GARY MERRITT FIRED home a hat-trick as the Donegal League opened their Oscar Traynor Cup campaign with an emphatic win at John Sherlock Park in Cootehill.
Cavan/Monaghan League 0-5 Donegal Junior League
On the 3G pitch, Brian Dorrian’s team took a while to find their higher gears.
Cavan/Monaghan went close on a couple of occasions early on. First of all, local boy Enda Hessin’s 20-yarder wnet just over the crossbar. Then, Jimmy Fallon was just off the mark.
Photo caption: The Donegal Junior League team that started against the Cavan/Monaghan League. Photo: Gary Foy, League PRO
Stevie O’Connor had another chance on 21 but his touch let him down and Christopher Sweeney from Gweedore Celtic did enough to avert the danger.
At the other end, a Chris Malseed shot from the edge of the penalty area forced Conor Forde into a superb save.
In the five or so minutes before the break, Donegal upped it a gear and Donegal got their breakthrough. Ryan Gildea raced down the right wing and his cross found Joey Cullen who held up the ball, passed it back to Merritt to volley home.
Ryan Gildea of the Donegal League makes a break for his side against Cavan-Monaghan in the Oscar Traynor Cup at JoghnSherlock Park in Cootehill yesterday. Photo: Gary Foy
Then, two minutes before half-time Donegal had a second when Ryan Gildea, at the second attempt, made it 2-0
On 72 minutes, substitute Kyle Black tore through the home defence on the right hand side and bent a superbly placed shot passed Forde.
The second and Donegal’s fourth came when once again the pacey Black raced through on goal but Forde was judged to have fouled him and Merritt slotted home the penalty.
Tommy Mc Fadden, Donegal Creameries/Arivo representative pictured presenting Donegal League Chairman John Joe Mc cafferty with High Protein drinks for the Oscar traynor Panel. Included are team Captain Barney Lafferty, Manager Brian Dorrian and Panel members Gary Merritt, Christopher Sweeney and Chris Malseed. Photo: Gary Foy, League PRO
From then to the end of the game Donegal pressed forward but came up against a resolute defence until the 88th minute when Merritt pinged the ball into the top right hand corner of the net from just outside the square for his hat trick and Donegal’s fifth.
Next up in three weeks’ time, the Donegal League take on the Inishowen League, who were also among the goals today.
Donegal League: Christopher Sweeney (Gweedore Celtic); Jamie Boyle (Gweedore Celtic), Ryan Shields (Kilmacrennan Celtic), Ryan Gildea (Rathmullan Celtic), Benny Bonner (Drumoghill FC); Joey Cullen (Milford United), Christopher Malseed (Drumoghill FC), Brian Lafferty (Cappry Rovers), Christy Conaghan (Kilmacrennan Celtic); Darren McGeever (Glenea United), Gary Merritt (Milford United). Subs: Kyle Black (Milford United) for Conaghan, Philip Whyte (Drumoghill FC) for Bonner, Darren Doran (Lagan Harps) for McGeever.Tags: