DONEGAL MASTERS marked their return to the grade with a hard-fought win over Offaly in yesterday’s Irish TV Gaelic Masters Shield in Galway.
Donegal 0-13 Offaly 0-10
Offaly were first off the mark pointing from play on 7 minutes but Kilcar’s David McShane levelled things three minutes later.
Offaly hit the next two points and had a two-point lead going on 15 minutes. Donegal were causing problems and when Captain Gerard Mc Grenra nearly connected after a McShane long ball in there was certainly a sense of panic in the Offaly backline but it was dealt with.[adrotate group=”53″]
John Anthony McMullan was sent to the side line for a yellow card (equivalent to a black card in Masters football) and was replaced by Four Master’s man Benny Cassidy who would chip in with two vital points.
St. Eunan’s John Haran hit point number two for Donegal on 15 minutes and McGrenra would hit the third point from a well-worked free to restore parity.
This was Glenswilly man McGrenra’s first point of a tally of four he would go on to lift the man of the match award for his contribution.[adrotate group=”86″]
Offaly rattled over a free and McGrenra responded three minutes later again and his club mate Charlie Bonner point number five.
Offaly responded with a duo of points themselves from play but that McGrenra knocked over a very fine score to level up the half with Haran having a chance to put one point between the sides going into half time but his shot narrowly going wide.
The teams were level, 0-6 apiece, at the break.
The second half really told a different story to the first and within six minutes of the restart points from McGrenra after a strong run down the right wing was rewarded with another superb score and it set the scene for things to come. Haran found Benny Cassidy and the Four Masters man applied the finish to point over.[adrotate group=”59″]
Offaly did reply soon after but were stung when Donegal went on to record 5 more points before they were able to respond.
McShane added his second point and the Four Master’s duo of Charlie Gallagher and Cassidy added when the latter completed the former’s move in a blistering opening 10 minutes that played its part in ensuring the Donegal team went home as champions.
Charlie Gallagher’s efforts for the day were rewarded before his withdrawal when his long range pass into the full forward line bounced awkwardly for the goalkeeper and his own man but luckily it had the height and accuracy to sail over the bar.
Haran completed his scoring for the day with a score on 42 minutes and the momentum was clearly on the Donegal men’s side at this stage.[adrotate group=”81″]
Offaly to their credit were not going to let the game get totally out of reach and started to apply intense pressure for the remaining 10 minutes.
An absolute screamer of a point from Cassidy finished out the scoring on the Donegal end for the day and all the points came from play.
Sean McDaid of Urris was called into action at the other side when he pulled off an important block on an Offaly attack and Naomh Columba’s Martin Gillespie was busy for the remaining six minutes.[adrotate group=”46″]
Offaly had a great chance to net a goal and claw the Donegal lead back to three points but the effort went over for a point with the Donegal side’s defence applying the necessary pressure and presence.
Offaly did go on to hit over another 2 points from play entering into injury time but the wonderful second half start that Donegal made had ensured the Shield would be heading up to Donegal.
Donegal: Martin Gillespie, Charlie Doherty, Kevin McGettigan, John Anthony McMullan, Sean McDaid, Eamon Doherty, Michael Mc Shane, David McShane (0-2), Charlie Gallagher (0-1), Charlie Bonner (0-1), Gerard McGrenra (0-4), Paul McGlynn, Dan Branley, John Haran (0-2), Sean Boyce. Subs: Benny Cassidy (0.3) for McMullan, Shane McClafferty for Boyce, Paul Gallagher for C.GallagherTags: