St Michael’s moved into pole position in Group A of the Donegal SFC after overturning an early Bundoran onslaught at The Bridge.
St Michael’s 1-15 Bundoran 2-9
Jamie Brennan netted twice in the opening eight minutes to give Bundoran an early command, but Andrew Kelly’s goal ten minutes into the second half helped seal a win for St Michael’s that puts them out on their own at the summit of the group.
St Michael’s were on level terms by the sixth minute of the second half.
After Christy Toye slammed over, Colm McFadden’s brace of frees evened the abacus and they led for the first time in the 40th minute.
McFadden set Martin McElhinney scampering clear and, with a four-v-two scenario unfolding, he released Andrew Kelly, who made no mistake with a clinical finish to the Bundoran net.
Slick St Michael’s were in again when Toye and Daniel McLaughlin combined to set up Kelly, whose shot was blocked down, but McLaughlin clipped over from the narrowest of angles.
It hadn’t seemed that way in the early stages.
There were just 90 seconds on the watch when Bundoran raised their first green flag of the day. Gary Clancy’s Hail Mary was misjudged by St Michael’s goalkeeper Dean McColgan and Brennan slipped around the back to fire home.
As Brennan was steering into the empty net, Michael Langan lay strewn on the turn at the other end. Langan landed awkwardly as he rose to get his mitts on Liam Paul Ferry’s angled ball. A four-minutes stoppage ensued before Langan, albeit not moving too freely, played on before being replaced by Michael Gallagher ten minutes later.
Langan was helped from the field at half-time and, ahead of a trip to Malin next weekend, the young Donegal player looks a major doubt.
Brennan bagged his second goal after only eight minutes. From deep, Brennan meandered his way through before unleashing a cracking effort past McColgan to the net.
In the absence of Donegal number 1 Mark Anthony McGinley, McColgan was deputising and it was a nightmare beginning for the young stopper – but McColgan was to thank as he made a brilliant save to deny Brennan his hat-trick deep in stoppage time.
There were almost seven minutes of additional gone when Brennan’s low shot was well stopped by the alert McColgan to preserve the lead.
St Michael’s began to come into it late in the opening period and when wing-back Liam Paul Ferry stroked over from the right-hand side they were within four again.
They might have been closer still, but Colm McFadden prodded just wide after he sold a dummy to get into position after Martin McElhinney and Daniel McLaughlin cut through.
As they headed for the interval, St MIchael’s were three down as Oisin Langan’s neat effort cut the deficit, though Bundoran were 2-5 to 0-8 in front at that stage.
After St Michael’s assumed control of things, Bundoran looked odds-on for another goal when sub Alan Russell beat McColgan only for Oisin Langan to make the vital intervention.
There was another lengthy stoppage in the second half after Bundoran corner-back Matthew Ward had to be carried off with a suspected collar bone injury.
St Michael’s: Dean McColgan; Liam Kelly, Michael McGinley, Ruairi Friel; Liam Paul Ferry (0-1), Ciaran Gallagher, Oisin Langan (0-1); Martin McElhinney (0-1), Ciaran Kelly; Christy Toye (0-3), Colm McFadden (0-6, 5f), Daniel McLaughlin (0-2); Hugh O’Donnell (0-1), Michael Langan, Andrew Kelly (1-0). Subs: Michael Gallagher for M.Langan (17), Odhrán McFadden for C.Kelly (60).
Bundoran: Ashley Mulhern; Shane McGowan, Michael McEniff, Matthew Ward; Paul Brennan, Diarmuid McCaughey, Paul Murphy; Ciaran McCaughey, Peter McGonigle (0-1); Niall Dunne, Tommy Hourihane (0-1), Gary Clancy (0-2, 1f); Christy Keaney (0-1), Jamie Brennan (2-2), Cian McEniff (0-1). Subs: Alan Russell (0-1) for Hourihane (43), Diarmuid Spratt for Keaney (43), James Keaney for Ward (57).
Referee: Enda McFeely (St Mary’s, Convoy).