DOWNINGS SNATCHED the Junior A title from beneath the noses of Naomh Padraig, Muff, in a dramatic finale at O’Donnell Park.
Downings 0-11 Naomh Padraig, Muff 1-7
When Oisin McColgan batted home a goal twelve minutes from the end, Naomh Padraig led by three points and it seemed almost incomprehensible that they’d lose.
But Downings refused to wilt and they turned the tables in an exciting finish.
Picture caption: Downings celebrate their winning of the Junior A Championship. Picture by Geraldine Diver.
A replay looked on the cards when Downings hit back to level, but heavily strapped substitute Gary Ban McClafferty arched over the winner to seal Downings’ fifth Junior title.
For Muff, they were left to wonder just how they’d let it slip having belied the full division that separates these teams up until they got caught in the headlines during those moments when the cord unravelled spectacularly.
The goal arrived on 48 minutes. Damien Diver, who led the charge for Naomh Padraig with five points, went for a point, but his effort dropped on the edge of the square.
McColgan ghosted in and got a hand in ahead of the Downings goalkeeper, Patrick McGroddy, to apply the finish.
All wasn’t quite what it appeared.[adrotate group=”53″]
Lorcan Connor and Colin Gallagher pointed frees before Connor slotted over after taking a pass from Gary Ban McClafferty, who was sent on in a bid to salvage the tie.
By then, Naomh Padraig were playing with 14 men after Donegal minor Aiden McLaughlin was sent off in the 58th minute having been given a second yellow card by referee Kevin McGinley.
Subs held the keys of the kingdom here for Andy Connor’s Downings.
Danny McBride had been on the field a matter of seconds when he curled over from the stand side for Downings’ first score in some 20 minutes during the first half.[adrotate group=”38″]
They’d fled from the starting points and had two points on the board after only two-and-a-half minutes with Connor and Brian McGinley getting the early scores.
There followed a barren spell for Downings as they struggled to find a way through the Naomh Padraig defensive screen and, with Eunan Keaveny beginning to get on top around the middle, the border men moved into the driving seat.[adrotate group=”83″]
Naomh Padraig were without their captain, Colm McColgan, who is scheduled to go under the knife tomorrow for corrective surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
McColgan sustained the injury just two days before Naomh Padraig’s quarter-final with Urris and was joined in having a watching brief by fellow midfielder Ryan McColgan.
Keaveney gave the Muff side a foothold in the engine room and with Damien Diver having the sniper’s eye from frees, Naomh Padraig scored five points in a row.[adrotate group=”82″]
Three Diver frees had them in front by the 10th minute and Stephen McLaughlin arrowed over with the Muff men rampant.
When Keaveney’s angled ball was plucked from the sky by Diver, the Muff full-forward spun onto his left and drilled over to put his team three ahead.
McBride brought Downings to life again before they spurned a chance to really carve Muff open when McGinley’s pass inside to Gallagher had too much weight, although Gallagher did well to get a point out of it.
Connor spurned a chance to level things up, but there was just a solitary point between them at the changeover after Chris O’Donnell and Gallagher exchanged points in added time.[adrotate group=”76″]
Connor made no mistake six minutes into the second half to bring the sides level for only the second time, but Diver split the sticks from a 40-metre free and when Oisin McColgan netted the blue and yellow flags went up and the roof was lifted.
Suddenly, though, the ceiling came tumbling in on top of them as Downings ground it out and Naomh Padraig were left to ponder how they’d blow their big chance as Gary Ban McClafferty swung over the match winner.
Downings: Patrick McGroddy; Max Davis, Shay Coyle, Kevin McGee; Brian McGinley (0-1), Kevin Doherty, Ben McNutt; Shaun McBride, Shane Boyce; Allen Pasoma, James Lee McBride, Oisin Boyce; Colin Gallagher (0-3, 1f), Ben McBride, Lorcan Connor (0-5, 3f). Subs: Danny McBride (0-1) for McNutt (22), Finghin McClafferty for S.Boyce (half-time), Aaron McClafferty for B.McBride (37), Gary McClafferty (0-1) for O.Boyce (49), Shaun McGinley for Gallagher (56).
Naomh Padraig, Muff: Joe McCauley; Justin Gallagher, Damien Laird, Enda McColgan; James Curran, Anthony McColgan, Aiden McLaughlin; Cathal McColgan, Eunan Keaveney; Chris O’Donnell (0-1), Oisin McColgan (1-0), Stephen McLaughlin (0-1); Aidan Lynch, Damien Diver (0-5, 4f), Brian McColgan. Subs: Oisin McCool for Curran (43), Mark Duffy for Lynch (44), Martin Duffy for O’Donnell (49), Rhys Davenport for Gallagher (57).
Referee: Kevin McGinley (Naomh Columba).Tags: