Caolan McDaid in action for Kilmacrennan Celtic Picture: Geraldine Diver
KIlmacrennan Celtic got the New Year off to a winning start as they took all three points from their clash with St Catherine's, at Donegal League headquarters in Ballyare.
St Catherine's FC ……………………....0
Caolan McDaid scored the only goal on the day as the local team joined Milford in joint second place on the top of the Brian McCormick Sports Premier Division table.
The young Termon footballer scored the goal on ten minutes and then proceeded to miss a bagful as Kilmacrennan completely dominated against an understrength St Catherine's, for the remainder of the game.
Killybegs manager, John Conwell, admitted afterwards they had struggled to field a team and only travelled with 12 fit players.
McDaid struck early after the title chasers broke from the traps at breakneck pace. He beat Michael Mullin from inside the box with a deft flick after good approach play from Seamie Nanny Friel out on the right wing.
Friel, McDaid Daniel McLaughlin and Enda McCormack looked threatening from the off.
But despite the winners’ near total domination they did not score again for the remainder of the tie. Such was their dominance they would not have been flattered if they were five, six nil up at half-time.
McDaid had at least three good chances while Seamie and Mark Friel and Enda McCormick also went close to finding the Killybegs net.
And while a number of the misses were down to post-Christmas rustiness, as manager Gerard McGranaghan insisted afterwards, credit must also go to the St Catherine's defence and goalkeeper Michael Mullin.
The Oscar Traynor ‘keeper, Mullin was simply outstanding throughout and brought off a string of fine saves to deny Kilmacrennan in both halves.
David Conwell, too, at the heart of the visiting defence was simply outstanding as he put his body on the line time after time right up to the final whistle to deny Kilmacrennan.
And it was the Herculean effort of ‘keeper Mullin and Conwell along with good support from young full-backs Conor Knox and Charlie Breslin and the tireless Gary McHugh, in the centre of the midfield, which kept the score down.
St Catherine’s best (and only) chance of a score was in the first half when Niall Campbell, through on the Kilmacrennan goals, was denied by a point blank save from Liam McBride, the Kilmacrenan ‘keeper.
That was on the stroke of the half hour mark. But after that St Catherine’s chances were few and far between and were confined to long range strikes from Brendan McGuire and Gary McHugh.
Kilmacrennan dominated the second period with McDaid, Enda McCormick, Mark Friel, Seamie ‘Nanny’ Friel and James Doherty all going close.
St Catherine's did have a couple of late chances and forced a couple of late corners but in the end to no avail as they firmly remain rooted to the foot of the table with just one point from eight games.
KILMACRENNAN CELTIC: Liam McBride; James Doherty, John Sandilands, Ryan Shiels, Declan O’Donnell, Enda McCormick, Mark Friel, Daniel McLaughlin (Michael McLaughlin 81), Seamie ‘Nanny’ Friel, Caolan McDaid (Steven McElwaine 69), Gary Whoriskey (Aidan Sweeney 79).
ST CATHERINE’S: Michael Mullin; Conor Knox, Charles Breslin, David Conwell, Odhran McGuinness, Gary McHugh, Dermot Cunningham, Christy Cunningham, Kevin Martin (Andrew Morrow 73), Brendan McGuire, Niall Campbell.
REFEREE Paddy Martin.