St Eunans will face Setanta in the Donegal Senior Hurling Championship final following Friday night’s hard fought semi-final win over Sean MacCumhaills in Ballybofey.
Sy Eunans . . . . . . . . . . . 1-11
Sean MacCumhaills . . . . 1-8
Kevin Kealy scored a goal and two points and Conor O’Grady posted four points as St Eunan’s came from four points down in the middle of the first half to win by three.
Sean MacMacCumhaills, who went into the game as the underdogs, got off to a better start in the greasy conditions. A heavy shower of rain before the start of the game affected the MacCumhaill Park surface.
Fintan Griffin, from play and Ciaran Mathewson with two pointed frees, hit the game’s opening three points as MacCumhaills raced into an early lead after 14 minutes before Conor O'Grady converted a close-in free to get St Eunan's off the mark a minute later.
O'Grady converted another free before Paddy Hannigan struck for the MacCumhaills goal.
The county man won a long delivery from out the field in front of his marker, turned to hit the roof of Cian Hennessy's net.
MacCumhaills were now ahead by four, 1-3 to 0-2, with a little over nine minutes left in the half.
St Eunan's, who had been playing in fits and starts, finally clicked into gear in the closing minutes of the half. And courtesy of points from O'Grady and Ryan Hilferty, the margin was back to one at half-time -1-3 to 0-5.
Sean McVeigh was denied from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time when his strike from the spot was brilliantly saved and deflected out for a '65’ by Del Lafferty, the MacCumhaills keeper.
The penalty strike was the last action of the half as the referee did not allow time for the '65’.
With county footballer Oisin Gallen replacing Robbie Geoghegan in the MacCumhaills attack, the sides were level three times in the early exchanges of the second half .
McVeigh and Mathewson and Kealy and Hannigan traded points. And the sides were locked on 1-5 to 0-8 when Kevin Kealy struck for the St Eunan’s goal when he flashed a Conor Kelly cross to the roof of the MacCumhaills net.
That was on 49 minutes and the margin was out to four shortly after when James Hartnett knocked over a fine point.
Mathewson pulled a point back shortly after but St Eunans’ tails were up and Kealy and McVeigh stretched the margin out for five with the clock ticking.
Mathewson capped a good personal performance with two points in injury time.
St Eunan’s will now face Setanta in a repeat of the 2017 final.
ST EUNANS: Cian Hennessy; Brian McIntyre, Jack Matthews, Conor Parke; Ryan Hilferty (0-1), Steven Doherty, Conor O’Grady (0-4,2f); Colm Flood, Cormac Finn; Sean Halvey, Sean McVeigh (0-3,2f), Conor O’Donnell; Thomas Hartnett, Eugene Organ, Kevin Kealy (1-2). Subs: James Hartnett (0-1) for T Hartnett (42); Conor Kelly for S Halvey 46.
SEAN MacCUMHAILLS: Dell Lafferty; John Anthony Chambers, Justin McGhee, Aaron McAuley; Bernard McMenamin, Lee Henderson, Chad McSorley; Ciaran Mathewson (0-6,4f), Conor Griffin; Gavin Browne, Paddy Hannigan (1-1), Conor Gallagher; Sean Curran, Fintan Griffin (0-1), Robbie Geoghegan. Subs: Oisin Gallen for R Geoghegan h/t; Conor Foy for A McAuley 47; Barry McGranaghan for S Curran 54.
REFEREE: Aidan Ferguson.