Red Hugh's used all their experience to pull off a dramatic win in this pulsating Donegal Junior A Championship semi-final at St Mary's Park, Convoy on Saturday evening.
Red Hughs . . . 1-11
Letterkenny Gaels . . . 1-10
The Letterkeeny side were very much on top in the first 30 minutes. Conor McBrearty opened their account on 3 minutes and soon after Cormac Cannon hit a great score. Damian Browne converted a 14 yard free on 6 minutes. Gaels then scored four on the trot.
A McBrearty free on 7 minutes, a point fron Shay Doherty on 12 minutes after good approach play from McBrearty and the Gaels talisman kicked two more excellent scores before Pauric McMenamin responded for the Killygordon boys.
On 22 nminutes McMenamin hit the post when a goal looked on. McBrearty kicked another fabulous point to put Gaels five ahead.
Red Hugh's corner forward Calvin Bradley got his first sniff of the posts on 27 minutes and with Gaels leading by four appoaching the break the Div 3 team hit 1-2. P McMenamin hit an excellent score before full forward James Carlin got his fist to a high ball resulting in a goal. Then Damin Browne converted a 13m free on 33 minutes to give the Curragh men a narrow lead at half-time, Red Hugh's 1-5, Letterkenny Gaels 0-7.
Browne kicked his first of three long range scores in the 32nd minute of the game before McBrearty converted a close in free for Gaels. Calvin Bradley stroked over on 35 minutes before McBrearty struck a great free from close to the sideline on 37 minutes.
On 42 minutes McBrearty won another ball out on the wing, beating four Red Hugh's defenders, he squared the ball to Brendan O'Brien who palmed to the net to give the Glebe men a two point lead.
Bradley and another brilliant Browne free levelled matters for Red Hugh's with 10 minutes left on the clock. Substitute Jonathon Carlin and another McBrearty free kept the scores level on 59 minutes. It was still anybody's game.
Gaels half back Anthony Diver was dismissed for a second yellow on 61 minutes and the reliable Damian Browne converted the resultant free from 45 metres. The Glebe men had substitute Charlie Creevy and corner back Kevin Kilkenny dismissed deep in injury time to leave the Letterkenny men down to 12 men in what up to that stage was a very sporting championship affair.
Gaels had excellent performances from Kilkenny and Ciaran Lynch in defence, Ciaran Cannon towered in midfield. Young Diarmuid Cahill attacked at every opportunity and Conor Mc Brearty, contributing eight points to the losers, gave a quality performance throughout.
For Red Hugh's Pauric Mc Menamin and Calvin Bradley produced great scores when required. Damin Browne was exceptional from frees and senior county player Stephen McMenamin proved the heartbeat of the team from beginning to end.
Red Hugh's: C Kelly, S Gallagher, S Sweeney, S McGlinchey, G Kelly, S McMenamin, R Kelly, T McMenamin D Browne 0.5(5F), P McMenamin(0.2), G Melaugh O Doherty,P McGlinchey, J Carlin(1.0), C Bradley(0.3). Subs, C Doherty for T McMenamin, J Carlin(0.1) for O Doherty, C Melaugh for O Dherty O Doherty for S McGlinchey.
Letterkenny Gaels: J Carr, S McDonagh, R Quinn, K Kilkenny, C Lynch, C Browne, D Hunter, C Cannon, P Doherty,
D Cahill, C Cannon(0.1), A Diver, C McBrearty(0.8,5F) B O’Brien(1.0), S Doherty(0.1), L Doherty for P Doherty, O McMacken for S Doherty, C Creevy for Cormac Cannon.
Referee: L McConigley, Downings.