IF YOU HAD to pick a moment when this Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure SFC Group D fixture was turned on its head, it came in the 24th minute.
Four Masters 0-8 St Eunan’s 1-21
St Eunan’s held a slender 0-6 to 0-5 lead and their hosts Four Masters in Donegal town were mounting an attack, one presumed to try their hand at levelling things up.
Kevin McBrearty laid in a long ball and Masters’ forward Thomas McGowan beat St Eunan’s goalkeeper Matthew Gallagher to the punch and time almost stood still for a second. However, unfortunately for Four Masters the ball rebounded back off the base of the post and St Eunan’s gobbled up the rebound.
Whilst some of the blue and white persuasion were still feeling a little sorry for themselves, the Letterkenny team broke at speed and Caolan Ward played in John Haran, who made space for himself to shoot what proved to be the only goal of the game past Ryan Haughey.
St Eunan’s went in 1-8 to 0-5 in front at the interval and if that was a little harsh on the hosts, what happened in the second half wasn’t as Barry Meehan’s troops won at their ease. Niall O’Donnell would score eight points in all, while Haran finished the day with 1-2 and Patrick McGowan, introduced only on 52 minutes, kicked four late points.
Initially it was open, with both teams contributing to an end to end fare. Leo McHugh had opened the scoring before Barry Dunnion had to produce a brave block to deny O’Donnell a goal as early as the fourth minute.
Dunnion, though, would hobble off on 15 minutes and would be joined just three minutes later on the sidelines by Sean O’Kennedy. Karl Lacey, the Masters talisman, couldn’t even tog having picked up a calf injury two nights’ beforehand.
Points were traded at both ends – McBrearty, McGowan with two frees and Emmet Doogan for Four Masters, with Haran, Eamonn Doherty, Conor Morrison, Ward and Rory Kavanagh at the other end.
Late in the half, Doogan showed great acceleration but having got into space fizzed his shot wide of the St Eunan’s post as he shot for goal.
In first half injury time, O’Donnell opened his account for the afternoon with a left-footed free, some 30 seconds before adding one with his right.
The second half, though, was one-way traffic. O’Donnell would score six more points, with Michael Miller and Conor Gibbons putting over scores as well.
Masters’ challenge had withered with only three scores after the break; two from McHugh and Doogan also posting.
Patrick McGowan came from the bench late on to fire over four scores and give his management team something to think about when the competition resumes, which will not be for a while but when it does resume St Eunan’s will be there. Or thereabouts.
Four Masters: Ryan Haughey; Caolan Loughney, Kevin Breslin, Aaron McCrea; Sean O’Kennedy, Daire Quinn, Barry Dunnion; Leo McHugh (0-3), Kevin McBrearty (0-1); Shaun Meehan, Patrick Reid, Emmet Doogan (0-2); Thomas McGowan (0-2, 2f), Conor McDaid, Josh Lacey. Subs: Ryan O’Donnell for Dunnion (15), Darren Doherty for O’Kennedy (18), Enda Bonner for Meehan (45).
St Eunan’s: Matthew Gallagher; Conor Moore, Sean Hensey, Conor Parke; Oisin Toal, Conor Morrison (0-1), Barry McGeehin; Eamonn Doherty (0-1), Caolan Ward (0-1); Darragh Mulgrew, Niall O’Donnell (0-8, 6f), Michael Miller (0-2); Rory Kavanagh (0-1), John Haran (1-2), Cillian Morrison. Subs: Conor Gibbons (0-1) for McGeehin (18), Lee McMonagle and Patrick McGowan (0-4, 52) for Cillian Morrison and Mulgrew, B McGeehin for Miller (55).
Referee: Enda McFeely (St Mary’s)