St Eunans record a thorough deserved victory over Naomh Conaill in Sunday’s league meeting in O’Donnell Park.
St Eunan’s………... 1-16
Naomh Conaill …….0-15
By Jonathan Foley
A four-point win in a very engaging affair means that the Letterkenny side have collected six points from a possible six thanks to three wins on the bounce. Eóin McGeehin’s goal paved the way, but in an overall sense, the collective power of team-effort was what truly got them over the line.
Midway through the opening half, it was very much an even affair with the scores locked at three points a piece. St Eunan’s had led three times thanks to some well-taken scores, the pick of which was a wonderful effort from Rory Carr as his shot while on the turn, sailed over the crossbar.
Naomh Conaill, always kept in touch however, and a brace of points from Dermot Molloy ensured that the contest stayed alive.
Around this stage of the affair, the home side began to stamp a bit of authority on the game as the bagged three points without reply. Brian MacIntyre slotted over a lovely point that finished off an excellent interchange of passes by the Eunans’ forwards and, for the moment at least, the three-point looked to have put Richard Thornton’s men in the comfort zone.
The men from Glenties had other ideas and they duly responded with points of their own. Corner-back Odhran Doherty found himself in an advanced position up the field as he notched a score and, soon after, Brendan McDyer reduced the deficit to a solitary point when his shot from distance found its way over the bar. Just a minute later, Anthony Thompson levelled the affair.
Despite this, Eunan’s did still regain the lead before the half-time whistle was blown and that was thanks to a superb score from Conor O’Donnell. Showing tremendous grit and determination, he rode a strong shoulder charge from Doherty to stay on his feet and from an acute angle and a sizeable distance from goal, his curling effort was successful as Eunan’s retook the lead.
The second-half was certainly an engaging affair throughout. It was the visitors who got the scoring underway. Molloy had levelled and Charles McGuinness’s point had put Noamh Conaill in the lead for the first time in the afternoon.
The game remained close but Eunan’s got the goal that proved to be so very vital when Eóin McGeehin palmed into the net from close range, thus continuing his fine run of goal-scoring form this season. The opportunity had been created for him by his fellow forwards, Rory Carr and Jamie Doherty, whose rapid hand-passing proved too much for the Naomh Conaill defensive line to deal with on this occasion.
One man who deserves a mention at this point has to be Eunan’s midfielder, Conor O’Donnell. He had a superb game by not only controlling his area of the field but his ability to drive the time on and lead by example by taking on scores himself was exemplary.
To their credit, Martin Reagan’s side refused to wilt and they kept themselves in contention to get something from the game with a number of eye-catching scores. Shots from distance became the order of the day and this was exactly how they gathered scores from Molloy, who was on fine form, McDyer and Thomspon. Although, thanks to a favourable bounce, his effort could be deemed a tad fortuitous.
With just a point separating the teams going into the final ten minutes, Eunan’s were able to utilise the depth and strength of their panel with a flurry of substitutions and this proved to be a key factor, Michael Miller, who had been introduced earlier, fisted over an important score late in the game and, following a couple of scored frees from Carr, Conor Gibbons (another substitute) slotted over the point that put the seal on the victory.
All round, it was a very well-rounded performance by the men from the Cathedral Town. They left the field knowing that they’d collected their third win in nine days and with their county players due to return to the panel soon, things are looking up once again for everyone involved with the Black and Amber.
ST EUNANS: Ronan McGeehin; Séan Halvey, Conor Morisson, Conor Moore; Séan McVeigh, Rory Kavanagh (0-1), Daragh Mulgrew; Conor O’Donnell (0-4), Séan McGettigan (0-1); Peter McEniff, James Kelly (0-2), Brian MacIntyre (0-1) Jamie Doherty (0-1) Rory Carr (0-4, 3f), Eóin McGeehin (1-0).
Subs: Michael Miller (0-1) for R Kavanagh (31), Sean Ryan for D Mulgrew (3), Anthony Gallagher for S McGettigan (56), Conor Gibbons (0-1) for J Doherty (56), Padhraic McGettigan for S Halvey (56).
NAOMH CONAILL: Stephen McGrath; Odhran Doherty (0-1), AJ Gallagher, Kevin McGettigan (0-1); Hughie Gallagher, Anthony Thompson (0-2), Owen Wade; Ethan O’Donnell, Marty Boyle; Eunan Doherty, Dermot Molloy (0-6, 3f), Ultan Doherty; Brendan McDyre (0-2), Charles McGuinness (0-2, 1f), Nathan Byrne.
Subs: Paul McGuinness for U Doherty (39), Logan Quinn for Ethan O’Donnell (51), Ultan Doherty for M Boyle (58).
REFEREE: Robbie O’Donnell (Naomh Mhuire)