FIVE POINTS IN the final four minutes when the gods seemed to be conspiring against them rescued a point for Naomh Conaill against Kilcar this afternoon.
Naomh Conaill 0-11 Kilcar 0-11
The home side – in this All-County Football League Division 1 fixture – had been wasteful in front of the posts.
They kicked 11 wides to their guests’ four, missed a penalty when Brendan McDyer rattled the crossbar late on and also had what seemed like a perfectly legitimate point from Dermot Molloy in the first half waved wide.
Therefore, they might’ve been glad to scramble a share of the spoils at Davy Brennan Memorial Park but it could be said that Kilcar might’ve been the happier to hear Enda McFeely’s final whistle, with Naomh Conaill possessing all the late momentum.
That said, Barry Doherty’s tenure with the Towney side is still unbeaten two weeks ahead of their Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure Donegal SFC opener against Gaoth Dobhair. And although the draw was something that they mightn’t have expected as time wore thin, they still contributed to a contest that got more absorbing the later it went on.
Ryan and Eoin McHugh watched on from the sidelines, although Naomh Conaill were missing a host of regulars like All-Ireland winning medalists Leo McLoone, Anthony Thompson and Marty Boyle among the absentees, as were Eoghan McGettigan and the recently married Daragh Gallagher.
This afternoon, Kilcar had Stephen McBrearty in fine form kicking seven points – a total that Molloy would match for Naomh Conaill – as his brother, Patrick McBrearty, played a more withdrawn role than usual.
By half-time they visitors were o-6 to 0-2 in front after an economical first half, where they kicked just one wide to Naomh Conaill’s seven.
Stephen McBrearty kicked four of those points, while Ashley Carr and Ciaran McGinley were also on the mark.
The home team weren’t anywhere near as efficient as they might’ve been, scoring only twice through a Molloy free and John O’Malley score.
But amid a clutter of missed opportunities, another Molloy free was waved wide when almost everyone in attendance thought it had split Eamonn McGinley’s posts.
Whoever was against the wind, tended to fare better.
After half-time, Naomh Conaill were more ball in hand and by the 40th minute were 0-6 to 0-5 down just following scores from Molloy, twice, and Kieran Gallagher.
Kilcar, though, responded well and by the 54th minute were 0-11 to 0-6 up. Ciaran McGinley popped over his second of the day and Patrick McBrearty joined Stephen on the scorecard.
Leon Thompson blazed wide from a promising position and with the miss, it seemed as though Naomh Conaill’s chances were gone.
However, McFeely, the match referee, decided that Thompson was pushed as he was about to pull the trigger. Five minutes remained but although McDyer’s kick was true, it cannoned off the crossbar.
However, Molloy did pull three points back in the next two minutes, the second of which was blasted at goal and whizzed over the bar.
Then, at the outset of injury time, McDyer wellied for goal only to see McGinley in the Kilcar goal tip over with a fine save.
It was all Naomh Conaill and in the second minutes of injury time, Molloy, with a free from 45 metres against the wind, leveled it up for a decent draw.
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Stephen Molloy, Jason Campbell; Oran Doherty; Eunan Doherty (0-1), Aaron Thompson, Eoin Waide; Ethan O’Donnell, Ciaran Thompson; John O’Malley (0-1), Dermot Molloy (0-7, 3f), Logan Quinn; Leon Thompson, Kieran Gallagher (0-1), Brendan McDyer. Subs: JD Boyle for O’Malley (34), Paul McGuinness for Quinn (47).
Kilcar: Eamonn McGinley; Stephen Shovlin, Conor McShane, Pauric Carr; Matthew McClean, Mark McHugh, Daniel Lyons; Ciaran McGinley (0-2), Michael Hegarty; Andrew McClean, Conor Doherty, Aodhan McGinley; Ashley Carr (0-1), Stephen McBrearty (0-7, 3f), Patrick McBrearty (0-1, 1f). Sub: Mark Sweeney for A McGinley (48).
Referee: Enda McFeely.