Michael Sweeney of Fanad Gaels sets up an attack against Naomh Columba. Pic: Geraldine Diver
Gaeil Fhanada upset the odds with a convincing win over Naomh Columba in Sunday lunchtime’s Donegal Intermediate quarter-final at O’Donnell Park.
Gaeil Fhánada . . . 3-9
Naomh Columba . . . 0-10
It was a day when the Friels came good for the winners - brothers Mark and Johnny Friel scored goals and Seamie ‘Coshia’ Friel converted a second half penalty to help Fanad to victory.
The penalty on 52 minutes was the turning point in the game. Up until then it had been close all the way and there were only three points between the teams when Seamie Friel stroked the ball home after Jimmy Coyle was dragged down in front of goal.
That goal put Fanad 2-9 to 0-9 in front and while Ryan Gillespie gave Glen a bit of hope with a pointed free, Johnny Friel finished off a brilliant Fanad move to score his team’s third goal to seal the deal.
What was a decent game, ended in disappointing scenes when a number of players and mentors got involved in an ugly flare-up close to the finish. Christopher Byrne of Naomh Columba saw red for his part in the brawl, but it’s fair to say he could have been joined on the sideline by plenty others.
It was a heated conclusion to a tie that took a long while to get going.
The unusually early throw-in time of 12.30 might have been a factor for the quiet start. Neither side seemed willing to stamp their authority in the early stages and the opening score didn’t come until the eighth minute.
Pauric O’Donnell attempted a short kick-out for Glen, but Mark Friel pounced to steal possession and after feeding Seamie ‘Coshia’ Friel inside, Mark Friel was on hand to turn ‘Coshia’s’ return ball into the net.
Jimmy Coyle fisted over a point for Fanad when Brian McVeigh’s ‘45 dropped short and when McVeigh went short with another ‘45 soon after, Eoghan Carr pointed to leave Fanad 1-2 to 0-0 to the good with 11 minutes played.
Naomh Columba finally woke from their slumber with two fine scores from Paddy Byrne on 13 and 15 minutes.
Stephen Jones then finished off a neat Naomh Columba move with a well taken point and suddenly there was just two in it again, 1-2 to 0-3.
Fanad enjoyed the majority of the possession in the first half but they didn’t turn that dominance into scores, although Brian McVeigh eventually put them three points to the good again with a good point on 21 minutes.
Paddy Byrne, who was excellent in the first half for Naomh Columba, kicked four first half points, the best of which was a free from way out on the left and just inside the ‘45.
His midfield counterpart Michael Sweeney also had a telling impact at the other end, scoring two valuable points for Fanad as they ended the half well.
But Philip McNern had the final say of the half when he finished off yet another patient build-up from Naomh Columba to leave just a kick of the ball between them at half time, 1-6 to 0-6.
As the rain poured down for the start of the second half, Fanad continued to keep their noses in front with scores from Eoghan Carr, Odhran Shiels and Oisin Shiels.
Naomh Columba, with the advantage of the wind, were able to keep in touch with Paddy Byrne, Christopher Byrne and Ryan Gillespie also raising white flags.
But trailing by three points, Glen conceded a penalty which was converted by Seamie Friel and Fanad had one foot in the semi-finals.
They made sure of the win when Johnny Friel produced a tidy finish to beat Pauric O’Donnell late on.
Gaeil Fhánada: Brendan Friel; Kevin McGonigle, James Gallagher, Odhran Shiels (0-1); Conor McGonagle, Paddy Herrity, Eoghan Carr (0-2); Michael Sweeney (0-2), Jimmy Coyle (0-1); John Friel (1-0), Mark Friel (1-1), Brian McVeigh (0-1); Niall Carr, Seamie Friel (1-0), Oisin Shiels (0-1). Subs; Alan McAteer for Carr (58), Oisin McFadden for McVeigh (58)
Naomh Columba: Pauric O’Donnell; Barry Carr, Ciaran McBrearty, Tadhg McGinley; Paul Doherty, Philip Doherty, Stephen Jones (0-1); Paddy Byrne (0-5, 3f), Christopher Byrne (0-1); Conor Carr, Pauric Ward, Ryan McNern; Ryan Gillespie (0-2, 1f), Michael Maguire, Philip McNern (0-1). Subs: Pauric Cunningham for P Ward (b/card 40), Pauric O’Neill for Paul Doherty (52).
Referee: Sean Paul Doherty (Urris).