Who will win the Donegal IFC semi-final replay: St Naul's or Gaeil Fhánada?

Intermediate Championship semi-final replay - O'Donnell Park, Sat 3 p.m.

Tom Comack


Tom Comack

Who will win the Donegal IFC semi-final replay: St Naul's or Gaeil Fhánada?

After ending all square last weekend it is back to O’Donnell Park on Saturday for St Naul’s and Gaeil Fhánada. (Throw-in 3 pm)

The prize on offer is a place in the Donegal Intermediate Championship final and a meeting with Milford.

Edward Kane was St Naul’s saviour last Sunday in O’Donnell Park.

The corner-back abandoned his sweeper role as he went forward and kicked the late point that earned St Naul’s a draw and another crack at qualifying for the final.

In the proverbial game of two halves and with Brian McVeigh and Michael Sweeney in fine form in front of the posts Gaeil Fhánada led by six points at half-time.

McVeigh and Sweeney may have been the talk of the opening period, but it was St Naul’s duo of Stephen Griffin and young minor Peadar Mogan who stole the headlines in the second.

The Griffin and Mogan combination kicked the points to drag St Naul’s back into the tie.

“We just didn’t perform in the first half, plain and simple,” was the frank admission of St Naul’s manager, John McNulty, afterwards.

“We made a couple changes at half-time and I thought the boys put in a big effort in the second half and played some good football.

“I felt we probably deserved draw at the end of it and we are just glad to be getting another chance.”

The contributions of Cathal Lowther and Barry Rose on their introduction for St Naul’s for the second half had an influence on the outcome

And Lowther and Rose have given the manager much to ponder ahead of Saturday’s replay.

Aidan McAteer is the Gaeil Fhánada manager. And while he was disappointed that his charges had not held on for the win he felt on balance a draw was a fair enough result.

“We had a couple of chances to be further ahead and probably could have put the game to bed,” said McAteer.

“But overall when you look back on the game St Naul’s did enough in the second half to earn the draw.

“The good thing is we are still in the championship and it is a matter of looking at our second half performance.”

St Naul’s are the Division Three table toppers.

They entered last weekend’s game as the slight favourites.

But after last Sunday the odds have lengthened on their chances of making it to county final day.

On balance over the 60 plus minutes Gaeil Fhánada looked the slicker and better balanced outfit.

Verdict: Gaeil Fhánada