SUB Sean O’Kennedy’s point, six minutes into added time, secured Four Masters’ senior status and condemned Milford to the relegation play-offs.
Milford 0-16 Four Masters 1-13
By Chris McNulty at Moyle View Park
Centre-back Ronan Docherty had soared forward to put Milford ahead for the first time in a gripping game just two minutes beforehand.
At that stage, it seemed as if Milford – inspired by ten points by the excellent Kane Barrett – had done enough.
Patrick Reid’s early goal had Four Masters in front and that major allowed Four Masters to hold sway when Milford roared back into the tie. Ultimately, Milford were left to rue some spurned attempts in the second half as they go for a derby joust with Termon in the play-offs to avoid the drop.
The Donegal Town representatives got off to a dream start with a goal after just eight minutes. Dara Quinn launched a long ball into the mixer. Reid won the mark and, without any hint of a second thought, riffled past Shaun Gallagher to the bottom corner.
Luke Barrett kept Milford in it, but Cian Hegarty and Killian Faulkner responded each time.
Kane Barrett’s quick fire brace had Milford within a point again midway through the first half.
On the resumption from the water break , Hegarty and Jamie Crawford clipped neat scores to put Four Masters three in front.
Defeats by Naomh Conaill, St Michael’s and Bundoran had left Milford in a rather perilous position arriving into this one with the enforced absence of the potent Cathal McGettigan, owing to a hamstring injury, hurting their cause further.
Neil Ward and Kevin McBrearty, from a ’45, put Four Masters four ahead before Kane Barrett ended a barren spell for the home side with a vital point.
Four Masters ground a priceless win at home to Dungloe last weekend after going down against Gaoth Dobhair and Glenswilly in their opening pair of fixtures.
Aaron McCrea curled over with the last kick of the first half to give Four Masters a 1-8 to 0-6 lead at half-time.
Reid might have had a second goal with the opening play of the second half, but Milford gasped in relief as a flicked effort at close range was over the crossbar.
Kane Barett hit four-in-a-row to reduce Milford’s arrears before a much-needed McBrearty free steadied the wobbles of the visitors.
Six of the next seven points went the way of Milford, with Christopher Barrett, Kane Barrett, Luke Barrett and Docherty all raising white flags.
In an exciting conclusion, Milford tipped the scales before O’Kennedy evened the sums for the final time.
Milford: Shaun Gallagher; Dylan Dorrian, James Doyle, Conor Coll; Gavin Grier, Ronan Docherty (0-1), TJ Evesson; Rory O’Donnell, Ryan McMahon; Matthew McLaughlin (0-1), Christopher Barrett (0-1), Luke Barrett (0-3, 1f); Daragh Black, Kane Barrett (0-10, 6f, 1m), Conor McHugh. Subs: Pauric Curley for Black (60).
Four Masters: Martin Cassidy; Cathal Canavan, Dara Quinn, Brian Fagan; Eoghan Curley, Dylan Kennedy, Barry Dunnion; Leo McHugh (0-1), Kevin McBrearty (0-3, 2f, 1 ’45); Aaron McCrea (0-1), Neil Ward (0-1), Jamie Crawford (0-1); Killian Faulkner (0-1, 1f), Patrick Reid (1-1), Cian Hegarty (0-3). Subs: Cathal Feeney for Curley (45), Oisin Reid for Ward (56), Sean O’Kennedy (0-1) for McCrea (58)
Referee: James Connors (St Eunan’s)Tags: