A FIESTY Killybegs were full value for this important victory, but endured an anxious six minutes of extra time as a late penalty from Milford threatened an upset at a windswept Eamon Byrne Memorial Park.
Killybegs 1-9 Milford 1-8
by Gerry McLaughlin at Eamon Byrne Memorial Park
Had Milford levelled matters it would have been a steal as the home side were by far the better team from the off.
And they also hit nine wides many of them from scoreable positions in a wind assisted first half.
They badly needed this victory and played like a team that would not hear of defeat.
The return of Donegal star Eoghan Ban Gallagher was a big boost in the absence of Hugh McFadden, who had an operation for a damaged tendon at the weekend and could be out for several months.
For a very lack lustre Milford, Kane Barrett fought a brave almost lone battle weighing in with 0-6.
But his colleagues were strangely flat and only really came to life after Cathal McGettigan cooly converted a 56th minute penalty after Dylan Dorrian was taken down in the square by Killybegs keeper Corey Byrne.
That set the scene for a frenetic finish with Killybegs sub Rory Colyear trading points with Rory O’Donnell as the home side held out for a deserved victory.
Wind-assisted Killybegs took the field with a rousing passionate speech from manager John Cunningham.
And they took it to heart as they were in control right from the opening whistle.
They also welcomed back a lively looking Eoghan Ban Gallagher who launched a series of piercing runs through the centre of a lack lustre Milford defence.
It took a full seven minutes for the first score to arrive courtesy of the impressive Jack McSharry who landed a 35- metre free lead.
Two minutes later he repeated the dose with a well struck point from play.
A lethargic Milford opened their account through a monster strike from centre forward Kane Barrett from 40 metres into the teeth of a considerable breeze.
It got even better for Killybegs just after the water break when a ball was broken down in midfield and picked up by Eoghan Ban Gallagher.
He set up Jack McSharry who hit fine low left-footed shot to the corner of the Milford net.
That spurred the lively home side to a 1-3 to 0-3 lead at the break although they could have had another goal when the excellent Conor Cunningham’s flicked effort just came off the Milford crossbar.
Despite facing a considerable breeze, Killybegs continued to be the dominant force on the restart.
Points from Shaun Gorrell, McSharry and Cunningham pushed the home side to a 1-7 to 0-4 lead by the 44th minute.
Milford threw on marksman Cathal McGettigan in this half, but apart from the penalty he was largely quiet.
But the visitors improved in the final quarter with Tony McNamee becoming increasingly influential before they won the penalty.
And it made for a tight finish in which Killybegs saw it through for two really precious points.
Killybegs: Corey Byrne; Eoin McGing, Ciaran Conaghan, Cillian Gildea; Ryan Carr, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, John Ban Gallagher; Evan Broderick, Seamus Og Byrne; Shaun Gorrell, Odhran McGuinness, Jack McSharry (1-31f); Charlie Breslin, Conor Cunningham (0-4f) Ryan Cunningham (0-1). Subs: Rory Colyear (0-1) for Gorrell (50) Niall Campbell for McGuinness (54)
Milford: Shaun Gallagher; Shay Durning, Peter Curran, Eoin O’Donnell; Ronan Docherty, TJ Evesson, Patrick Ferry; Ryan McMahon, Lorcan Friel; Dylan Dorrian, Kane Barrett (0-6, 5f), Christopher Barrett Pauric Curley (1-3), Rory O’Donnell (0-1) Tony McNamee (0-1) Subs: Gavin Grier and Cathal McGettigan (1-0 pen) for Curley and Docherty (half-time) .
Referee: Mark Dorrian (Gaeil Fhanada)