GERARD Ward stole the show as Glenfin made it two wins from two with a useful six-point win over St Naul’s.
Glenfin 1-14 St Naul’s 0-11
By Chris McNulty at Pairc Taobhóige
As the sun beat down on Alt na Paste, it was Ward who shone brightest. Ward scored 1-10, six of them coming from his flawless free taking.
Ward’s goal, with the last action of the first half, was the game’s decisive score, given Glenfin a nine-point (1-9 to 0-3) lead at the changeover.
St Naul’s – who were without the totemic influences of Peadar Mogan and Daniel Brennan – rallied in the second half, but Glenfin were able to keep them at arm’s length.
After Ward and Shane Conneely swapped points early on, Glenfin ‘keeper Andrew Walsh landed a majestic score from a ’45. From just a few feet inside the right-hand touchline, Walsh deliciously soared over.
Ward made it a two-point game after Ross Marley was deemed to have been fouled by St Naul’s net minder Gavin Mulreany and when Glenfin won the kick-out, Marley arched over.
Marley fetched brilliantly and pointed from Daniel McGlynn’s teasing deliver and a lovely score from Ward put five between them.
When Ward sailed between the sticks from a 45-metre free at the graveyard end, Glenfin were six up, but the ace attacker was to soon sew things up.
Ward slalomed away from the defence’s clutches and, with Mulreaney closing hard, the home forward dummied and clipped high to the net.
Seven minutes into the second half, Marley was adjudged to have been fouled by Brendan McCole – a decision that drew the ire of the St Naul’s contingent – and Ward tucked over from the free.
By now, St Naul’s supporters vented their fury towards referee Seamus McGonagle. McCole’s shoulder on Marley had been robust and it seemed harsh to penalise.
St Naul’s, though, should not have needed assistance late in the first half when the lively Stuart Johnston found himself with a sight of goal after he stepped inside from the left-hand side. Johnston’s shot flew wide and Glenfin exhaled in relief.
Ward continued to clock up the points, posting from a superb Jason Morrow pass to keep seven points in it after Lee McBrearty, Stephen Griffin and Thomas White hit three-in-a-row for the visitors.
Goalkeeper Mulreany roamed out around the middle in a bid to boost St Naul’s for the last ten minutes and he managed to convert a ’45. His presence aided St Naul’s – who had a fine win over Dungloe last Sunday – but they badly missed the influence of Mogan’s probing runs.
White and Griffin narrowed the gap after Ward completed his scoring escapades with a free after Conor McBrearty fouled sub Kyle O’Meara.
Glenfin had an impressive win in Killybegs in their opening game and Mark McGinty’s squad certainly looked energised as they headed off into the evening.
Glenfin: Andrew Walsh (0-1, 1 ’45); Martin O’Donnell, John Harkin, Gary Herron; Odhran McGlynn, Darren Marley (0-1), Daithi Carr; Frank McGlynn, Stephen Carr; Jason Morrow, Conor Ward, Ross Marley (0-2); Gerard Ward (1-10, 6f), Stephen Ward, Daniel McGlynn. Subs: Gavin McDermott for D.Carr (50), Gary Dorrian for C.Ward (52), Kyle O’Meara for S.Ward (54).
St Naul’s: Gavin Mulreany (0-1, 1 ’45); Conor McBrearty, Brendan McCole, Shane Meehan; Martin Breslin, Barry Griffin, John Rose; Stephen Griffin (0-6f), Ian Campbell; Brian McGroary, Stuart Johnston, Cathal Lowther; Thomas White (0-2), Daniel Meehan, Shane Conneely (0-1). Subs: Lee McBrearty for Meehan (34), John Relihan for McGroary (52).
Referee: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh).