MALIN put a cat among the Donegal Senior Football Championship’s pigeons as they went to Magheragallon and overcame Gaoth Dobhair thanks to a stirring performance.
Gaoth Dobhair 1-11 Malin 3-08
Liam Bradley, the Malin manager (pictured above), had said all along that this would be the group’s defining match.
And he was right. The previous sequence of results in the group meant that it was a sink-or-swim battle out west.
It was Malin who came out with their heads above water, and looking forward to a quarter-final tie against St Michael’s.
For Gaoth Dobhair, they’ve been left, for the second year in succession, submerged in the waves after failing to make it out of the group.
A pair of goals by Dan McDaid and a third by Brendan McLaughlin late in the evening secured a famous win for the Inishowen side, in the backyard of a club that has won Dr Maguire a record 14 times.
The brilliance of Odhrán MacNiallis – who scored nine points in all – had helped Gaoth Dobhair stay in touch even when the game was running away from them.
At one stage, Malin were eight in front, but MacNiallais chipped away at the lead and when Paul Mulligan goaled for the hosts, it looked as if Conal Sheridan’s side – who were without the suspended Eamon McGee – might have sufficiently shaken their heads clear.
But McLaughlin drilled in a goal in the closing moments after being set clear by the excellent Declan Walsh, who had a magnificent hour for the black and amber brigade.
After James Gallagher and MacNiallais (2) got Gaoth Dobhair off to a flier, Malin soon took control.
Eight minutes in, McDaid fired beyond Joe Duffy, the Gaoth Dobhair goalkeeper, after a lung-bursting surge from 45 metres.
McDaid, James Doherty, Matthew Byrne and Brendan McLaughlin converted points as Malin gained a foothold and they were five up by the break with McDaid and Stephen McLaughlin scoring.
Gaoth Dobhair might have had a goal in the 24th minute, but James Boyle was denied by Darren McLaughlin.
Malin sent out a real statement of their intent 75 seconds into the second half when McDaid netted, with Walsh outstanding in the build-up.
MacNiallais and Byrne swapped scores and a period of Gaoth Dobhair dominance, during which they hit a goal and five points, a wonderful Christy McLaughlin score proved oh so crucial for the visitors.
Gaoth Dobhair broke for a goal with Noel Kelly’s shot blocked only for Mulligan to apply the finish. MacNiallais pulled Gaoth Dobhair to within a point, but they were handed their coats in the cloakroom when McLaughlin stunned Magheragallon with a goal that will go down in the annals at Connolly Park.
Gaoth Dobhair: Joe Duffy; Jamie Reynolds, Neil McGee, James Boyle; Anthony Blair, Kieran Gillespie, Ciaran Ferry; Peter McGee, Michael Carroll (0-1, 1 ’45); Paul Mulligan (1-0), Odhrán MacNiallais (0-9, 8f, 1 ‘45), Niall Friel; Cian Mulligan, Noel Kelly, James Gallagher (0-1, 1f). Subs: Prionsais Gallagher for Blair (26), Michael McKelvey for Boyle (30), Michael Roarty for Friel (46).
Malin: Darren McLaughlin; Michael McLaughlin, Damien Harkin, Gary Farren; Stephen McLaughlin (0-1, 1f), Charlie Byrne, Paul McLaughlin; Declan Walsh, Seamus Houghton; Christy McLaughlin (0-1), James Doherty (0-1), Darren Mullarkey; Brendan McLaughlin (1-1), Matthew Byrne (0-2), Dan McDaid (2-2, 2f). Sub: Conor McColgan for Doherty (44).
Referee: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh).Tags: