Action from St. Eunan's v Setanta hurling semi-final Photo Geraldine Diver
Setanta may have had seven points to spare at the end of this Donegal Senior Hurling Championship semi-final tonight in O’Donnell Park but they were pushed all the way by the locals.
Setanta ................... 2-14
St Eunan's ................0-15
This tie was a lot closer than the Setanta’s final winning margin suggests. Kevin Campbell got a late goal to give the final winning margin a glean to it.
The champions had it far from all their own way against a by and large young and experienced St Eunan’s side that gave a right good account of themselves.
Setanta let by just a point, 1-11 to 0-13, with a little under six minutes remaining before they pulled away courtesy of late points from Declan Coulter - who shot nine point altogether - Bernard Lafferty and Campbell’s goal.
The reigning champions led by four points at half-time thanks to a Kevin Campbell goal and five points off the hurl of Declan Coulter and one each from Davin Flynn and Danny Cullen.
Conor O'Grady scored three of the St Eunan's points with Conor O'Donnell, Thomas Hartnett and Kevin Kealy raising the other St Eunan's white flags.
Coulter converted two early frees for Setanta but they were quickly cancelled at the other end by two well taken Conor O'Grady points.
Campbell struck for the goal which had more than a hint of good fortune about it when a long range strike from out the field came back off the upright.
The Setanta number 14 reacted quickest to flick to the back of Darragh McBride's net for a 1-2 to 0-2 lead.
That was on seven minutes and with St Eunan's knocked back Coulter struck twice and Davin Flynn once as Setanta raced 1-5 to 0-2 ahead.
But the locals were in no mood to buckle and with Sean McVeigh, Colm Flood, Conor O'Donnell and Cormac Finn digging deep and O'Donnell, Thomas Hartnett, Kevin Kealy all landing points, St Eunan's were back in the tie by the early minutes of the second quarter.
And with Setanta leading 1-5 to 0-5 Coulter and O'Grady traded points before Danny Cullen opened his broad shoulder for a super point and a four point lead at the interval for the champions.
St Eunan's shaded the early exchanges on the resumption with O'Grady hitting two points and Sean McVeigh one to Declan Coulter's two for Setanta.
The margin was down to two. And while Lafferty restored Setanta's three point advantage St Eunan's continued to press and the margin was back to one with a little over six minutes remaining.
Gearoid Leahy and Cormac Finn scored the St Eunan's points to set up a frenetic finish.
Coulter and O'Grady traded points and before Setanta eased three ahead again thanks to a sweetly struck Bernard Lafferty effort before Campbell put the final seal on it with his second goal.
In the end it took a strong finish from the champions, who have Declan Coulter, Danny Cullen and Campbell’s two goals to thank to see them book their place in the final and another mouthwatering clash with their arch rivals Burt.
SETANTA : Gary McGettigan; Brendan Tourish, Simon McMenamin, Mark Callaghan; Shaun Anderson, Martin Bonner, Justin McBride; Jonny Carlin, Danny Cullen (0-1); Bernard Lafferty (0-2), Declan Coulter (0-9, 4f), Davin Flynn (0-1); Conor Gallen (0-1), Kevin Campbell (2-0), Dean McDevitt. Subs: Conor McGettigan for Tourish (30), Josh McGee for D McDevitt (half-time), Colm Melaugh for C Gallen 52, Shane Flynn for C Melaugh 60.
ST EUNAN’S Darragh McBride; Brian McIntyre (0-1), Adrian Gaffey, Conor Parke; Conor Kelly, Sean McVeigh, Ryan Hilferty; Colm Flood, Gearoid Leahy (0-1); Cormac Finn (0-1), Conor O’Donnell, Sean Halvey; Thomas Hartnett (0-1), Conor O’Grady (0-10, 8f, 1 ’65), Kevin Kealy (0-1). Subs: Ciaran Kelly for G Leahy 60, Jordan Barr for T Hartnett 60.
REFEREE: Hugo Wallace (Burt).