FOR THE FOURTH TIME since the new order of Donegal football came into being around the turn of the millenium, Naomh Conaill will joust with St Eunan’s in the county final.
Naomh Conaill 4-10 Kilcar 0-11
Naomh Conaill made light work of Kilcar in this afternoon’s semi-final.
Martin Regan’s men marched decisively into the decider with a goal glut that keeps Kilcar residing again in Donegal football’s house of semi-final pain, their wait for a return to a first senior final since 1993 moving into another year.
Naomh Conaill led 2-5 to 0-4 at the break and on a day when the scent never left their nostrils.
They prised Kilcar open several times and four goals gave them a comfortable head of steam as the game petered towards its conclusion.
Their first came when Dermot Molloy flicked beyond Kevin Campbell from the edge of the square after connecting to Daragh Gallagher’s free.
Molloy was on song in an opening half that saw the former Donegal panellist score 1-4.
His goal opened up a five-point margin and any hopes of a Kilcar fightback were extinguished when the Glenties outfit struck a second major in the final minute of the first stanza.
Naomh Conaill were controlled and patient in their build-up. Aaron Thompson’s mis-hit shot was touched down by Leo McLoone and Eoghan McGettigan did the rest with a neat finish past Campbell.
Before today, McGettigan’s name hadn’t appeared on a Naomh Conaill team sheet at senior level, but he marked his debut with a goal and a performance that outlined another youngster who has promise in spades at Davy Brennan Memorial Park.
That Martin Regan inserted him into the starting XV in place of the experience of Johnny McLoone for a game of such magnitude showed just how highly rated the Donegal minor player is.
When McGettigan fired to the net, it felt like the final nail was being hammered into the Kilcar casket.
The 17-year-old provided the assist for goals three and four to cap off a memorable first outing.
Campbell’s kick-out was picked up by Naomh Conaill and McGettigan found Leo McLoone, who turned and blasted home from close range on 40 minutes,
Just five minutes later, McGettigan centred for Leon Thompson and an emphatic finish deepened Kilcar’s woes.
Seeking an appearance in a first final in 22 years, Kilcar felt that this could be the year and, while Andrew McClean fired them into the lead after two minutes, it didn’t take long for Naomh Conaill to assume control.
When Kilcar parted ways at half-time, five wides and two other efforts that dropped short told only part of the story of a poor first half by Michael Molloy’s side.
It was another Molloy – Dermot – who seized the moments after Eunan Doherty drew Naomh Conaill on level terms.
The bustling number 14 put them in front with a ’45 after his own shot on goal was deflected around the ppst while he created an early opening for Daragh Gallagher, who was denied by a strong save from Campbell.
Molloy, off his right foot, made it 0-3 to 0-1 and another wonderful, curling kick followed after he turned out from the endline having retrieved Kevin McGettigan’s ball forward.
Kilcar weren’t without their chances, but with each passing miss the feeling grew that a similar tale was being played out.
Patrick McBrearty blasted over after being picked out by Michael Hegarty and Kevin McGettigan somehow intervened when Ryan McHugh lofted over the head of goalkeeper Stephen McGrath having been sent on his way by Hegarty.
When 17-year-old Eoghan McGettigan netted up the other end, daylight in the form of a seven-point deficit stared at Kilcar and their cause wasn’t helped when Seamus McGonagle, the referee, waved away claims for a penalty three minutes into the second half.
As Ciaran McGinley went to ground under the challenge of Ciaran Thompson, the ground awaited a signal that never came for a penalty that appeared a stonewall call.
For Kilcar, the long wait gets even longer.
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Kevin McGettigan (0-1), Anthony Thompson, AJ Gallagher; Eoin Waide (0-1), Aaron Thompson, Eunan Doherty (0-1); Marty Boyle, Ciaran Thompson; John O’Malley, Dermot Molloy (1-5, 2fs, 1’45’), Daragh Gallagher (0-1,1f); Leon Thompson (1-0), Leo McLoone (1-0), Eoghan McGettigan (1-0). Subs: Ciaran Brennan for Boyle (half-time), Johnny McLoone (0-1) for L.Thompson (45), Seamus Corcoran for Doherty (47), Jonny Bonner for Aaron Thompson (53), Ethan O’Donnell for E.McGettigan (55), Jason Campbell for Gallagher (60).
Kilcar: Kevin Campbell; Patrick Gallagher, Barry Shovlin, Pauric Carr; Andrew McClean (0-1), Ryan McHugh, Mark McHugh; Michael Hegarty, Ciaran McGinley (0-2); Aodhán McGinley (0-1), Stephen McBrearty (0-1, 1f), Mark Sweeney; Eoin McHugh, Patrick McBrearty (0-5, 2f), Conor Doherty (0-1). Subs: Daniel Lyons for McClean (36), Cormac Cannon for Sweeney (36), Matthew McClean for Gallagher (57).
Referee: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh).Tags: