Ryan McHugh’s late free grabs draw for Kilcar at St Eunan’s

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A 62ND MINUTE free from Ryan McHugh earned Kilcar a draw against St Eunan’s in a cracking Michael Murphy Sports & Lesiure Donegal SFC Group B fixture.

St Eunan’s 0-13 Kilcar 1-10

McHugh scored nerves of steel kicking into the wind at the Town End, raising his fist in celebration before the ball had even landed over the black spot. Kevin Rafferty, the St Eunan’s midfielder, had been sent off for the first time in this lengthy career having a picking up a second yellow for a foul on McHugh¬†moments beforehand.

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All in all, it was a fair result. St Eunan’s recovered from the loss of Rory Kavanagh to black card midway through the first half when he was adjudged to have hauled down Ciaran McGinley. At one stage Kilcar were up by four points in the opening period, while St Eunan’s led by two 16 minutes from time.

A penalty by Patrick McBreaty on 11 minutes gave the away side a cushion that they would keep until half-time. It was a stone-waller awarded by Shaun Paul Doherty, the match referee.

Stephen McBrearty made a daring run right at the heart of the St Eunan’s defence and was fouled by Conor Morrison and then goalkeeper Sean Daffan. Referee Doherty out-streched his his arms to confirm the award after the second of those infringements, although in all likelihood it was for the first.

St Eunan's

It was David McGinley’s St Eunan’s who opened the brighter with two Conor Gibbons points. But Kilcar’s response was impressive. Ryan McHugh’s running pierced a hole at the St Eunan’s defender and his shot was true. Daffan got two hands on the ball to save well down to his right.

Ryan McHugh slotted over the 45 and quickfire points from Patrick McBrearty and a fine score from Eoin McHugh meant Kilcar went from two down to one up.

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When Patrick McBrearty beat Daffan from the aforementioned penalty, Kilcar had contrived to build a decent lead in the circumstances, particularly after the Kilcar forward curled over a beauty from the terrace side to put his team 1-4 to 0-2 up on 13 minutes.

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Kavanagh broke free to point for St Eunan’s but that would be his last significant contribution because he was black-carded moments later.

It was a golden opportunity at that stage for the visitors from Towney. However, it was St Eunan’s who took control. Three points from experienced campaigners Conall Dunne, John Haran and Kevin Rafferty meant only a 1-4 to 0-6 deficit.

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But in Michael Hegarty, Kilcar had someone with an eye for a score and the midfielder popped over twice in the last two minutes of the half to leave Kilcar 1-6 to 0-6 ahead at half-time.

With something of a deceptive breeze at their backs, St Eunan’s change in tact after the the break was obvious. They went long with much more frequency and reaped benefit from it.

Kilcar

David Tyrrell, Rory Carr and Darragh Mulgrew pointed at the start of the second half to level it up at 0-9 to 1-6.

Kilcar were finding scores hard to come by. But when Patrick McBreaty scored a free on 37 minutes they were back in front, only for Tyrrell to level it again from another 45.

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Conor O’Donnell then edged St Eunan’s in front on 40 minutes before 16 minutes of lockdown. St Eunan’s went two up on 54 minutes when Patrick McGowan but Kilcar pegged it back with points from Matthew McClean and Tyan McHugh’s 45.

It was in the melting point and Conor Gibbons put St Eunan’s ahead in injury time. And McHugh levelled again. Kilcar had a chance to win it late in the day only for Ciaran McGinley’s shot to tail off wide.

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St Eunan’s: Sean Daffan; Conor Morrison, Caolan Ward, Sean Hensey; Peter Devine, Conor O’Donnell (0-1), Eamonn Doherty; Kevin Rafferty (0-1), Rory Kavanagh (0-1); David Tyrrell (0-2, 2 ’45’), Darragh Mulgrew (0-1), Conor Gibbons (0-3); Conall Dunne, John Haran (0-1), Rory Carr (0-2). Subs: Oisin Carr for Kavanagh (17 black card), Conor Parke for O Carr (43), Lee McMonagle for Tyrrell (48), Patrick McGowan (0-1) for R Carr (51)

Kilcar: Eamonn McGinley; Pauric Carr, Conor McShane, Stephen Shovlin; Ryan McHugh (0-3, 2 ’45’, f), Mark McHugh, Andrew McClean; Michael Hegarty (0-2), Ciaran McGinley; Eoin McHugh (0-1), Stephen McBrearty, Matthew McClean (0-1); Aodhan McGinley, Patrick McBrearty (1-3, 1-0 pen, 2f), Mark Sweeney. Subs: Conor Doherty for A McGinley (46)

Referee: Shaun Paul Doherty (Urris).

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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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