Naomh Conaill cruise into quarter-finals as Gaoth Dobhair make their exit

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CHAMPIONS Naomh Conaill put the feet down to move into the quarter-finals of the Michael Murphy Sports Donegal SFC in style, confirming Gaoth Dobhair’s exit in the process.

Naomh Conaill 2-18 Gaoth Dobhair 0-11

Goals in either half by Daragh Gallagher and Brendan McDyer (pictured above) sealed a 13-point win for the Glenties team, who look every inch a side on a mission to retain a hold of Dr Maguire.

Gallagher hit 1-4 and McDyer scored 1-2 as the side managed by Martin Regan and Martin Doherty cruised to a win that means they go into the last eight as the only team with a three-from-three record from the group stage of the Championship.

For Gaoth Dobhair, it means the exit at this stage for a second year in a row and another long winter of wondering and waiting.

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The opening goal arrived in the 18th minute. Ciaran Thompson, again to the fore in the engine room for the champions, started off the move. After Eoin Waide and Eunan Doherty were involved, the ball was worked to Gallagher, who blasted to the net from close range.

It put Naomh Conaill ahead and they never looked back.

Midway through the second half they added their second three-pointer. A long ball from the middle of the park was well fetched by McDyer, who collected well before rounding Chris Sweeney, the Gaoth Dobhair goalkeeper, and tucking home.

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After Gallagher’s goal, Odhrán Mac Niallais did pull a point back for the visitors, but Naomh Conaill reeled off four-in-a-row from Waide, Gallagher, Dermot Molloy and Doherty to take command.

Gaoth Dobhair had led three times early on through Kieran Gillespie, Naoise Ó Baoill and Kevin Cassidy, but Molloy, McDyer and Molloy again responded for the home side.

McDyer’s goal was just the tonic for the champions, who led 1-8 to 0-5 at the changeover.

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Gaoth Dobhair were in the last-chance saloon after losing to Termon seven evenings ago. The defeat at The Burn Road – which continued their poor recent Championship record against Termon – left Conal Sheridan’s team in a perilous position heading to the home of the champions.

On the resumption, Naomh Conaill scored five-in-a-row. Led by Ciaran Thompson’s excellent score, they tacked on scores from McDyer, Gallagher (2) and Molloy.

With McDyer’s goal came a safe passage into the knockout stage for Naomh Conaill, but Gaoth Dobhair were already in the cloakroom and heading for the exit.

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Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Aaron Thompson (0-1), AJ Gallagher, Jason Campbell; Marty Boyle, Anthony Thompson (0-1), Eoin Waide (0-1); Leo McLoone, Ciaran Thompson (0-1); Daragh Gallagher (1-4), Eunan Doherty (0-1), Seamus Corcoran; Brendan McDyer (1-2), Dermot Molloy (0-6, 2f), John O’Malley. Subs: Leon Thompson (0-1) for Corcoran (39), Cathal Ellis for Boyle (40), James Doherty for McDyer (46), Stephen Molloy for AJ Gallagher (50), Kevin McGettigan for C.Thompson (54), Eoghan McGettigan for D.Gallagher (56).

Gaoth Dobhair: Chris Sweeney; Gary McFadden, Neil McGee, Jamie Reynolds; Niall Friel, Kieran Gillespie (0-1), Cian Mulligan (0-1); Eamon McGee, Micheál Carroll (0-1); Peter McGee, Kevin Cassidy (0-3), Daire Ó Baoill; Eoin Ward, Odhrán Mac Niallais (0-3, 2f), Naoise Ó Baoill (0-1). Subs: Noel Kelly (0-1) for P.McGee (35), Ciaran Ferry for D.Ó Baoill (49), Michael McKelvey for Ward (55).

Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs).

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For over two decades, has been regarded as the voice of sport in Donegal. Charlie is the former Head of Sport at Highland Radio – a role he fulfilled for 23 years. He is a former Managing Director at Highland Radio. Produced the Talking Sport Podcast upon leaving Highland Radio before helping to form Donegal Sport Hub in 2015.

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