This was a very low scoring affair with neither side looking like putting any real stamp of authority on matters.
Barry Dunnion and Karl Lacey battled hard for the Masters and Marty Boyle did a reasonable job of sweeping.
The winners were well worth their 1-4 to 0-4 lead at half-time.
But Masters 'keeper Jordan atoned for his earlier error when he dived to brilliantly deny a rasper from A J Gallagher after the latter was set up by McDyer.
Glenties looked very hesitant and could only manage one point in the opening ten minutes of the half from Thompson.
But with veterans Lacey and Dunnion playing like teenagers and towering midfielder Kevin McBrearty showing that he might be county material, Masters took the game to Glenties in the final quarter.
And they were rewarded with some very well struck long- range points from McBrearty, Lacey and accurate marksman Thomas McGowan to level matters with three minutes to go.
But those two late points gave Glenties a vital if somewhat unimpressive win.
NAOMH CONAILL: Stephen McGrath, Ultan Doherty, A J Gallagher, Jason Campbell; Kevin McGettigan, Anthony Thompson, Eoin Waide; Ciaran Thompson (0-4), Ciaran Gallagher; Jeaic MacCeallbhui, Dermot Molloy (0-1), Marty Boyle (0-1);, Brendan McDyer (1-2) Seamus Corcoran (0-1) Ethan O’Donnell. Subs: John O’Malley for Corcoran (44) Eoghan McGettigan for Gallagher (44) J D Boyle for Doherty (49)
FOUR MASTERS: Eamon Jordan, Ryan O’Donnell, Enda Bonner, Dara Quinn; Barry Dunnion, Dylan Kennedy, Aaron McCrea; Karl Lacey (0-2), Kevin McBrearty (0-2); Leo McHugh (0-1), Darren Doherty, Caolan Loughney (0-1); Thomas McGowan (0-3f) Paddy Reid (0-1) Sean Meehan (0-1)
REFEREE: Andrew Mullin (Killybegs)