Bench press enables St Eunan’s to come from behind and win against Naomh Conaill

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ST EUNAN’S CAME from five points down to post a win that saw them pip Naomh Conaill for top spot in Group D of the Michael Murphy Sports Donegal SFC.

St Eunan’s 0-15 Naomh Conaill 1-8

The Letterkenny side produced a decent second half to overturn their deficit and showed the power of their panel with substitutes Niall O’Donnell, Conor Gibbons and Rory Carr helping their team over the line. For Naomh Conaill, they won’t be losing too much sleep in a contest that might’ve been  termed as shadow boxing.

However, straight red cards for St Eunan’s goalkeeper Blake Forkan and Naomh Conaill’s Seamus Corcoran for their part in a late row will mean needless suspensions.

Both teams went into the contest safe in the knowledge that they’d be in the hat for the draw for the quarter-finals, which takes tomorrow night, following their opening rounds wins over both Dungloe and Four Masters.

Ciaran Thompson broke free into space in the 11th minute and took the shot early, piercing his effort past Forkan and into the bottom corner of the St Eunan’s net to give the team managed by Martin Regan a 1-3 to 0-1 lead.

That goal was the main point of differential in the first half, giving the visitors something of a cushion amid a number of decent scores from both sets of players – the best of which came from the boot of Eoin Waide from long range on 25 minutes to establish a 1-7 to 0-6 half-time Naomh Conaill lead.

Points from Caolan Ward and Rory Kavanagh at the outset of the second half brought St Eunan’s back to within a two points, with Niall O’Donnell coming into the fray at half-time to kick a free and when Ward pointed on 45 minutes, the deficit was only a point – 0-10 to 1-8.

Gibbons, who scored five from play in the 0-13 to 0-8 win over Dungloe last week, came into the fray for the final quarter and kicked a fine score on the turn to level it with his first touch.

From there, St Eunan’s continued their forward momentum and progress to the quarter-finals as group winners, while Naomh Conaill will be a second-placed side that plenty will be looking to avoid.

Substitute goalkeeper Matthew Gallagher made a fine save from Ethan O’Donnell late on.

St Eunan’s: Blake Forkan; Sean Hensey, Conor Morrison, Conor Parke; Barry McGeehin, Conor O’Donnell, Caolan Ward (0-2); Eamonn Doherty, Darragh Mulgrew (0-1); Lee McMonagle (0-1, 1f), Rory Kavanagh (0-1), Sean McVeigh (0-1); Conall Dunne (0-2), John Haran, Cillian Morrison (0-1). Subs: Michael Miller for McMonagle (20), Niall O’Donnell (0-4, 2f) for Cillian Morrison (half-time), Darragh Toal for C O’Donnell (36), Conor Gibbons (0-1) for Haran (46), Rory Carr (0-1) for Dunne (51), Matthew Gallagher for McGeehin (57)

Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Aaron Thompson, Jason Campbell, Ultan Doherty; Eunan Doherty, Anthony Thompson (0-1), Eoin Waide (0-1); Ciaran Thompson (1-0), Johnny Bonner; Marty Boyle (0-1), Dermot Molloy (0-2, 1f), Ethan O’Donnell; Brendan McDyer (0-1), Jeaic Mac Ceallbhuí, John O’Malley (0-2, 1f). Subs: Seamus Corcoran for Mac Ceallbhuí (37), Logan Quinn for Boyle (40), Eoghan McGettigan for O’Malley (44), Johnny McLoone for Quinn (black card, 51), Leon Thompson for U Doherty (58).

Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs).

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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