BIG MOMENTS were needed for small margins as Sean MacCumhaills advanced to the quarter-finals of the Donegal senior football championship.
Termon 1-12 Sean MacCumhaills 1-18
By Chris McNulty at The Burn Road
A stirring comeback from Termon threatened to derail MacCumhaills’ passage into the last eight, but the Twin Towns men prevailed to squeeze in thanks to a score difference (+8) that was three points better of than Glenfin (+5).
They were indebted, then, to a goal midway through the second half from Jamie Keegan and a first-half penalty save by goalkeeper Eoin Gallen as they overcame Termon by six, with county player Oisin Gallen weighing in with half-a-dozen points.
In the 46th minute, Steven O’Reilly, who was influential throughout for MacCumhaills, gave the final pass in a fine move and substitute Keegan kept his composure to slot past the advancing Emmet Maguire.
Termon had stayed in view until then, Keegan’s goal opening up a 1-15 to 0-9 margin that was too steep for Termon.
Francie Friel’s men refused to chuck the towel in and sub Mark Gallagher fired home a 58th minute goal during a spell when the hosts hit 1-3.
Just before half-time, Termon – trailing at that stage by 0-10 to 0-5 – were given a golden ticket back into it when they were awarded a penalty. However, MacCumhaills goalkeeper Eoin Gallen – who penalised for a foul on Steve McElwaine – got down to his right to save and hold onto Ryan McFadden’s penalty.
Anthony Grant and James McSharry did narrow the margin, but with Oisin Gallen arching over his fourth of the afternoon, MacCumhaills were 0-11 to 0-7 in front at the break.
Termon, already consigned to the relegation play-offs after three group defeats, were without captain and ace marksman Daire McDaid, who was forced out of last weekend’s game against Naomh Conaill with a hamstring injury.
After Steven O’Reilly and Joe Boyle posted early scores for the visitors, Termon flipped the game for a period with Bobby McGettigan, McSharry and McElwaine on the mark.
MacCumhaills scored six successive scores – Gary Wilson, Steven O’Reilly, Oisin Gallen, Aaron Kelly, Rory Mulligan and Martin O’Reilly all registering – to take a firm command.
Paul Rouse’s men arrived in Termon in pole position for one of the quarter-final berths up for grabs and boasting a healthy score difference. In the end, those margins proved crucial.
Termon’s cause wasn’t aided with a black card for defender Conor O’Grady in the 12th minute. But for the spurned penalty in added time at the end of the opening period, the men in maroon might have been closer than the five-point deficit they faced at the outset of part two.
A lengthy stoppage, following a clash between Oisin Cassidy and Joe Boyle in the 25th minute, meant this game was behind the other fixtures this afternoon.
Termon stayed on the coat tails of their opponents in the early moments of the second half, but the O’Reilly brothers, Steven and Martin, popped over a pair of points in the 36th minute to move six in front, 0-15 to 0-9.
When Keegan tucked home the MacCumhaills goal midway through the second half, their tickets could be punched for the last eight. Not, though, before a few nervous moments assessing results and calculators.
Termon: Emmet Maguire; Caolan Gallagher (0-1), Jamie Grant, Conor O’Grady; James McSharry (0-2), Barry McGeehan, Ricky Gallagher; Oisin Cassidy, Ryan McFadden (0-3); Kevin McGettigan, Bobby McGettigan (0-1), Anthony Grant (0-1); Jack Alcorn (0-1), Steve McElwaine (0-1), Conor Cassidy. Subs: James Doherty (0-1) for O’Cassidy (25), Evan Coleman for McElwaine (38), Mark Gallagher (1-1) for A.Grant (49), Shane Doherty for Alcorn (49), Johnny McCafferty for McGeehan (56).
Sean MacCumhaills: Eoin Gallen; Adam Lynch, Marty Gallagher, Rory Mulligan (0-1); Luke Gavigan, Ronan McMenamin, Steven O’Reilly (0-3); Gavin Gallagher, Gary Wilson (0-1); Chad McSorley, Martin O’Reilly (0-2), Joe Boyle (0-1); Carl Dunnion, Oisin Gallen (0-6, 2f), Aaron Kelly (0-1). Subs: Cian Mulligan (0-1) for Boyle (25), Jamie Keegan (1-2) for Kelly (37), Darren O’Leary for Dunnion (47), Aaron Kelly for M O’Reilly (49).
Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs).Tags: