Na Dunaibh take All-Ireland Junior Gaeltacht with win over neighbours Gaeil Fhánada

Tom Comack


Tom Comack

Na Dunaibh take All-Ireland Junior Gaeltacht with win over neighbours Gaeil Fhánada

Na Dunaibh celebrate All-Ireland success

Na Dunaibh are  celebrating All-Ireland Junior Gaeltacht Championship success following this afternoon's dramatic win over neighbours Gaeil Fhánada, in the All-Ireland junior final in Downings.

Na Dunaibh  . . . . . . .  1-12

Gaeil Fhánada . . . . . . .1-10

It is hard to believe that seven points separated these two teams when they met four weeks earlier in the Donegal Junior Gaeltacht final.

Gaeil Fhánada emerged comfortable 0-13 to 0-6 victors on that occasion, also in Downings.

But this time around it was a different story as Na Dunaibh, the Division Four side, turned the tables on the side who play in a division above them in Division Three of the Donegal All-County Football League.  

The champions-in-waiting were really fired up and displayed all the hunger and desire to win that was so lacking in the Donegal decider.

From the off Caolan McGroddy, Jamie Lee McBride, Eric Roberts and Shane Boyce were sharp up front and Brian McGinley was the rock in a solid defence. They put the highly fancied Fanad men on the back foot from the off.

And they had three points on the board inside seven minutes, before Eoghan Carr kicked Gaeil Fhánada’s first point when he converted from a close in free.

And they had extended their advantage out to 0-5 to 0-1 with Boyce and Roberts raising flags, by the end of the first quarter.

Gaeil Fhánada, mainly through the drive and determination of Jimmy Coyle, had a good second quarter and were back in the game by half-time. Eoghan Carr, Ephraim McFadden and Oisin Shiels kicked the points that kept the favourites in touch.

Na Dunaibh, who had played with the aid of a stiff breeze in the opening half, kicked the first two points of the second period to open up a three point lead; Jamie Lee McBride and Danny McBride doing the business for the Michael Bradley managed locals.

Twice Gaeil Fhánada, reduced the margin to to the minimum in the second period as Seamie Nanny Friel made an instant impact on his introduction.

And it was Nanny’s goal five minutes from the end of normal time that ignited this tie and eventually saw Gaeil Fhánada, who last won the Junior title back in 2013, hit the front for the first time in the game.

Nanny finished to the net after all Johnny McGroddy could do was parry a Brian McVeigh rasper from ten metres.

That was on 55 minutes and moved Gaeil Fhánada on to 1-8 to 0-10, with the clock ticking.

But Na Dunaibh weren’t fazed and Gary Bán McClafferty with his first touch landed a super point under pressure.  And the locals were dancing in the stand and on the terraces when Alan Pasoma broke in behind the Gaeil Fhánada last line for a super goal.

Na Dunaibh were back in front again by three 1-11 to 1-8.

Gaeil Fhánada played with a greater sense of urgency in the five minutes of injury time that they had  not displayed in normal time.

But for all their huffing and puffing all they could muster in those closing frantic exchanges were points from Eoghan Carr and Michael Sweeney, either side of a  well struck Caolan McGroddy point.

NA DUNAIBH: Johnny McGroddy; Max Davis, Brian McGinley, Shane McTeague; Eamon Kelly, Ben McNutt, Kevin Doherty (0-1); Shay Coyle, James Lee McBride (0-2); Shane Boyce (0-1), Danny McBride (0-1), Caolan McGroddy (0-3); Alan Pasoma (1-0), Oisin Boyce, Eric Roberts (0-2,2f). Subs: Lorcan Connor for S Boyce, Gary Bán McClafferty (0-2) both 42; Shaun McBride for J L McBride 52; Aaron McClafferty for Danny McBride 54.

GAEIL FHÁNADA: Brendan Friel; Frank Sweeney, James Gallagher,  Joe Blaney; Odhran Shiels  (0-1), Jimmy Coyle, Fergus Friel; Oisin Shiels (0-1), Michael Sweeney (0-1); Bernard McGettigan, Mark Friel, Johnny Friel; Ephraim McFadden (0-1), Eoghan Carr (0-3,2f), Paddy Heraghty. Subs: Seamie ‘Nanny’ Friel (1-3,3f) for E McFadden 37; Conor McGonagle for P Heraghty 45; Seamie ‘Cosha’ Friel for J Friel 45; Brian McVeigh for M Friel 47.

REFEREE: Jimmy White (Killybegs).