Martin Breslin and Cathal McGettigan battle for possession. Photo Thomas Gallagher
Milford made up for last year’s final disappointment with a hard fought Donegal Intermediate final victory over St Naul’s in O’Donnell Park.
St. Naul’s 0-12
There were five points between the sides at the end of what was a cracking contest. And the champions had to work their socks off for every one of those points.
This game was in the melting pot until the closing minutes when Cathal McGettigan got in for the winners’ second goal.
McGettigan’s goal after a neat touch from Tony McNamee finally brought an end to a 25 year Intermediate championship famine for the Sky Blues.
Cathal McGettigan and Darragh Black scored the goals and Gary Merritt was named man of the match.
This trio along with Kane and Luke Barrett were the standout players for the champions.
St Naul’s kicked the game’s opening score, a point from Peadar Mogan after 40 seconds.
And the underdogs were on the front foot in the early minutes as they penned Milford back.
It took Milford six and half minutes to raise their first white flag. Full-forward Kane Barrett obliged after taking a long delivery from his brother Luke in the middle of the park.
Two minutes later Luke converted from close range after Kane had been fouled. And as Milford moved up the gears the quick long deliveries to Barrett in front of the posts began to pay dividends.
Barrett set up Pauric Curley for the third point on 11 minutes before two minutes later Darragh Black had the St Naul’s net bulging.
Again Barrett was pivotal as he laid the ball back to Tony McNamee who released Black who made no mistake from inside the large rectangle.
Milford were looking a class apart and they went 1-4 to 0-1 ahead thanks to another sweeping move and well struck Christopher Barrett point.
Stuart Johnston pulled one back for St Naul’s for only their second score on 17 minutes.
And while Luke Barrett restored Milford’s six point lead St Naul’s began to run at the Milford rearguard to great effect.
Peadar Mogan converted three late points to reduce the half-time margin to three points as Milford led 1-6 to 0-6.
St Naul’s continued from where they left off at the end of the first half and Stuart Johnston and Barry Griffin ran at Milford and the scores flowed.
They outscored Milford by 0-5 to 0-2 in the third quarter to tie up the contest 1-8 to 0-11 on 44 minutes.
Johnston from play and Stephen Griffin with four converted frees were the St Naul’s scorers.
The sides were level once more when second half substitute Gavin Mulreany converted from 45 metres with four minutes of normal time remaining 1-9 to 0-12.
But a point from man of match Gary Merritt and a clinching goal from Cathal McGettigan sealed the win.
MILFORD: Caolan McGettigan; Gary Merritt (0-1), Barry McNulty, T J Evesson; David Curley, Patrick Peoples, Ryan McMahon; Joey Cullen, Luke Barrett (0-3,2f); Christopher Barrett (0-2), Pauric Curley (0-1), Cathal McGettigan (1-2,2f); Darragh Black (1-1), Kane Barrett (0-1), Tony McNamee. Subs: Ronan Docherty for R McMahon 44; Kyle Black for P Curley 48; Johnny Logue for K Barrett 59; Sean Black for D Black 64.
ST NAUL’S: Patrick Burke; Conor Gavigan, Brendan McCole, Conor McBrearty; Stuart Johnston (0-2), Peadar Mogan (0-5,4f), Martin Breslin; Lee McBrearty, Daniel Friel; John Rose, Barry Rose, Shane Conneely; Edward Kane, Barry Griffin, Stephen Griffin (0-4,4f). Subs: Cathal Lowther for B Rose 53; Gavin Mulreany (0-1) for P Burke 54; Aidan Meehan for D Friel 56; James for S Conneely 58.
REFEREE: James Connors (St Eunan’s)