THE DONEGAL LEAGUE are through to the quarter-finals of the Oscar Traynor Cup after a superb win over United Churches League at The Moss this afternoon.
Donegal League 3 United Churches League 2
Brian Dorrian’s team came from behind and had to endure a nervy finish after the UCL pulled a goal back with the hosts having gone 3-1 up early in the second half.
Chris Malseed and Kyle Black netted in the first half for the Donegal League, while Ryan Gildea’s free-kick caught out David Frewman, the UCL goalkeeper, in the early stages of the second half.
Ger Barry had struck the opener after just 90 seconds and it was he who reduced the arrears for UCL on 68 minutes. The UCL played out the final 14 minutes with ten men after Patrick Shorthall was shown a second booking following a foul on Malseed.
The Donegal League hasn’t made inroads in this competition in recent years so this win – and a home draw in the quarter-final – is a significant boost for Dorrian’s men.
Disaster struck for the home team when they fell behind just two minutes in, as Barry capitalised on poor marking by the home side to turn home from Luke Morrissey’s teasing free-kick.
Donegal’s first real chance came on 17 minutes when Gary Merritt’s chasing led to him feeding a neat inside pass for Eoin Sheridan, whose shot was saved by Frewman.
Donegal levelled a minute later. Black’s persistence down the left-hand reaped the dividends. With Frewman out of position, Black’s magnificent cross to the far post was turned home by Malseed.
Within seven minutes, Donegal were in front. Merritt powered in a free, Frewman could only punch clear and Black brilliantly hammered to the net from twelve yards.
In between times, Donegal’s probing nearly came good, but Sheridan just failed to get a touch to Benny Bonner’s cross.
In first-half stoppage time, the United Churches League came close to getting back on level terms, but Michael McLaughlin saw his attempt deflect wide of the target.
Two minutes into the second half, Donegal extended their lead. Ryan Gildea’s free from way out was left by a defender and goalkeeper Frewman made a hash of it, palming to the net.
There were still 22 minutes remaining when sub Darren King was taken down in the box by Gildea and the penalty was firmly dispatched by Barry.
However, UCL’s hopes were dealt a hammer blow when Shorthall was given his marching orders.
Donegal finished well and could have added to their tally, but Jamie Boyle just missed a connection to Merritt’s great cross and Joey Cullen forced a brilliant one-handed save by Frewman.
In added time, Merritt beat two defenders before Malseed riffled over a stinging volley from 20 yards.
Donegal League: Christopher Sweeney; Jamie Boyle, Ryan Gildea, Ryan Shields (Paul Sweeney ’72), Benny Bonner; Eoin Sheridan, Chris Malseed, Phillip Whyte (Glenn Gallagher ’80), Damien Crossan, Kyle Black (Joey Cullen ’75); Gary Merritt.
United Churches League: David Frewman; Luke Morrissey (Matt Cullen ’60), Michael McDonnell, Ger Barry, Dan Dunne; Caolan Griffiths, Nigel O’Hara (Jonathan Kavanagh ’85), Patrick Shorthall, Andy Lougheed; Michael McLaughlin (Darren King ’55), Aidan Lynch.
Referee: Joe McHugh.Tags: