St Eunan’s survive early Dungloe scare to make to two from two in Group 1

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ST EUNAN’S SAW DUNGLOE miss a fifth-minute penalty at O’Donnell Park in the Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure Donegal SFC Group 1 before overcoming their guests from the Rosses.

St Eunan’s 0-13 Dungloe 0-8

Including the penalty, Dungloe had four very good goal chances and will certainly rue those missed opportunities. Even had they managed to score one of them it certainly would’ve made for a different contest, one in which St Eunan’s were indebted to nine points from play from Rory Kavanagh and Conor Gibbons.

Michael Miller of St Eunan’s on the ball as Cory Gallagher from Dungloe closes in during the Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure Donegal SFC in Letterkenny¬†

Referee Robbie O’Donnell awarded the spot kick after Ryan Greene was pulled by Conor Parke and it was Greene himself who stepped up. His connection was good – almost too good – and the ball cannoned off the St Eunan’s crossbar and into the air before bouncing and it was the hosts’ netminder Blake Forkan who gathered before clearing the danger.

That would’ve made the score 1-1 to 0-0 following Cory Gallagher’s opener but the trend of the first half, one in which Dungloe did well for spells was the home team’s ability to post qucikfire points. Although certainly not at full pelt, the team managed by Barry Meehan and Eddie Brennan possess significant firepower; a point made clear when they popped over three points in 90 seconds around the ninth minute and then again at the 20th.

Kavanagh, wearing the No 13 shirt but going inside and then out, scored two of those points, while Niall O’Donnell, Gibbons, a boomer from Darragh Mulgrew and Caolan Ward score made it 0-6 to 0-3 approaching half-time. Conor and Ryan Greene had by then taken Dungloe’s total to three.

Again, though, three back-to-back St Eunan’s points showed the effectiveness of their forward line, with O’Donnell’s free supplemented by a brace from Gibbons to leave¬†the O’Donnell Park residents six points up.

However, St Eunan’s had goalkeeper Forkan to thank for taking that six-point lead into the dressing room for making a stunning point blank save from Cory Gallagher in first half injury time from close range after a long-range free from Dungloe goalkeeper Danny Rodgers came back down off the upright.

A late Kavanagh score – he would score four in all – meant St Eunan’s were 0-10 to 0-3 ahead at the changing of ends.

Gibbons, twice, and Kavanagh pointed at the start of the second half, as Dungloe were reliant on Ryan Greene, who’d scored three second half scores to make it 0-13 to 0-6 for the Letterkenny team by the 45th minute.

Dungloe put together an excellent move wight minutes from time with Darren Curran finding Gallagher at its conclusion. But his effort could only strike the crossbar on the way over and it was the visitors’ third real goal chance.

Despite these misses, it was obvious the tails of the side managed by Patrick McGowan but when Forkan made another top class save from Ryan Greene late on, those from the west perhaps might’ve just thought it certainly wasn’t going to be their day.

Danny Rodgers did brilliantly to keep Dungloe’s sheet clean with a clawing stop from Conor Morrison after Sean McVeigh’s pass three minutes from time.

St Eunan’s would’ve been glad to get the two points ahead of the visit of Naomh Conaill but will acknowledge they weren’t at their best today.

St Eunan’s: Blake Forkan; Sean Hensey, Conor Morrison, Conor Parke; Caolan Ward (0-1), Conor O’Donnell, Barry McGeehin; Eamonn Doherty, Darragh Mulgrew (0-1); Lee McMonagle, Niall O’Donnell (0-2, 1f), Michael Miller; Rory Kavanagh (0-4), Cillian Morrison, Conor Gibbons (0-5). Subs: Darragh Toal for Hensey (40), Conall Dunne for McMonagle (43), Sean McVeigh for O’Donnell (57).

Dungloe: Danny Rodgers; Matthew Ward, Mark Curran, Doalty Boyle; Christy Greene, Gerard Walsh (0-1), Caolan Ward; Noel McBride, Raymond Sweeney; Cory Gallagher (0-2), Ryan Greene (0-4, 23f), Darren Curran; Shaun Sharkey, Conor Greene (0-1, 1f), Paul McGarvey. Subs: Sean Wallace for Ward (half-time), Matthew O’Donnell for C Greene (39)

MA in Journalism graduate from NUI Galway and BBS Marketing and NC in Online Marketing from LyIT, who has worked covering sport in Donegal since 2004. Part of Donegal Democrat who won McNamee awards in 2013 and 2015 for 'best provincial publication'. Reseacher for 'Jimmy's Winnin' Matches' documentary and Rory Kavanagh's autobiography 'Winning'

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