KIERAN Gallagher bagged two goals as Naomh Conaill swatted aside derby rivals Ardara.
Naomh Conaill 3-16 Ardara 2-8
By Chris McNulty at Davy Brennan Memorial Park
Gallagher (pictured above) found the back of Paddy Gallagher’s net with a speculative 42nd minute effort. After good work by Keelan McGill, Gallagher’s angled effort went in off the inside of the post.
Just four minutes later, Gallagher rose to palm home at the far post to twist the knife.
John Ross Molloy beat Stephen McGrath for a goal, 13 minutes from the end, that felt like a consolation for the visitors. Molloy’s high effort dipped late to deceive McGrath for Ardara’s first score since the 29th minute.
There were moments of promise for those who made the short trip from Kentucky, not least when Paul Walsh fed across for Kevin Whyte to bat in a second Ardara goal.
Damian Devaney’s young charges just mustered a spirited finale, but their goose was cooked during the middle quarters when Naomh Conaill took a complete charge. For good measure, Dermot Molloy plundered a goal in added time to seal an 11-point win.
Paul Walsh’s free clipped Ardara in front with the game’s opening score, marking his first point in senior football.
Robbie Adair doubled the lead, but Charles McGuinness tucked over a free, following a foul on Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí. But for a recent injury, Mac Ceallabhuí would have been in the Donegal panel for tomorrow’s Ulster Championship joust in Down. However, his first competitive outing of 2021 lasted barely six minutes before he hobbled off.
Daniel Gildea curled over a delicious point to rouse the hosts, drawing them level at 0-3 apiece at the first half water break.
On the resumption, Naomh Conaill hit three points in a deadly three-minute spell.
With Seamus Corcoran pulling the strings, Naomh Conaill took command. Odhran Doherty, Keelan McGill and Kevin McGettigan opened up a three-point lead.
Gildea showed that his first was no fluke with an even better second to give Naomh Conailla 0-9 to 0-4 advantage at the short whistle.
Wins over Kilcar and Gaoth Dobhair began Naomh Conaill’s campaign perfectly and they continued to motor with Brendan McDyer and Kieran Gallagher registering inside two minutes of the resumption.
Ardara won promotion back to the top flight in 2019, but only had the regional competition for league action last year, but Naomh Conaill’s depth was evidenced as Molloy and John O’Malley came off the bench to get in on the act.
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Hugh Gallagher, Jason Campbell, Conor Roarty (0-1); Odhran Doherty (0-1), Anthony Thompson, Kevin McGettigan (0-1); Keelan McGill (0-1), Ciaran Brennan; Brendan McDyer (0-2), Seamus Corcoran, Daniel Gildea (0-2); Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí, Charles McGuinness (0-3f), Kieran Gallagher (2-2). Subs: Marty Boyle for Mac Ceallabhuí (6), Dermot Molloy (1-2, 1f) for Brennan (35), JD Boyle for Roarty (42), John O’Malley (0-1f) for Corcoran (44), Gareth Concarr for Molloy (51), Jack Brennan for D Maguire (51).
Ardara: Paddy Gallagher; Nicholas Maguire, Tony Harkin, Nicholas Breslin; Kevin Whyte (1-0), Joe Melly, Shane Whyte; Robbie Adair (0-1), John Ross Molloy (1-2); Lorcan O’Donnell (0-1m), Tomás Boyle (0-1), Daryl Maguire; Paul Walsh (0-1f), CJ Molloy (0-2), Conor Classon. Subs: Matthew Sweeney for Classon (24), Cailum Malley for N.Maguire (42), Danny Walsh for Melly (44), Johnny Sweeney for O’Donnell (53).
Referee: James Connors (St Eunan’s).Tags: