Kelly’s eye for goal sets MacCumhaills up for derby win over Glenfin

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SEAN MACCUMHAILLS HAD too much for Finn Valley neighbours Glenfin as three first-half goals had the winning of this Championship tussle.

Sean MacCumhaills 3-16 Glenfin 1-10

Aaron Kelly netted twice and Darren O’Leary scored another to give the Twin Towns men a deserved win in what was a largely tepid derby bar one moment of madness that saw Frank McGlynn sent off.

Picture caption: Aaron Kelly fires home a goal for Sean MacCumahills against Glenfin. Picture by Chris Doherty

O’Leary had just netted the second MacCumhaills goal, for a 2-3 to 0-4 lead, when referee Michael McShane gave the Donegal ace a straight red card following an apparent strike on Andrew McCloskey.

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It was just what Glenfin didn’t need – and at precisely the wrong time.

Kelly had earlier netted, but that goal by O’Leary put a little daylight between the teams and without their marquee man it was always going to be a struggle for Liam Ward’s team.

With Conor McBride and Gerard Ward leading the line manfully, Glenfin got scores, but just not enough of them as MacCumhaills had several purple patches throughout the evening.

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MacCumhaills were without the suspended Steven O’Reilly, banned because of his sending off in his team’s opening day defeat to Malin back in May.

The MacCumhaills engine room was also down the services of Shaun McGowan, who picked up an ankle injury in a challenge game against St Eunan’s during the week.

But Damian Devaney’s team got a dream start when they broke for a goal after just eight minutes.

Kelly’s eye was spot on as he intercepted a loose pass out of the Glenfin defence and he powered in before slipping a cool finish beneath the body of Glenfin goalkeeper Liam O’Meara.

After Martin O’Reilly and O’Leary, with a sweetly-struck free from almost 43 metres, opened the scoring, Kelly’s goal had MacCumhaills four in front.

But Glenfin, as is their wont in these fixtures, looked affronted by the early suggestion that MacCumhaills might make it a one-sided contest and they An Gaeltacht Lár men hit back.

Two glorious efforts from McBride, one a free from the chalk of the ’45 and the other a tidy point from play when he had little room to swing the left boot from a wide position, helped them inch their way into it.

It was to prove a false dawn, however.

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But MacCumhaills bagged a superbly-worked second goal. Brian Lafferty weaved his way between two Glenfin defenders, pirouetting into position to off-load for O’Leary to tuck home goal number two.

When McGlynn was sent off, Glenfin’s goose was cooked and, after reeling off three points in a row, Kelly clipped in his second and MacCumhaills’ third goal for a 3-7 to 0-5 half-time lead.

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Midfielder James Lynch scored two points in quick succession before Ward smashed home a Glenfin goal. MacCumhaills had long since done enough but, just to be sure, O’Reilly (2), O’Leary and Kelly stretched the margin.

The icing on the cake arrived with a gorgeous long-range effort by Gary Wilson, by which time MacCumhaills were beginning to think about the knockout stages, but Glenfin must now win in Malin to avoid yet another play-off after a damaging derby defeat.

Sean MacCumhaills: Chris Patton; Joe Dunnion, Marty Gallagher, Ronan McMenamin; Gary Dunnion, John Lynch, Alan Patton (0-1); Gary Wilson (0-1), James Lynch (0-3); Aaron Kelly (2-2), Martin O’Reilly (0-3), Andrew McCloskey; Brian Lafferty (0-2), Darren O’Leary (1-4, 4f), Adam Lynch. Subs: Conor Griffin for Gallagher (37), Stephen Mulligan for Lafferty (55).

Glenfin: Liam O’Meara; David Carr, Gary Herron, Kyle Doherty; Jason Morrow, Frank McGlynn, Stephen McGlynn; Patrick McGrath, Michael McGlynn; Daniel McGlynn, Paddy O’Connor, Stephen Carr; Conor McBride (0-6, 4f), Gerard Ward (1-4, 4f), Kevin McGlynn. Subs: Daniel Harkin for Doherty (half-time), Stephen Ward for O’Connor (half-time), Ciaran Foy for K.McGlynn (46).

Referee: Michael McShane (Kilcar).

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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