Kevin Kealy struck a deadly 2-4 in the second half as St Eunan’s overcame Bucnrana in the Donegal U21 hurling final at The Scarvey.
St Eunan’s 3-10 Buncrana 1-8
By Chris McNulty at The Scarvey
After a close first half St Eunan’s took charge in the opening exchanges of the second.
Kealy’s low finish for Paddy Flood’s outfit’s second goal of the night helped give them a real grip on the tie.
Kealy and Sean Halvey registered points for the visitors.
The teams had been level at the changeover, but the quickfire start to part two had St Eunan’s in the driving seat as Kealy soared over to put six between them.
When Kealy superbly fired beyond Buncrana ‘keeper Tom Clare to take his second-half tally to 2-3, St Eunan’s – who took on Donegal senior football player Niall O’Donnell in the second half – were nine up.
Ben Doherty bagged a goal for Buncrana, his 52nd minute strike low to the St Eunan’s net their first and only score of the second half, but it was, fittingly, Kealy who had the last say of the night, arrowing over from a late ’65.
Dylan Duffy’s first free of the night and a clever point from Ben Doherty got things off and running for Buncrana, but Thomas Hartnett pulled one back for St Eunan’s.
A Duffy free put two between them again, but St Eunan’s hit back when James Hartnett rattled the Buncrana net.
Hartnett cut through and, having initially been dispossessed, the corner-forward won the ball back and fired to the net past Clare.
Another free from Duffy levelled it up for Buncrana instantly.
Declan McCarron and Cormac Finn (free) traded points before Sam Doherty’s strength held off a couple of defenders to clip over form the left flank.
James Hartnett and Jordan Barr, with a fine score on the turn, as St Eunan’s restored parity again.
A long-range Duffy free briefly gave Buncrana the edge, but Thomas Hartnett’s free at the other end in added time meant it was all square, 0-8 to 1-5, at the interval.
The second half was hardly underway before there was an ominous feel to it all as Kealy and St Eunan’s moved significantly clear to take the silverware.
St Eunan’s: Darragh McBride; Brian McIntyre, John McIntyre, Odhran McGonagle; Conor Kelly, Conor O’Grady, Ryan Hilferty; PJ McBrearty, Sean Halvey (0-1); Kevin Kealy (2-4, 1 ’65), Darragh McCarthy, Cormac Finn (0-1f); Thomas Hartnett (0-3, 1f), Jordan Barr (0-1), James Hartnett (1-1). Subs: Lochlann O’Dea and Oisin Randles for McGonagle and Barr (45), Niall O’Donnell for McBrearty (47), Shane O’Donnell for O’Grady (60).
Buncrana: Tom Clare; John Vaughan, James Patrick Doherty, Oisin Hegarty; Kevin Vaughan, Paul Tourish, Matthew Wilson; Aedan Stokes, Niall O’Doherty; Ben Doherty (1-1), Daniel Deery, Dylan Duffy (0-5f); Oisin Grant, Sam Doherty (0-1), Declan McCarron (0-1). Subs: Callum Og Wilson for Vaughan (29), Darren Doherty for Deery (43), PJ McCarron for Wilson (48), Wilson for Tourish (53), Tourish for Grant (57).
Referee: Hugo Wallace (Burt)