Rathmullan Celtic pictured before Sunday's win over Kilmacrennan Celtic.
Rathmullan Celtic booked a place in the national stages of the FAI Junior Cup when they got the win they deserved against neighbours Kilmacrennan Celtic on Sunday afternoon.
Kilmacrennan Celtic . . . 0
Rathmullan Celtic . . . 2
This tie served up a meeting of the tenants and the landlords at Flag Pole Field in Rathmullan.
Kilmacrennan, missing a number of key players from their starting eleven, played well, but didn’t really manage to create enough openings in front of goal to trouble Rathmullan.
In contrast, Dara Patton’s Rathmullan were able to muster several good opportunities before they got the all-important second goal through substitute James Gallagher close to the end.
That goal killed off Kilmacrennan’s challenge and sealed a deserved win for the locals.
Kilmacrennan Celtic pictured before Sunday's game.
Neither side have managed to set the world alight in the Premier Division of the Donegal League. However, both showed enough on Sunday that they are more than capable of climbing the division and moving away from relegation troubles.
Raymond Shields’ Kilmacrennan side almost got off to the perfect start when Mark Friel saw his long range effort strike the post. Friel went on to have an excellent game in midfield, and along with Chris Dillon and John Sandilands at left back, he was very prominent for Kilmacrennan.
Rathmullan were in front as early as the fourth minute. Patton provided the cross from the left and the in-rushing Ryan Connolly raced in to fire past Jason Hegarty.
Midway through the half, the two players combined again, this time Connolly providing the delivery only for Patton to head over when he should have scored.
Eoin Sheridan, who had a fine game at midfield for Rathmullan, forced a good save from Hegarty just before the break.
Rathmullan continued to force the issue in the second half with Dylan Hegarty, up from the back for a set-piece, unlucky not to connect at the back post.
James McCahill also went close while at the other end, Connor Harley saved at the second attempt from a Chris Dillon free-kick.
Eoin Sheridan struck the crossbar with a long range rocket before Rathmullan eventually got the second four minutes from the finish when James Gallagher and Kevin Doran combined inside the box before Gallagher neatly tucked the ball home.
It was a brilliantly worked goal and enough to ensure that Rathmullan can now look forward to a good draw in the next stage of the competition.
KILMACRENNAN CELTIC: Jason Hegarty, Ciaran Maloney, John Sandilands, Eamonn Martin, Paul McBride, Aidan Sweeney, Michael McLaughlin, Mark Friel, Caolan McDaid (Nathan McElwaine 83), Chris Dillon, Paddy Sheridan (Ciaran McGinley 83). Subs: Conor McFadden, Patrick Tobin.
RATHMULLAN CELTIC: Connor Harley, Alan Boal, David Miller, Ray Quinn, Dylan Hegarty, James McCahill (Gavin O’Donnell 87), Ryan Connolly (Gerard McAteer 88), Eoin Sheridan, Kevin Doran, Niall Carruthers (James Gallagher 75), Dara Patton (Brandon Toye 84).
REFEREE: Joe McHugh.