The big story is that Naomh Conaill’s Leo McLoone, whose club Donegal New York was due to play in the Bronx in the county final yesterday along with Gaoth Dobhair star Odhran MacNiallais against Monaghan was actually playing in Pearse Park.
Naomh Conaill 2-13
Leo was then to fly out to play in New York in the early hours of the morning for a game that was due to start at 3pm US time.
He was wearing 25 and while he did not start, nobody doubted that the man who dragged them over the line to a county title in 2015 would be on the park.
It had been strongly rumoured that the Abbey Vocational School teacher would not be available for this quarter-final.
And an equally big story was the magnificent display from Killybegs star midfielder Hugh McFadden who hit a stupendous 12 points for the loser.
Truly he is the Michael Murphy of the Fishermen and gave one of the finest individual performances this writer has seen in almost 30 years covering Donegal GAA.
But his presence was the strongest indication that Glenties were not going to take their struggling neighbours lightly.
In the end, he was not really needed, as two killer first half goals were the main reason that Glenties predictably advanced as he came on in the 48th minute
The first came in the 9th minute after an exquisite move involving the elegant Ethan O’Donnell, Ultan Doherty and ended with the youthful but extremely confident Eoghan McGettigan being patient before threading the ball through a forest of defenders to the Killybegs net.
This was the first of two hammer blows inflicted on the Hugh McFadden inspired Fishermen and put Killybegs into a 2-5 to 0-8 interval lead.
Dermot “Brick” Molloy contested a high hanging ball in the Killybegs square that came in from Ciaran Thompson.
Towering Killybegs keeper Michael Mullen seemed to be about to catch the ball but the opportunistic Dermot Brick Molloy seemed to punch the ball out of the much taller keeper’s hand to the net.
Molloy’s strike put Glenties into a 2- 3 to 0-4 lead and really broke the hearts of the Fishermen who had the benefit of a first half breeze.
Glenties led by 2-5 to 0-8 at the interval.
And it looked like they were going to pull well clear with two early points from the influential Dermot Molloy and a magnificent effort from midfielder Ciaran Thompson.
But cometh the crisis and cometh the magnificent McFadden who dragged his team repeatedly back into contention.
Matters got livelier in that second half and referee Robbie O’Donnell gave Glenties full back AJ Gallagher a black card.
Meanwhile Eunan Doherty and Ethan O’Donnell saw red in the 55th and 62nd minutes for second yellow cards for the winners.
Gallant Killybegs kept pressing with McFadden in the thick of the action, but Glenties hung tough and are now in the semi-final.
NAOMH CONAILL: Stephen McGrath, Kevin McGettigan, A J Gallagher, Jason Campbell; Eunan Doherty, Anthony Thompson (0-1) Eoin Waide; Ciaran Thompson (0-1), Ethan O’Donnell; Eoghan McGettigan (1-2), Dermot Molloy (1-4,2f) Ultan Doherty; Brendan McDyer (0-1), Jeaic McKelvey, John O’Malley (0-4,1f). Subs Johnny McLoone for Jeaic McCeallbhui (h-t), Aaron Thompson for A J Gallagher ( b-card 37), Leon Thompson for Ultan Doherty (44), Johnny Bonner for John O’Malley (56), Leo McLoone for Kieran Gallagher for Brendan McDyer (59)
KILLYBEGS: Michael Mullen; Christopher Cunningham, Ciaran Conaghan, Stephen Muirhead; Owen Gallagher Shane Molloy, David McGuinness 5; Eoghan Ban Gallagher (8), Hugh McFadden (0-12 11f), Daniel Breslin (0-1) John Ban Gallagher (0-1) Daniel O’Keeney, Eavan Broderick (0-1) Brendan McGuire, Pauric Conaghan. Sub: Shaun Gorrell for Pauric Conaghan (47)
REFEREE: Robbie O’Donnell (Naomh Muire)