DONEGAL GAA

Ice-cool Burns hits late free to give 14-man Burt a draw against Setanta in championship

GREAT CONTEST AT CROSSROADS

Gerry McLaughlin

Reporter:

Gerry McLaughlin

Ice-cool Burns hits late free to give 14-man Burt a draw against Setanta in championship

Burt and county 'keeper Paul Burns showed real ice in the blood and a sure eye as he hit a last gasp 75 metre free between the Setanta posts to tie a thriller between these two Donegal hurling aristocrats before a typically passionate and partisan crowd on a scorching Saturday evening in Crossroads.

Setanta 2-15
Burt 1-18

A draw was probably a fair result between these old rivals that featured several of last Saturday’s all conquering Rackard Cup victors.
But,14-man Burt will probably be the happier of the two after deservedly losing full-forward Enda McDermott to a second yellow card in the 21st minute.
And it looked even grimmer for Mickey McCann’s men when they were hit with two well- finished goals from Josh McGee and Bernard Lafferty in the space of three minutes when their defence looked pretty shaky.
Suddenly Setanta, who were minus Kevin Campbell, Niall Cleary, Conal Gallen and Mark Callaghan, had jumped into a 2-9 to 0-10 lead after the visitors led by 0-9 to 0-9 in a first half where 0-15 came from frees as referee James Connors was determined to put his stamp on the game.
But all the momentum seemed to be with Paul Campbell’s men just eight minutes into the second half.
Instead Burt’s big players stood up with Christopher and Ronan McDermott driving their team forward and 18-year-old Pearse Harrigan, son of former county player Frankie, showed unerring accuracy in a big game.
Burt kept chipping away at Setanta’s lead with the inevitable Declan Coulter replying for Setanta from placed balls.
And a goal from Caolan McDermott put them a point in front as the led by 1-16 to 2-12 with 11 minute left
The final ten minutes was played at real championship tempo and the temperature got really hot on the benches too with referee Connors issuing cautions to both team bosses Paul Campbell and Mickey McCann.
But while it was always feisty, there was no malice between these two top sides and they provided some great entertainment on a scorching evening in east Donegal as the swapped scores to he bitter end.
Harrigan finished with a total of 0-14 from placed balls with Coulter weighing in with 0-12 from frees
The first half was a litany of frees with referee James Connor blowing 25 times in the blazing sun.
There were only two scores from play in the entire half, one a beauty from Danny Cullen for Setanta and Caolan McDermott replying for Burt.
Cullen as always, was at the heart of all that was good about Setanta.
But the entire first half was en effective shoot out between Harrigan and Coulter and in truth quite a few of the frees were of the soft variety on both sides as the referee decided to err on the side of caution.
But the second half turned into a real cracker that showed that Donegal hurling has come on beyond all recognition in terms of quality and organization.
Long may it continue and there is loads of passion on an off the field.
Definitely a different game to football!

SETANTA: Gary McGettigan; Alan McConnell, Simon McMenamin, Brendan Tourish; Conor McGettigan, Martin Bonner, Justin McBride; Sean Anderson, Danny Cullen (0-1) , Dean McDevitt, Declan Coulter (0-12,12f), Josh McGee (1-0), Bernard Lafferty (1-1), Martin Kane (0-1), Shane Flynn. Sub., Mark Melaugh for Shane Flynn (20),

BURT: Paul Burns (0-1,f); Martin McGrath, Padraig Doherty, Dara Grant; Brendan Halligan, Christopher McDermott, Stephen Gillespie; Ciaran Finn (0-1), Conor Harkin; Caolan McDermott (1-2), Ronan McDermott, Marcus Dowd; Pearse Halligan (0-14,14f), Enda McDermott, Ciaran Brady. Subs: Joe Boyle for Ciaran Brady, Eanna McLaughlin for Mark Dowds,

REFEREE: James Connors (St Eunan’s)