THE INISHOWEN LEAGUE sealed their place in the knock-out rounds of the Oscar Traynor Cup with a last minute winner against the Donegal League this afternoon.
Donegal League 1-2 Inishowen League
Just as was the case 12 months ago when the side from the peninsula pipped their neighbours with a 2-1 victory at Maginn Park, so it was in front of a bumper crowd in miserably wet and windy conditions at the Moss in Drumoghill.
That win last year propelled Inishowen onto greater things, as they took the Oscar Traynor trophy home and how they’d love to retain the cup come springtime.
With just 11 minutes to go, Stephen McLaughin put Diarmuid O’Brien’s team into a 1-0 lead but when Kyle Black levelled on 87 minutes, it appeared as though there was going to be a share of the spoils. However, substitute Ryan Doherty snatched the three points for Inishowen.
Having opened with a 7-4 win over Sligo-Leitrim last month, today’s triumph means that Inishowen cannot be caught in terms of qualification.
Donegal hammered Cavan-Monaghan 5-0 in their opener, need at worst a draw in their final fixture in the group, at home to Sligo-Leitrim – who won 4-1 against Cavan-Monaghan this weekend – in two weeks’ time.
It was a dramatic finish to a keenly contest derby contest, one that Drumoghill can certainly be proud of hosting after opening their new pitch in summer, considering the spate of postponements across the county.
Both sides hit the woodwork in the first half – Gerry Gill for Inishowen with a thunderous free-kick from all of 35 yards that Joe Coll touched onto the crossbar after only four minutes.
Then, at the other end Joey Cullen hit the post and could only drive his rebound into the side-netting two minutes before break.
If Donegal were slightly the better side in the first 45 minutes then Inishowen could say the same for themselves when the teams changed ends.
Matthew Byrne, on 55 minutes, curled over a very good opportunity when he played a neat give-and-go with Nigel McMonagle.
On 69 minutes, Donegal substitute Black passed up what was probably an even better chance when he headed wide from a centre from Gary Merritt.
Inishowen finally hit the front on 79 minutes when McMonagle got down and left and his cross was met perfectly by McLaughlin, who had come in from the other wing, first time to place the ball back into Coll’s bottom corner.
That looked as though it would be the winner but Donegal created a fine equaliser three minutes from time when a diagonal ball from Gary Crossan was put back into Black’s path by Chris Malseed. Black’s finish set-up a grandstand finish.
But was Inishowen who seized the initiative. Substitute Doherty put in a dangerous cross that Brian Lafferty almost put into his own net, only for Coll to turn it around the post.
However, with the sounds of the sighs of relief still to be heard in the air, Doherty was picked up from the corner and tucked home the winner to great scenes of celebrations for those who had travelled from Inishowen.
Donegal League: Joe Coll; Jamie Boyle, Ryan Shields, Ryan Gildea, Benny Bonner (Gary Crossan 84); Christy Connaghan (Eoin Sheridan 72), Brian Lafferty, Chris Malseed, Darren McGeever (Kyle Black 55); Gary Merritt, Joey Cullen.
Inishowen League: Darragh McLaughlin; Michael Byrne, Oisin McColgan, William McLaughlin, Matthew Byrne; Stephen McLaughlin, Shane Canning, Garry Gill, Nigel McMonagle (Ryan Doherty 86); Terence Doherty, Patrick McDermott.
Referee: Marty Quinn.