JOE COLL WAS the hero for the Donegal League in their Oscar Traynor Cup quarter-final on an afternoon of high drama at the Moss in Drumoghill.
Donegal Football League 1-1 North Eastern Football League
(After extra-time. Donegal won 6-5 on penalties)
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Coll (pictured above by Stephen Doherty) – who keeps goal for Glenea United – saved the 14th penalty of a nervy penalty shoot-out against the North Eastern Football League with Derek Bowans the unfortunate man who missed.
Donegal now take on the Clare League in the last four, while the Inishowen League – the reigning champions – are still in contention with a last eight tie to play against the Galway League the weekend after next.
Gary Merritt saw the first penalty of the shoot-out saved by Conor Gilsenan, while Darren Doran, Damien Crossan, Benny Bonner and Jamie Boyle all scored to take it to sudden death.
For the away team, David Bowans, Dean Carolan, Paul Delaney and Sean Doyle made no mistake, but Stefan McKevitt had struck the crossbar meaning it was 4-4 after five penalties each.
Ryan Shields of Donegal and the North Eastern Football League’s Kevin Bull scored to make to 5-5 before Christopher Malseed, the Donegal captain, scored the 13th penalty before Coll’s save.
It was a tough way to lose a game but one in which Donegal had started poorly before getting back into the thick of things.
Early on, the side managed by Brian Dorrian certainly got their fill of it. They trailed 1-0 at the break through an eighth minute Paul Delaney goal and that was the very least the visitors deserved.
Milford United’s Kyle Black, though, levelled for the home team on 58 minutes.
The Donegal League squad that overcame the North Eastern Football League on penalties in the Oscar Trayor Cup quarter-final this afternoon in Drumoghill. Photo: Stephen Doherty
Donegal, who won the competition for the one and only time in 1983, found themselves one down before they’d even settled.
After Ryan Gildea lost possession, Barry Kavanagh’s chip over the top of the Donegal defence got Delaney in and his first touch was excellent before placing the ball into Joe Coll’s bottom corner for the opening goal.
The North Eastern Football League continued to press. On 14 minutes, following a Delaney cross, Cormac Reid headed wide at the back post and Conor Walsh also saw a fine effort go just wide on 24 minutes.
Donegal took their time to get into the game and after a Brian Lafferty cross, Crossan didn’t trouble goalkeeper Gilsenan.
The North Eastern Football League netminder was called into action to block, with the assistance of a defender, from Black and then saved well from Crossan as Donegal came to life.
The second half began with Donegal still a goal down but they almost fashioned an equaliser in the first minute of part two when Black was only inches off connecting with a Boyle cross.
The away team almost doubled their advantage on 50 minutes when Malseed, but Danny Coyle shot over.
Black made it 1-1 some 13 minutes into the second period when he reacted first to a save from Gilsenan in the North Eastern Football League goal from a free-kick by Merritt.
Black did well to turn in a crowded penalty area and fire into the bottom corner.
Although Donegal were up against it, particularly in the first half, they were right back in the contest.
Gilsenan had a luck escape on 79 minutes when he completely misjudged a free from Merritt – which might in fact have been over-hit – and it flew two foot wide of the post to the relief of the former Cavan U-21 goalkeeper.
The North Eastern Football League were still dangerous, though, and eight minutes from time their two substitutes Derek Bowans and McKevitt combined down the right and the former got in and rounded Coll in the Donegal goal.
However, Gildea atoned his error when Donegal conceded and cleared off the line.
At the other end, Malseed drew a great save from Gilsenan and in the final moments, Coll in the Donegal goal made an excellent double save – first of all to block Walsh and then Derek Bowans.
In extra-time’s second period, Crossan missed the target from a good opening some 14 yards from goal and Derek Bowans also went close when he trickled a shot just wide after rounding Coll.
Donegal League: Joe Coll; Jamie Boyle, Ryan Gildea, Ryan Shields, Benny Bonner; Brian Lafferty (Joey Cullen 60), Philip Whyte, Chris Malssed, Damien Crossan; Kyle Black (Darren Doran 65), Gary Merritt.
North Eastern Football League: Conor Gilsenan; Paul Delaney, Kevin Bull, Anto McGuinness, Shaun Doyle; Cormac Reid, Jonathan Deegan, Dean Carolan, Danny Coyle (Stefan McDevitt 80); Barry Kavanagh (Derek Bowans 70), Conor Walsh (David Bowans half-time, extra-time).
Referee: Paul Kilcoyne (Sligo).Tags: