Stalemate in top clash in Premier while Kerrykeel crowned Division Two champions

Staff reporter


Staff reporter


Stalemate in top clash in Premier while Kerrykeel crowned Division Two champions

Kerrykeel - Division Two champions

The clash of the Celtics in the Premier Division ended even and Kilmacrennan stay at the top but Castlefinn have it in their own hands with two games in hand.

Bonagee took another step to claiming the Division One title while Kerrykeel were celebrating after their win and Raphoe losing out in Division Two. Letterbarrow had a big win in Raphoe and are now in pole position for the promotion play-off spot.

Brian Mc Cormick Sports Premier Division

Kilmacrennan Celtic          0 v 0 Castlefin Celtic

Kilmacrennan hosted Castlefin on Sunday afternoon and claimed a draw despite having three men sent off. The draw means they stay on top of the table but with Milford United claiming a victory over Cappry Rovers it is now a three horse race for the title.

Castlefin might have it in their own hands in some people’s opinion as they have a few games in hand however many times in the past that counted for little and points on the board proved to be the only statistic that mattered.

No matter how you look at it we are all set for a few weekends of excitement as the league season reaches it’s conclusion. What price yet another Helicopter Sunday in late April??  

Milford United          3 v 1 Cappry Rovers

Milford took the three points from the game against Cappry Rovers played in very windy conditions with three outstanding finishes. Cappry were the best team in the opening 15 minutes, playing with the wind. On 4 minutes from a Milford goal kick the ball was squared on the six-yard box for Aaron Kelly to tap into the net but somehow he failed to connect and the ball went wide.

Milford then got to grips with the conditions and looked dangerous with Kyle Black and Gary Merritt causing the Cappry defence a lot of bother. Milford’s Black latched onto a back pass and calmly slotted the ball past the advancing keeper on 30 minutes.

Cappry drew level on 40 minutes when Milford failed to clear the ball and Aaron Kelly's clever through ball set up David Gethins who lobbed the ball over the outrushing Damian Crossan. Milford, playing with the wind, took the lead again on 60 minutes when Kyle Black found space on the right and his precise cross found Gary Merritt at the back-post head home. Milford's 3rd came from the foot of the hard-working Gary Merritt who with great technique and skill drilled a bouncing ball from 25yards into the top corner.

Cappry pushed hard to get one back but Milford held firm to take 3 points and keep the pressure on the top two who both dropped points this weekend.

Referee: Paddy Martin.

St. Catherines          1 v 0 Donegal Town

The first half was fiercely contested by two young teams eager for points. The home team’s best chance came on 12 minutes. A Niall Campbell cross was met by David Mc Guinness but he failed to beat Enda O’ Hagan in the visitor’s goal. Strong winds made it difficult for attractive football and at half time the score remained 0-0. The second half continued like the first with both teams pushing for a winner.

This elusive goal eventually came from an unlikely source on 67 minutes. Pauric Love swung a corner in with his left foot and it found its way straight into the roof of the net, albeit with plenty of assistance from the wind. 
Donegal attacked and dominated for the remainder of the game but squandered chance after chance which enabled St. Catherine’s to hang on for their first home win of the season. Joe Mc Intyre was good up front for Donegal while Conor Doherty was excellent for the home side.

Temple Domestic Appliances Division One

Bonagee United          3 v 1 Drumkeen United

The home side took the lead in the first minute when Lee Mc Monagle broke clear and his strike on goal was blocked by the defender, the ball fell kindly to Darren Ferry who scored from ten yards.  Mc Monagle came close to scoring on ten minutes when his strike from outside the box went just over the bar. Conor Lafferty, for the visitors, saw his strike from fifteen yards on sixteen minutes blocked by a defender.

The visitors should have scored on twenty-eight minutes when a great ball into the box by Niall Howley was headed wide from six yards by Lee Guthrie. Carr in the home goal made a great save from Conor Lafferty on forty-eight minutes when he shot from ten yards.

Mc Monagle for the home side broke clear from the halfway line on fifty-five minutes but he shot over from the edge of the box. He did score two minutes later when a Drew Connelly cross from the left into the box was blocked by the defender and the ball fell to him and he slotted home from six yards.

Aiden Mc Laughlin saw his strike on the hour from the edge of the box strike the post. Mc Laughlin did score four minutes later to make it three nil when an Eamon Cannon free into the box he headed home from ten yards.

Carr in the home goal again made a very good save on seventy-three minutes from Adam Doherty. Jason Ashmore for the home team saw his strike from just inside the box saved by Foy on eighty minutes. Drumkeen were awarded a penalty on eighty-five minutes and Lee Guthrie made no mistake from the spot. The Home side were awarded a penalty on ninety minutes but Mc Laughlin blasted the ball over the bar. Team efforts by both sides.

Referee: Andrew Mullin

Drumoghill F.C.          2 v 3 Cranford United

Twice they had to come from behind, but twice they did it and a superb last gasp winner from fully 30 yards from Danny Mc Bride finally settled a brilliant contest at The Moss as Cranford United maintain their challenge for automatic promotion from Division One. The result also means that Cranford still retain hopes of ending the season as champions as anything other than 3 points would, in all likelihood, have ended their hopes. The game looked to be heading for a draw when Mc Bride pounced in injury time.

There seemed little danger as Kevin Doherty punted a long ball forward as the clock ticked into injury time but Paddy O’ Loan was there to clear the danger. However, his clearance was seized upon by the alert Mc Bride, who controlled the ball and drove it beyond Mc Daid into the back of the net. The relief was palpable. Cranford knew the importance of three points which seemed unlikely only 30 minutes earlier after Drumoghill had gained a 2-1 lead. But a Chris Carr penalty on 70 minutes restored parity and set up the grandstand finish for Cranford to clinch victory.

The game was played in gale force conditions which made it very difficult for entertaining football. Drumoghill were playing with the elements in their back during the first half and opened the scoring after a terrific move involving the two Gareth’s – Hamilton and Temple – to set up Ridha Abdullagh to nonchalantly slide beyond Jason Hegarty on 15 minutes. Cranford quickly levelled matters when Pauric Mc Ginty climbed highest to head home from a corner on 23 minutes to leave the scores level at the break.

The second half was end to end during it’s opening stages as both teams went in search of the next goal. Drumoghill grabbed it on 60 minutes and the crowd were again treated to another super goal. This time it came from the right boot of Anthony Doherty who found space on the edge of the box to control a clearance and hammer home superbly to put his side back into the lead. It really was a wonderful strike that again gave Hegarty no chance.

Drumoghill began to control the game at this point but the game again turned on 70 minutes when Lee Smyth caught David O’ Donnell inside the box and up stepped Carr to level matters before McBride’s late winner sealed the points for the visitors.

Gweedore Celtic          2 v 0 Lagan Harps

(No Report Submitted)

Convoy Arsenal          2 v 2 Lifford Celtic

This match was played in blustery wet conditions in Convoy. The first chance of the game came for Lifford in the 12th minute with Convoy clearing after a goal mouth scramble.

Lifford took the lead in 30th minute, Paul Lynch scoring from a corner. Convoy equalised on the 41st minute when Lifford failed to clear and John A. Kee headed home from the edge of the area. Lifford restored their lead on 47 minutes with Brian Breslin converting from the penalty spot.

Lifford came close to extending the lead in the 79th minute from a set-piece that split the Convoy defence but Niall Coyle shot narrowly wide. Convoy pressed for an equaliser and in injury time Gary Wilson fired home a free kick from 25 yards to level the match. 

Donegal Physiotherapy & Performance Centre Division Two

Kerrykeel’71 F.C.          5 v 2 Deele Harps

The ‘71 were crowned Division Two champions on Sunday with a great win over Deele Harps. A minute’s silence was held for the late Michael Kelly before the game. The home-side took the lead on 18 minutes when Conor Mc Gonigle fired home from a Sean Little corner.

Deele to their credit came back into the game and Conor Friel got them level on 26 minutes with a fine solo effort. Kerrykeel got back in front on 31 minutes when Michael Sweeney finished well after great work from Bernard Mc Gettigan. It was 3 soon after this with Sean Little slotting home after a great Paddy Carr cross. Deele started the second half the better and got back into the game on 60 minutes when Friel again scored. Eddie Boyce then kept the ‘71 in front with an excellent save on 66 minutes and from then on the ‘71 took control.

Paddy Carr scored on 69 minutes when he headed home from an Evan Hewitt cross. Michael Sweeney got his second and final goal of the game on 80 minutes when he finished off a great move involving Johnny Friel. Three points for the ‘71 and the wait as the Raphoe game had kicked off 10 minutes later.

With the phones hopping, word came through that Letterbarrow had beaten Raphoe and Rab’s Park went wild with celebrations. It is 25 years since the club first won the league and only the third time in it’s history. 

Whitestrand United          3 v 0 Dunkineely Celtic

(No Report, Dunkineely failed to field)

Raphoe Town          2 v 3 Letterbarrow Celtic

Letterbarrow Celtic gave their chances of automatic promotion a huge boost when they leapfrogged Raphoe Town into second place on a day that saw Kerrykeel claim the title.

A win for Raphoe would have made sure of automatic promotion, but they were not at the races and were 2-0 down inside a disastrous opening 15 minutes.

The visitors had come close early on and then took the lead in the 12th minute with a well-placed free-kick from Dan Meehan as the home side struggled to get out of the blocks. And it got worse for Raphoe three minutes later, a calamity of errors in defence saw Kevin Mc Brearty nip in to make it 2-0 and leave Shane Dolan’s men stunned.

In fairness they fought back, Dylan Brolly leading the change from midfield, but it took a penalty from Christy Bogle to give them some belief with fifteen minutes to the break. It was anybody’s game for long periods, but Letterbarrow certainly looked more up for the fight and it took a great save from Roy Duffy to prevent them from making it 3-1.

At the other end DJ Kelly somehow steered a header over the bar from a super Dylan Brolly cross before Zak Brolly’s inch-perfect cross was steered into the net ten minutes later by Dean Mc Connell.

Both teams pressed after that and it was the visitors who made the decisive breakthrough when David Dorrian steered home from close range after a series of corners ten minutes from the end. Raphoe couldn’t find an equaliser and find themselves now in the play-off position and needing a win in their last game against Curragh and a favour from champions Kerrykeel if they are to secure promotion without going to the play-offs.

Curragh Athletic          P v P Gweedore United

(No Report, Match postponed)

Glencar Inn Saturday Division One

Arranmore United          0 v 0 Glencar Celtic

Arranmore and Glencar played out a scoreless draw on the Island in windy conditions. Arran started well and went close through Aidan Proctor who hit the post and Gavin Mc Glanaghey who’s header was well saved by Dominic Friel. Shane Hilley and Marty Brogan went close for Glencar but failed to beat the Arranmore keeper. In the 2nd half Glencar started the better with Cullen going close with a free-kick and big Kevin Rafferty also going close with several headers. It finished scoreless with Conor Proctor best for Arranmore and Kevin Rafferty best for Glencar.

Glenea United Reserves       3 v 2 Donegal Town Reserves

Glenea United Reserves got a boost in their fight against relegation with this hard earned victory over Donegal Town Reserves. In a quiet 1st half chances were at a premium and it was the away side that took the lead on 15 minutes when the Glenea defence failed to deal with a cross from the right and Joe Snit was on hand to finish from close range.

The home side tried to get back into the game but failed to capitalise on their good approach work while Donegal Town were restricted to a couple of long range efforts which were dealt with by Thomas Ferry. Donegal extended their lead on 43 minutes when a fine through ball found Joe Snit in the box and he slotted home. In the 2nd half it was the home side that started strongly and pulled a goal back on 50 minutes when Martin Ferry got onto a clearance and his effort from 25 yards found the corner of the net. Glenea equalised on 52 minutes when Calvin Murray’s through ball released Martin Ferry and he slipped the ball home. Both sides pushed for a winner but once again both defences held firm.

On 70 minutes Glenea almost took the lead when Chris Barrett evaded a couple of challenges but just lifted his effort over the bar.  Glenea eventually got a winner on 78 minutes when Kyle Mc Mullan’s through ball released Gerry Maguire and he saw his curling effort hit the post but Chris Barrett was on hand to fire home the rebound.  Donegal pushed hard for an equaliser but the home defence were excellent in keeping them out.

Best for Glenea were, Neil Mc Geever, Shaun Curran & Calvin Murray, while it was a team effort from Donegal Town.

Castlefin Celtic Reserves      2 v 1 Keadue Rovers Reserves

Castlefin secured a vital three points in their quest for survival with a victory over Keadue in a tight affair at Park View. The visitors took the lead in the 25th minute when a ball was stabbed home in the box. Castlefin responded and won a penalty which Keith Nelis stepped up to slot home just before the break. The second half had little goalmouth action but Castlefin won it in the 89th minute when Brian Dooher won the ball in midfield fed Stephen Roulston who played through Nelis who lobbed the advancing keeper to snatch victory. Team Performances. Referee: Brian O’ Kane.

Oldtown Celtic          3 v 2 St. Catherines Reserves

A match played in good conditions saw Oldtown get out the blocks fast and they took the lead when Paddy Mc Laughlin beat the keeper to a through ball and cooly slotted home. They soon doubled their lead when Michael Mongan finished from the edge of the box. St. Catherine's got back into the game with a good goal after a short free kick. The second half was a close affair until Paddy Mc Laughlin added his second by firing past the keeper. The away side stayed in the game and scored a team goal but could not find an equaliser.

Strand Rovers          5 v 0 Dunlewey Celtic

There was a minute silence before this game in memory of “Roycee” who passed away a few months ago. Strand also presented Dunlewey with a plaque with both team’s crests on it. The game was played is sunny weather. It took Strand nearly half an hour to break down the Dunlewey back line.

The goal came in the twenty fifth minute when David Mc Carron volleyed home in the penalty box. A few minutes later Ryan Greene make a great run into the penalty box and he was tripped. His brother Conor Greene scored the penalty to make it two for the Maghery men. They made it three before half-time when Doalty Boyle scored. The second half was all one-way traffic with Strand getting two more goals from Conor Greene and Michael Ward. Referee: Barry Hunter 

Saturday Division Two Shield

Gweedore Celtic Reserves   1 v 4 Milford United Reserves

Milford started well and took the lead after 20 minutes when a Darren Mc Laughlin corner found the top corner. Gweedore equalised soon afterwards when a great through ball split the Milford defence to leave the attacker one on one with the keeper. The hitman kept his nerve to find the bottom corner. With 35 minutes gone Milford went 2-1 up after a teasing cross from Lee Burke found Anthony Hegarty unmarked in the box who made no mistake to tap into an empty net. Milford stepped it up in the second half and on the hour mark a Ciaran Blaney shot from the edge of the box took a slight deflection to leave the Gweedore keeper wrong footed to make it 3-1. Five minutes later it was 4-1, a great cross from Jason Mc Conigley found Lee Burke free at the back post. He met it with a diving header to score. Team effort from Gweedore and an all-round good team performance from Milford with Anthony Hegarty standing out and Lee Burke man of the match. Referee: Zach Mc Loughlin

Fintown Harps AFC          1 v 4    Kildrum Tigers Reserves

Fintown just never turned up on the day after three weeks off. They were rusty and couldn’t compete with the Division Two League Champions. As it turned out the Station Road men have a handsome advantage ahead of the second leg of this new competition.

Brian Mc Cormick Cup Semi-Final

Ballybofey United          1 v 2 Keadue Rovers

Ballybofey United and Keadue Rovers contested the first semi-final of this season’s Brian Mc Cormick Cup. The match was played at Diamond Park, Ballyare with the newly laid pitch in great shape. The two teams were fairly evenly matched in the first half.

They both created chances but neither could break the deadlock. Ballybofey lost play-maker Brian Lafferty Jnr. after only ten minutes and his absence left a huge void in the United midfield. He was replaced by Conor Doherty who showed some glimpses of his old self however he too was unable to lock the Keadue rearguard. Keadue went close through Cory Gallagher but Chris Patton had narrowed his angles just enough to thwart the Rover’s talisman.

Alan Patton also cleared the ball off the line when Shaun Boyle looked to have found the net for Keadue. But it was Doherty who almost stole the show when his goal-bound volley from outside the Keadue penalty area needed a strong touch from Danny Rodgers to direct it over the crossbar, a great shot and an equally great save.   

The new floodlights were on for the second half of the match and the teams finally found the net. Adam Neely’s tenth minute corner floated temptingly into the Ballybofey box and Christopher Greene met it with a strong header to open the scoring.

Midway through the half Jude Patton equalised for Ballybofey when he turned the ball home from inside the box after a right wing cross evaded several others. With five minutes remaining Boyle raced through and slipped the ball past the outrushing Patton. All eyes were on the ball as it hit the inside of the post before running across the goal-line and according to Assistant referee Mick Lagan, over it at a point. Joe Mc Hugh awarded the goal and despite trying Ballybofey couldn’t find another equaliser.

Keadue will now meet either Milford United or Convoy Arsenal in the Final. Their semi-final is scheduled for Ballyare on Sunday 31st March at 1.30 p.m.