FOR THE THIRD year in a row, the Inishowen League stuck a late, late knife into Donegal League hearts to claim an Oscar Traynor Cup win.
Inishowen League 2 Donegal League 1
Terence Doherty’s 87th minute goal fired Diarmuid O’Brien’s men to a win that was scarcely-deserved in the heavy Maginn Park fog.
Glengad United striker Doherty converted three minutes from time for his second of the night, just when it seemed as if Ciaran McGeady’s 74th minute goal would earn Brian Dorrian’s Donegal a point.
Donegal played as if affronted and stung by the negativity that swept towards them after an opening day 2-1 loss against Monaghan-Cavan was followed by some withdrawals from the panel.
Dorrian’s team showed six changes from the previous game and Donegal, for long spells, were on top here and had a number of good chances.
However, they lacked a real killer touch in the final third and Inishowen possessed it in the form of the deadly Doherty.
Brendan Fildara swept the ball right to the scampering Anthony Doherty and his inviting cross was fired past Mark Gallagher, the Donegal goalkeeper, by the ever-alert and dangerous Doherty.
The on-form Doherty, who netted a hat-trick for his club last Sunday, had given Inishowen the lead in the 39th minute. Donegal failed to cut out a long clearance from Michael Barr, the Inishowen right-back. Doherty siezed on the hesitancy and applied the finish.
The game began with Donegal, who entered feeling they were in must-win territory, looking to leave a mark and midfielder James Melly scythed down Dillon Ruddy in the first minute, ending Ruddy’s night before it could begin.
While Nigel McMonagle and Fildara tried their luck for the hosts, Donegal could and should have been in front in the 15th minute.
Pajo Rafferty, one of the new faces in the Donegal XI, saw a shot block before Damian Crossan was twice denied in the follow up with his deflected effort saved by Kevin McLaughlin.[adrotate group=”88″]
Doherty managed to find the back of the Donegal net, but an offside flag cut short his celebrations.
Inishowen netminder McLaughlin denied Rafferty the breakthrough with a magnificent save in the 26th minute. Rafferty’s flicked header from Melly’s free kick saw McLaughlin fling himself across, when he seemed committed to going the other way, to make the save.
Fildara and Melly weren’t far away with free kicks at either end and Doherty’s goal was all that stood between them at the interval.
Melly, who was the stand-out performer on the night ahead of an FAI Junior Cup date with Kildrum Tigers against Erne Wanderers tomorrow, was causing Inishowen several problems, particularly with his set-piece deliveries.[adrotate group=”46″]
Paul Sweeney header narrowly off-target from a Melly free but from another delivery by the midfielder Donegal drew level 16 minutes from time.
The initial award of the free was hotly disputed, but Melly’s teasing inswinger from the left-edge of the penalty box was flicked home by McGeady.
It came just moments after Gallagher did well to hold onto the ball when Doherty unselfishly attempted to centre rather that have a go himself.
Just when it looked as if the derby foes would play out a draw, Inishowen – who have still to bring Michael Byrne, Matthew Henry and Kieran McDaid back into the side – broke for the winner and it was Doherty who emerged from the falling fog as the man who’d maintained Inishowen’s perfect start to this season’s representative season.[adrotate group=”53″]
Donegal are now looking for favours, but will do so without Micheál Doherty, sent off by referee Liam Davenport after the final whistle for dissent.
Inishowen League: Kevin McLaughlin; Michael Barr, John Gerard McLaughlin, Matthew Byrne, Fearghal Harkin; Dillon Ruddy (Shaun Doherty 3), Shane Canning, Brendan Fildara, Nigel McMonagle (William McLaughlin 85); Aiden Friel (Anthony Doherty 69), Terence Doherty.
Donegal League: Mark Gallagher, Jamie Boyle, Ray Quinn (Micheál Doherty 60), Paul Sweeney, Patrick Cannon; Ciaran McGeady, Philip Whyte, James Melly (Glenn Gallagher 90), Damian Crossan (Kevin Doran 84); Pajo Rafferty, Ritchie Moore (Gavin McGlanaghey 60).
Referee: Liam Davenport.Tags: