A KEELAN MCGILL goal in the 61st minute for Naomh Conaill settled a dramatic County Minor Division 1 Championship final against St Eunan’s this afternoon.
Naomh Conaill 1-11 St Eunan’s 0-11
In a repeat of last year’s final, which St Eunan’s won 3-6 to 0-12 on their way to an Ulster final appearance at St Paul’s in Belfast, there mightn’t have been any goals till the bitter end in Convoy but it was still a contest high on quality with the teams level on seven occasions in all.
Jim Clarke’s St Eunan’s were a point up as the clock ticked from black to red after substitute Dylan McCroary was on the mark.[adrotate group=”56″]
However, McGill tucked home a rebound after a ball into the St Eunan’s square by Keelan McMonagle was slapped away by St Eunan’s goalkeeper Matthew Gallagher.
Then, with seconds left, Nathan Boyle sealed the victory with a late score to confirm Naomh Conaill’s title. They didn’t kick a wide all day.
Niall O’Donnell gave a virtuoso performance, landing all six of St Eunan’s first half points as the Letterkenny side went in one up at the break, 0-6 to 0-5 in front. He would score eight in all.[adrotate group=”38″]
Three of those efforts were goal chances, with the closest being St Eunan’s fourth point when O’Donnell rasped the Naomh Conaill crossbar with a splendid effort that cannoned the woodwork and went over.
At the other end, Eogan McGettigan was also in imperious form. His two early points – excellently taken – and one from Paul McGuinness had gave Naomh Conaill a 0-3 to to 0-0 lead.
There was never much it though, with McGuinness and an excellent score from Logan Quinn – the Naomh Conaill captain and the man entrusted to mark O’Donnell – scored a beautiful effort with the outside of the boot.
Naomh Conaill thought they’d scored the first goal of the game on 19 minutes when McGettigan pierced a shot into Matthew Gallagher’s bottom corner. However, Enda McFeely’s whistle had sounded his whistle for a foul by Kieran Gallagher.
A point down at the break, Naomh Conaill fired over the first three points of the second half with McGettigan scoring twice – the first of which came after just 12 seconds – and then JD Boyle popping over.
By the 40th minute things looked a little uneasy for the Letterkenny side, although they were glad to see the scoring load shared from O’Donnell and Dylan McCroary dummied well before pointing to leave his team just one back, 0-8 to 0-7 down.
O’Donnell, 10 minutes later, levelled with a monster free-kick after Tony Byrne of Naomh Conaill was black-carded. And two minutes later, Niall Hannigan showed his capabilities from long range and St Eunan’s were back in front again, 0-9 to 0-8.
Keelan McMonagle, Byrne’s replacement, didn’t need any time to warm up as he equalised with seven minutes left. It was the sixth time the teams were on terms. McGettigan the turned to put Naomh Conaill in front with another top-class score. Less than four minutes remained.[adrotate group=”81″]
O’Donnell’s eighth point made it all square again and Dylan McCroary kicked the Cathedral Town side in front. That, though, was only the beginning of the drama.
St Eunan’s: Matthew Gallagher; Rory McCrossan, Darragh Toal, Sean Halvey; Brian McIntyre, Aaron Deeney, Michael McGroary; Oisin Toal, Sean McGettigan; Oisin O’Boyle, Niall Hannigan (0-1), Kevin Kealy; Evan McCroary, Niall O’Donnell (0-8, 5f), Oisin Purdy. Subs: Dylan McCroary (0-2) for McCrosson (25), Patrick McColgan for O’Boyle (40), Eóin McGeehin for Purdy (45)
Naomh Conaill: James Boyle; Oran McDevitt, Charlie McDonnell, Odhran Doherty; Cian Doherty, Logan Quinn (0-1), Keelan McGill (1-0); Kieran Gallagher, Tony Byrne; Paul McGuinness (0-2), Jack Flannery, JD Boyle (0-1); Danny Gallagher, Eoghan McGettigan (0-5, 1f), Shane McDevitt. Subs: Nathan Byrne (0-1) for McDevitt (36), Jeaic McKelvey for McGuinness (47), Keelan McMonagle (0-1) for Byrne (50, black card), Leo Dunphy for O Doherty (55),
Referee: Enda McFeely (Convoy).Tags: