NAOMH CONAILL WERE pushed right to the bitter end by a spirited Four Masters at Davy Brennan Memorial Park in the Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure Donegal SFC this evening.
Naomh Conaill 1-9 Four Masters 0-11
The Donegal town side recently saw Michael Breslin take over from Kevin ‘Cookie’ Gallagher and despite being bottom of the All-County Football League Division 1, were right in the contest against a well-fancied Naomh Conaill team, who lost Eunan Doherty to a red card late on for a striking offence just moments after coming on in the closing stages.
A first half missed penalty, when Stephen McGrath saved from Kevin McBrearty after Shaun Meehan was fouled, will haunt Four Masters.
However, in the end, the bookies’ coupon wasn’t upset as the Glenties residents went two points up in injury time when Ciaran Thompson and Brendan McDyer scored and although Thomas McGowan made the home support sweat, Naomh Conaill fell over the line.
On 23 minutes McDyer blasted what proved to be the only goal of the game when Jeaic MacCeallbhuí gobbled up a loose kick-out from Eoghan Jordan in the Masters goal and set up the opportunity.
That made the score 1-3 to 0-2 with Dermot Molloy, Ciaran Thompson and Seamus Corcoran on target for the hosts, while McGowan and Caolan Loughney had scored at that stage for Four Masters. The Naomh Conaill advantage might’ve been an even greater one had Ultan Doherty not hit the post when going for goal with a great chance on only eight minutes.
At half-time Naomh Conail were 1-4 to 0-4 up.
Jordan in goal for Four Masters atoned for his earlier error with a fantastic save from AJ Gallagher but with Karl Lacey, Leo McHugh and McGowan all scoring, Four Masters were still just two down – 1-6 to 0-7 – in the 48th minute.
Then, the hosts had something off a let-off when a free from McGowan was knocked onto the crossbar by McGrath in the Naomh Conaill goal and Meehan’s follow-up was blocked.
Marty Boyle put three between the teams but when Meehan, McBrearty and hit scores for Four Masters at the other end, it was level at 1-7 to 0-10, with seven minutes to play. From there Naomh Conaill eked two up and held on despite that lead being halved and the best efforts from Four Masters.
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Ultan Doherty, AJ Gallagher, Jason Campbell; Kevin McGettigan, Anthony Thompson, Eoin Waide; Ciaran Thompson (0-4), Kieran Gallagher; Jeaic MacCeallbhuí, Dermot Molloy (0-1), Marty Boyle (0-1); Brendan McDyer (1-2), Seamus Corcoran (0-1), Ethan O’Donnell. Subs: John O’Malley for Corcoran (42), Eoghan McGettigan for O’Donnell (42), Eunan Doherty for U Doherty (52)
Four Masters: Eamon Jordan; Ryan O’Donnell, Enda Bonner, Darragh Quinn; Barry Dunnion, Dylan Kennedy, Aaron McCrea; Karl Lacey (0-1), Kevin McBrearty (0-1); Leo McHugh (0-1), Darren Doherty, Caolan Loughney (0-1); Thomas McGowan (0-4, 2f, 45), Paddy Reid (0-1), Shaun Meehan (0-2, 1f). Subs: Neil Ward and Emmet Doogan for Doherty and Meehan (59).
Referee: Robbie O’Donnell (Naomh Muire)