THE INISHOWEN LEAGUE opened their Oscar Traynor defence with victory in a high-scoring affair against the Sligo-Leitrim League this afternoon.
Inishowen League 7-4 Sligo-Leitrim League
The defending champions feel behind in the third minute when Gary Finan stabbed home from close range but two Gerry Gill goals by the 18th minute had the home side in front on the majestic playing surface at Maginn Park in Buncrana.
And by the time Terence Doherty slipped in a third, it seemed as though normal service had resumed but Michael Corrigan pulled one back before Finan made it 3-3, only for Terence Doherty to edge the home side 4-3 in front before the break.
Sometimes after a flurry of first half goals, the second period can dry up but that wasn’t the case early in the second half this afternoon. Nigel McMonagle and a Matthew Henry brace made it 7-3 before the hour-mark. Then it was time to shut up shop.
That plan almost came though, only for substitute Aaron Calpin to head a consolation three minutes from time.
That meant two each for Gill, Doherty and Henry, with McMonagle also on the scoresheet against the Connacht side who had been cobbled together.
In a group that also includes the Donegal League and the Cavan-Monaghan League, Diarmuid O’Brien and Paul Hegarty knew the importance of getting off to a good start.
However, following a free-kick from the right by Michael Casey, Inishowen had a couples of nibbles to clear but didn’t manage it and Finan was on hand to tuck past Patrick Harkin from only six yards on three minutes.
Inishowen, though, were level by the time the 10th minute came, with Gill glancing home a really well-taken goal when he was teed up by Nigel McMonagle after a cross from the right by Ryan Doherty.
Seven minutes later, Gill was on target again. The visitors were caught playing a high line and assistant referee Liam Davenport kept the flag down as a pass from Terence Doherty set both Matthew Henry and Gill away.
With the freedom of half the park, Henry rolled to Gill who took a touch before smashing past Kyle Saffon to make it 2-1.
By the 27th minute it was 3-1 when Henry played in his strike partner Doherty to dink home.
However, two goals in as many minutes from Sligo-Leitrim League turned the game momentarily on its head.
First of all, on 33 minutes, skipper Ross McLaughlin set Corrigan free down the inside right channel and he drilled right across Inishowen goalkeeper Patrick Harkin and into the bottom corner.
Ninety seconds later, Harkin failed to gather a corner from Casey, Finan scored his second of the afternoon and suddenly, it was 3-3.
Two minutes before the break, and with the contest having swung from end to the other. This time it was Sligo-Leitrim who had bother clearing a corner – delivered from Gill – and Doherty scored a lovely goal on the turn to make it 4-3 at the break.
The breathlessness of the first half continued after the break, with Nigel McMonagle curling home a splendid fifth just three minutes into the second half, sweeping the ball home – right into the bottom corner – from 20 yards.
Henry got in on the scoring act when he dispossessed Saffon to prod home from close range on 52 minutes.
And then, on 56 minutes, when teed up by Gill, who tapped a free-kick to his left, Henry struck his side’s seventh.
From then on, the contest did peter out to a degree but there was still plenty over the course of the afternoon to keep those in attendance entertained.
Calpin got on the end of a Diarmaid Gallagher point late on for Sligo-Leitrim’s fourth goal.
Next up for Inishowen is an away fixture against the Donegal League on Sunday, November 15.
Inishowen League: Patrick Harkin (Clonmany Shamrocks); John G McLaughlin (Glengad United), Oisin McColgan (QPS), Michael Byrne (Glengad United), Ryan Doherty (Buncrana Hearts); Stephen McLaughlin (Glengad United), Shane Canning (Moville Celtic; Michael Barry, Greencastle 80), Gerry Gill (Greencastle), Nigel McMonagle (Glengad United; Gavin Doherty, Aileach FC 80); Matthew Henry (Greencastle; Paddy McDermott, Glengad United 72), Terence Doherty (Glengad United).
Sligo-Leitrim League: Kyle Saffon; Damien Scanlon, Lee McKillan, Paul Devins, Paddy Woulfe; Michael Corrigan (Diarmuid Gallagher 82), Ross McLaughlin, Gary Finan, Michael Casey; Mark McGoldrick, Sean Pender (Aaron Calpin 64).
Referee: Terence Moyne.Tags: