DARACH O’Connor struck gold as Buncrana roared into the semi-finals of the Intermediate Championship.
Buncrana 4-15 Gaeil Fhánada 4-4
By Charlie Collins at The Scarvey
Former Donegal forward O’Connor, who has had a torrid time with injuries in recent years, was back to his best as he fired the Inishowen men to the last four at the expense of Gaeil Fhánada.
O’Connor hit 3-5 and Donegal midfielder Caolan McGonagle hit the other goal for the Scarvey side, the 2019 Junior champions.
Michael Sweeney scored an excellent 4-1 for Gaeil Fhánada, who were 2-9 to 3-2 in arrears at the break.
The opening goal came in the fifth minute as McGonagle hammered to the roof of the net after good work by Peter McLaughlin.
Just three minutes later, a superb run by O’Connor ended with the diminutive forward riffling to the top corner.
However, Gaeil Fhánada pulled a goal back when Alan McAteer’s free dropped short and Sweeney directed it to the net with the tips of his fingers.
The Portsalon residents had their tails up and they scored just after the water break in the first half as Sweeney palmed home following an excellent team move.
Sweeney had his hat-trick in added time when he converted after being set up by Conor McGonigle to make it a four-point game at the changeover, with Buncrana in front 2-9 to 3-2.
Four minutes after the break, O’Connor raced along the end line before drilling into the far corner.
On 42 minutes Sweeney added his fourth after a long ball in by Bernard McGettigan.
However, Buncrana had tacked on points from Odhrán Doherty, O’Connor, William McLaughlin and John Campbell to move firmly into the lead.
Nine minutes from the end, O’Connor hammered to the bottom corner to seal the win.
Buncrana: Harry Doherty; Evan McCallion, Jack O’Loughlin, Noel McLaughlin; William McLaughlin (0-1), Bruce Waldron, Oisin O’Flaherty; Peter McLaughlin, Caolan McGonagle (1-1); Ryan McElhinney, Odhran Doherty (0-3), Adrian Doherty; Oisin Hegarty ( 0-2), John Campbell (0-3), Darach O’Connor (3-5). Subs: Aiden Stokes for O’Flaherty (35), Paddy McMeyler for A.Doherty (45), Oisin Doherty for Campbell (50), Matthew Mulholland for Hegarty (53), Ben Bradley for Odhran Doherty (55).
Gaeil Fhánada: Eoin McGonigle; Joe Blaney, Ryan McGonigle, Odhrán Shiels; Darren McElwaine, Jimmy Coyle (0-1), Bernard McGettigan (0-1); Oisin Shields, Michael Sweeney (4- 1); Eoghan Carr, Paddy Heraghty, Mark McAteer; Alan McAteer, Conor McGonigle, Paddy Carr. Subs: Oisin McFadden (0-1) for Heraghty (5), Fergal Friel for Oisin Shields (45), Seimi Friel (0-1) for McGonigle (50), Sean Kerr for Carr (53), Ronan McAteer for Odhran Shields (55).
Referee: Seamus McGonigle (Aodh Ruadh).