Action from St. Naul's and Naomh Ultan Photo Thomas Gallagher
When the going gets tough, St Naul’s veteran Cathal Lowther usually gets going. An injury meant that the teak tough coal merchant was unable to start, but Naul’s very own black panther bounced from the bench to great effect in the 40th minute.
St Naul’s 0-13
Naomh Ultan 1-8
It was looking a bit bleak for the home side in the rapidly gathering gloom as understrength but battling Naomh Ultan stunned the home side when veteran Aidan Duddy finished a penalty to the net in the 50th minute.
The penalty arose after a high hopeful ball into the St Naul’s square ended with impressive Naomh Ultan corner forward Paddy White gaining possession.
His shot for goal was blocked, but referee Jimmy White ruled that it was a foot block.
Duddy’s eventual finish turned this tie on its head as it put the visitors into a 1-7 to 0-9 lead , after the home side looked the more purposeful side from the start.
But within 15 seconds of the goal, Naul’s had levelled matters as the ball was moved quickly up the left wing and Lowther confidently hammered over the bar with his left foot from the left wing almost on the sideline.
That was a huge psychological boost to the home side.
And six minutes late Lowther struck again as he reacted quickly to a Stephen Griffin shot that came off the crossbar and calmly fisted over the bar to put his side back in the lead.
A minute later another sub, the elegant James Flynn tapped over another point and Edward Kane completed the scoring for the winners.
Gritty Naomh Ultan kept battling and their top marksman Cian Kennedy hit the last score.
But they were just not able to get the other goal they badly needed as Jimmy White, who got the customary loads of “advice” from both benches, called time in the deep dusk.
The winners shaded a well contested opening half and was well worth their half-time lead of 0-7 to 0-5.
Both sides were short a number of regulars with Naomh Ultan being minus Danny Shovlin, Johnny Cassidy, Dermot Gallier and Alan Lyons, while St Naul’s did not start Lowther, and were also minus Barry Rose, Stuart Johnston and Daniel Brennan.
The first half was a bit of duel between the respective marksman as Stephen Griffin and Cian Kennedy (0-3) traded points.
Peadar Mogan, Dermot Gallagher and Barry Griffin were also on the scoring charts for the winners while Paddy White (0-2) was on target for Naomh Ultan.
St Naul’s then edged clear to make it 0-8 to 0-5 on the restart.
But Naomh Ultan hit back with two points of their own from Kennedy and White, a great curling effort, to leave just a point in the match in the 40th minute.
John Rose then struck a superb soaring point in the 45th minute before that dramatic penalty five minutes later.
This was a deserved victory for a very focused home side, who played like a team that was in the Last Chance Saloon.
They have some fine forwards, but full credit to a weakened Naomh Ultan who made then battle to the bitter end
ST NAUL’S: Gavin Mulreaney; John Relihan, Edward Kane (0-1), Conor McBrearty; Daniel Gallagher, Brendan McCole, Dermot Gallagher (0-1); Lee McBrearty, Barry Griffin (0-1); John Rose (0-1), Stephen Griffin (0-3,1f), Peadar Mogan (0-2,1f); Shane Conneely, Daniel Meehan, Martin Breslin. Subs: James Flynn (0-1) for Daniel Meehan (35) Cathal Lowther (0-2) for Martin Breslin (0-1) (40),
NAOMH ULTAN: Donal Murrin; Sean White, John Knightly, Dara Byrne; Daniel Gallagher, Aidan Duddy (1-0,pen), Anthony O’Shea; Sean Blaine, Michael Breslin; Damian Quigley, Cian Kennedy (0-5,45), Peter Alvey; Aaron Kyles, Dara Murrin, Paddy White (0-3,1f). Sub: Conor Shovlin for Damian Quigley b card 53.
REFEREE: Jimmy White (Killybegs)