Bonagee United secured top spot – and a home semi-final – in their Donegal News USL League Cup group as Micheál Doherty scored twice to overcome Fanad United at Dry Arch Park
Bonagee United 2 Fanad United 1
By Chris McNulty at Dry Arch Park
Doherty struck either side of a Davitt Walsh goal for Fanad, while Walsh saw a penalty saved by Kealan Mulcahy just after Doherty had restored the Bonagee lead.
As the downpour teemed upon the participants, Fanad – who had Connor McNulty sent off in a tempestuous ending to the first half – went in search of an equaliser, but Bonagee were able to hold out and make it two wins from two in Group B.
Bonagee were ahead after just 140 seconds. Jordan Armstrong swept a delicious ball to the right for the scampering Aaron Wasson to run onto. Wasson first-timed the cross and it was headed home by Doherty at the far post.
If that goal showed Bonagee at their fine attacking best, Fanad’s equaliser, which arrived in the 21st minute, showed some defensive frailties.
Walsh was allowed take control of Ryan McFadden’s cross on his chest and was enabled the time to volley past Mulcahy from 12 yards.
The equaliser came just after Paul Bradley cannoned a header off the top of the crossbar, having connected with a deep Dean McCarry cross. Mulcahy seemed to have got a hand to Bradley’s dropping header, but Packie Coll, the referee, gave a goal-kick.
Deano Larkin powered a half-volley into Shane Graham’s hands at the other end before Walsh tucked in to restore parity.
Fanad were down to ten men in stoppage time at the end of the first half. McNulty was given his marching orders after hitting out at Doherty and in an ensuing argument Fanad manager Arthur Lunch and Bonagee coach Paul Higgins were banished from the dugouts.
McNulty had warmed the hands of Mulcahy before his dismissal and the break offered the chance to both recoup and cool the temperatures.
Fanad were hit with a pair of hammer blows in the summer with the departure of last season’s top two goalscorers in the Ulster Senior League. Tony McNamee and Oisin McMenamin contributed almost 30 goals between them last term, but have both moved to pastures new, while Matthew Crossan has also departed Traigh-A-Loch.
Mulcahy twice prevented Fanad from taking the lead early in the second half, first saving with his legs to deny Dean McCarry and the Bonagee net minder did well to hold onto Shaun McElwaine’s testing downward header.
Bonagee began the new term with an exciting and high-scoring 5-3 win over Swilly Rovers on Wednesday night, but new manager Jason Gibson was without Garbhan Grant, Darren McFadden, Michael Funston and Mark Harkin.
Bonagee confirmed the recruitment of former Wolverhampton Wanderers youth player Ryan Rainey on Friday night, but must wait for his international clearance to be processed before he can return to Bonagee’s colours – seven years after he made the move to Molineaux.
After Larkin headed off the post, Bonagee restored the lead in the 63rd minute as Doherty beat the offside trap to tap home from Jamie Lynagh’s centre.
Fanad had an immediate chance to draw level. Mulcahy fouled Ed O’Reilly, but the home goalkeeper dusted himself down to save, and hold, Walsh’s tame penalty.
McCarry curled over with another big opening for Fanad and Wasson lifted over Graham, but his shot trickled just wide.
Bonagee United: Kealan Mulcahy; Cody Brogan, Sean Hume, Tommy McMonagle; Aaron Watson, Daniel Stolarczyk, Jordan Armstrong, Deano Larkin, Jamie Lynagh; Jack Murphy (Peter Carr 76); Micheál Doherty
Fanad United: Shane Graham; Oisin Langan, Shaun McElwaine, Peter Curran (Marty McAteer 79), James Gallagher (Declan McGarvey 56); Paul Bradley, Connor McNulty, Dean McCarry, Ryan McFadden; Ed O’Reilly, Davitt Walsh.
Referee: Packie CollTags: