St Eunan’s reclaimed the County Division One Minor Football Championship with success over Kilcar this evening.
St Eunan’s 5-10 Kilcar 1-8
The ability to score in blitzes was what proved the difference. In two separate spells of barely 90 seconds each in the first half, St Eunan’s rattled off four goals and then just had to keep Kilcar at arm’s length in the second half.
After seeing their clubmates at Under-14 level take the honours in their championship earlier in the day, the Letterkenny side raced into a nine-point lead before Kilcar got off the mark at St Mary’s Park in Convoy.
Two goals in the opening set the tone for the contest with Conor O’Donnell shooting home a penalty on 11 minutes and then Matthew McGovern adding a second goal a minute later.
O’Donnell, who would score 1-5 in all, sent Kilcar goalkeeper Colm Garvey the wrong way from the penalty after Eoin McGeehin was adjudged to have been fouled by Kilcar full-back Cormac Leime.
Oisin Purdy, Matthew McGovern and Conor O’Donnell of St Eunan’s following their Division 1 MFC win over Kilcar in Convoy this evening
Then, Garvey in the Kilcar goal was unfortunate as he made it out and got behind McGovern’s shot but the ball spun up in the air and unconventionally into the corner.
It was 2-3 to 0-0 before Kilcar got off the mark in the 13th minute, when Owen McCormick scored an this effort was soon supplemented by a point from Oran Doogan.
But when Kilcar added a third point in succession, they began to believe that little bit more and on 21 minutes, a fine move resulted in Kieran Gillespie shooting past Ronan McGeehin and despite their early travails, the Towney outfit were just three down – 2-3 to 1-3.
Kilcar, managed by Michael Molloy, were gaining all the momentum and three minutes before the interval saw Aaron McShane denied a goal by a fine block by Patrick McColgan.
Then, a minute later, McColgan again made a block that might well have resulted in a Kilcar goal, when he got down at the feet of Gillespie.
Conor O’Donnell, at the other end, popped over a point from a St Eunan’s break and the same player added a free then on the interval. And right on the break, a third and indeed St Eunan’s goal put some daylight in it.
The first of those came when a ball broke loose in the Kilcar square and was rammed home by Louis Hasson.
Then, with Kilcar reeling, St Eunan’s added a fourth when McGeehin tucked home from close range having been set up by O’Donnell.
Kilcar might’ve been level on the 28th minute and then went at the break 11 points in arrears. At half-time it was St Eunan’s 4-5 Kilcar 1-3.
Two years ago, those from the Cathedral Town were victors in the competition and made it all the way to the pinnacle of the province, where eventually undone by Crossmaglen Rangers in the final of the St Paul’s Ulster Minor Football Tournament.
That’s for another day for Brian McGeehin and Paul McGovern’s side. Their domestic success was a comprehensive one, following a 6-13 to 0-5 quarter-final victory against St Naul’s and then a 3-10 to 0-5 success over Ardara.
Kilcar opened the second half with two points although there was a feeling that the only currency that would’ve been worth tendering was goals. St Eunan’s went through the motions for a spell but on the 41st minute Hasson tucked home their fifth goal of the day from close range on the ground after Garvey saved the first attempt.
Kilcar then lost Brian O’Donnell and for them, the game was up. Another O’Donnell, Conor of St Eunan’s, and his team-mate Hasson kept the scoreboard ticking over in the latter stages as the heavens opened again.
St Eunan’s: Ronan McGeehin; Jerome Angel-Atuahene, Ciaran McCloskey, Anthony Gallagher; Ryan Hilferty, Michael McGroary, Peter McEniff; Patrick McColgan (0-1), Aaron Deeney; Louis Hasson (1-3), Niall Hannigan, Eoin McGeehin (1-0); Conor O’Donnell (1-5, 1-0 pen, 2f), Matthew McGovern (1-0), Oisin Purdy (0-1). Subs: James Kelly for Hannigan (49), Conor McWalters for McGrory (51, black card), Darragh Morrison for Hilferty (56), Shane McGuire for Purdy (59), Oisin McGarvey for McEniff (60+2)
Kilcar: Colm Garvey; Dillon O’Gara, Cormac Leime, Kenny Duggan; Oran Doogan (0-2), Gavin Moore, Ryan O’Donnell; Brian O’Donnell, Paddy McShane; Aaron McShane, Gary Molloy, Caolan Curren; Kieran Gillespie (1-4, 4f), Shane Gillepsie (0-1, 1f), Owen McCormick (0-1). Subs: David Love for McShane (38), Cillian O’Malley for O’Donnell (43, black card), Johnny Byrne for McCormack (45), MAtthew Cunningham for K Gillespie (58).
Referee: Mark Dorrian (Gaeil Fhánada)