OISIN GALLEN was on fire as Sean MacCumhaills overcame Dungloe in a high-scoring opening Group B clash in the Donegal SFC.
Sean MacCumhaills 5-14 Dungloe 1-18
by Chris McNulty at Sean MacCumhaill Park. Pictures by Joe Boland, North West News Pix
Gallen hit 2-9 as MacCumhaills claimed an eight -point win over Dungloe.
The Donegal ace – just off the back of an excellent first year with the county seniors – was unstoppable as a five-star performance gave Bernard McGeehan’s men a winning start, with Martin O’Reilly, Brian Lafferty and Darren O’Leary also netting.
All bar one of Gallen’s scores came from play, with 1-1 of his tally kicked off his left foot.
An early Gallen goal had MacCumhaills 1-7 to 0-7 up as the first half was nearing a close.
Gallen effectively put the game beyond Dungloe’s reach with a super second goal. Brian Lafferty gave him the pass and Gallen still had work to do. After staving off the attention of Matthew Ward, Gallen slammed high past Danny Rodgers.
Less than a minute later, Martin O’Reilly finished to the bottom corner and MacCumhaills were in cruise control all of a sudden.
Gary Wilson bent over a magnificent point to put his men 11 ahead.
MacCumhaills played Division 1 of the All-County League for the first time in 14 years but, having played the bulk of their League games without Gallen, the Twin Towns men were relegated again last month.
Gallen, though, was on a crusade to light a fuse for MacCumhaills – beaten semi-finalists in the 2018 Championship.
After just six minutes, the flame-haired forward tucked home to the River End goal.
Former Donegal player O’Reilly made the telling incision into the Dungloe rearguard. As O’Reilly jinked his way through, Gallen moved into position. Gallen side-stepped and fired home.
Gallen led the way with a fabulous point from out on the right-hand side after only 40 seconds. Gallen was under pressure to an extend that referee Greg McGroary was blowing for a free as Gallen’s attempt soared between the sticks.
An excellent Gallen point opened up a four-point lead midway through the opening half.
Dungloe stayed in touch with Noel McBride, Barry Curran and Chris Green on the mark.
When Conor Greene sold a clever dummy to clip over, Dungloe were only three behind with five minutes remaining in the first half – but then the roof caved in and they were 3-9 to 0-8 behind at the short whistle.
While Dungloe rattled off the first four scores of part two – with Neely (2), David McCarron and Hugh Moy registering – MacCumhaills hit back in style.
After Gallen and O’Reilly hit points, Lafferty got in on the goalscoring spree as he fired past Rodgers when he found an inch of space.
Down the other end, Greene kept his cool to fire past Eoin Gallen, but Gallen unselfishly fed across goal for O’Leary to palm home his side’s fifth goal 11 minutes from the end.
Sean MacCumhaills: Eoin Gallen; Ronan McMenamin, Martin Gallagher, Aaron Gillooley; Gary Dunnion, Andrew McCloskey, Gavin Gallagher; Padhraic Patton, Nathan Gavigan; Martin O’Reilly (1-2), Gary Wilson (0-1), Luke Gavigan; Brian Lafferty (1-0), Darren O’Leary (1-2, 2f), Oisin Gallen (2-9, 1f). Subs: Adam Lynch for Gallagher (56), Stephen Mulligan for O’Leary (56), Conor Griffin for McMenamin (56), Chad McSorley for Lafferty (58)
Dungloe: Danny Rodgers; Jack Scally, Matthew Ward, Chris Greene (0-1); Darren Curran, Conor O’Donnell, Barry Curran (0-2); Noel McBride (0-4, 3f), Hugh Moy (0-1); David McCarron (0-1), Adam Neely (0-6, 5f), Gerard Walsh; Mark Curran (0-1), Conor Greene (1-2), Oisin Bonner. Subs: Jason McBride for Scally (half-time), Dylan Sweeney for O’Donnell (half-time), Ryan Connors for Bonner (56).
Referee: Greg McGroary (Four Masters).