ST EUNAN’S MOVED TO the top of what’s been called ‘the group of death’ in the Donegal SFC with an 11-point win this evening at Fintra against Killybegs.
Killybegs 1-6 St Eunan’s 2-14
Their stay ahead of Kilcar at St Michael’s might only be a brief one, with the other two heavyweights in Group B due to meet in Towney tomorrow, but victory over a young Killybegs team means David McGinley’s side will be right in the thick of the permutations come their visit to Dunfanghy tomorrow week.
Photo caption: Eoghan Ban Gallagher of Killybegs and John Haran from St Eunan’s jump to contest a high ball in the Group B meeting of the sides in the Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure Donegal SFC this evening at Fintra.
McGinley made a few switches to what would’ve been perceived to be his starting team’s shape with Rory Kavanagh at full-forward and Sean Hensey and Darragh McWalters at midfield, with Kevin Rafferty missing out with a shoulder injury.[adrotate group=”56″]
Corner-back Conor Morrison played a more attacking role and was rewarded when he slapped in the second St Eunan’s goal, after Conall Dunne had scored the first.
The game might’ve been running away from Killybegs on the scoreboard late on but Gary Connaghan’s team never let their head drop and faught on to the finish.
Kavanagh and Patrick McGowan had scored two points apiece by the 25th minute to move St Eunan’s into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead. Hugh McFadden, with a long ranger, was the Killybegs scorer.[adrotate group=”38″]
The hosts, who had already seen Christy Cunningham hobble off, then were dealt a considerable blow when Shane Molloy was black-carded by referee Sean Paul Doherty for hooking the leg of McGowan.
It was a clear black card, although the home bench did howl their frustration claiming that Hensey should’ve been dealt a similar punishment for an off-the-ball incident soon afterwards.
After Kavanagh, who was certainly proving a handful at the edge of the square, added his third point, Dunne shot past Kevin Martin left-footed for the opening goal of the game two minutes into first half injury time.
Conor Morrison of St Eunan’s reels off having scored his side’s second goal against Killybegs in the Group B meeting of the sides in the Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure Donegal SFC this evening at Fintra.
Peter Devine had made a daring run down the line and squared but Killybegs missed out on a chance to clear when the ball momentarily broke before falling to Dunne.
Two minutes later, Dunne added a point – after David McGuinness had scored Killybegs’ second – and that meant the visitors were 1-6 to 0-2 in front at half-time.
Killybegs – who had kicked six first half wides to St Eunan’s five – came out with fire in their belly at the start of part two. From Eoghan Ban Gallagher’s ball in from the sideline, Pauric Connaghan got a clean slap but his effort was easily saved by Sean Daffan in the St Eunan’s goal.
Conor Gibbons’ influence on the game grew in the second half and on 39 minutes St Eunan’s came within a whisker of a second goal only for David Tyrrell’s blast to cannon off the Killybegs crossbar and go over.[adrotate group=”81″]
McGowan was in a similar situation moments later but his drive at goal flew just over.
Killybegs tagged on scores from McFadden’s free, a placed ball from goalkeeper Martin and McGuinness’s second of the evening but when Kavanagh scored at the other end – his fourth from play – it meant St Eunan’s were 1-10 to 0-5 up with 10 minutes left.
Killybegs did give the home support reason for cheer though, as a minute later following a neat move with substitute Donal McGuire at its heart, Pauric Connaghan turned to shoot past Daffan into the bottom corner.
But St Eunan’s continued to move the ball quickly and Gibbons would add three more from play, while Dunne rounded off the scoring.[adrotate group=”37″]
Five minutes from time, Eamonn Doherty intercepted a loose ball as Killybegs sought to build from the back and Morrison was played in. After a give and go with Lee McMonagle, Morrison slapped into the empty net.
Killybegs: Kevin Martin (0-1, 1f); Owen Gallagher, Ciaran Connaghan, Daniel O’Donnell; David McGuinness (0-2), Christopher Murrin, Christy Cunningham; Hugh McFadden (0-3, 2f), Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Pauric Connaghan (1-0) Shane Molloy, Dara McClean; Evan Broderick, John Ban Gallagher, Daniel O’Keaney. Subs: Donal McGuire for Cunningham (7), Ryan Ward for Molloy (28, black card), Ryan Ward for O’Donnell (53).
St Eunan’s: Sean Daffan; Conor Morrison, Caolan Ward, Darragh Toal; Peter Devine, Eamonn Doherty, Connall O’Boyle; Sean Hensey, Darragh McWalters; Conall Dunne (1-2), John Haran, David Tyrrell (0-1); Patrick McGowan (0-3, 2f), Rory Kavanagh (0-4), Conor Gibbons (0-4). Subs: Conor Parke for O’Boyle (48), Lee McMonagle for Hensey (51), Oisin Carr for Kavanagh (59).
Referee: Sean Paul Doherty (Urris).