ST EUNAN’S withstood a brave fight from Gaoth Dobhair to win the Under-14 Division 1 Championship final in Convoy this evening for a seasonal clean sweep.
St Eunan’s 1-13 Gaoth Dobhair 1-9
The sealing of the championship was their sixth trophy – the All-Ireland B Féile, the McFadden Cup and the northern board league and championship double – in a season in which they’ve won every encounter they’ve played in.
The sides met in the northern final just over two weeks ago and Joe Higgins’ side ran in a comfortable 7-8 to 0-5 win.
However, it was a much closer encounter at St Mary’s Park with Eoin MacGiolla Easbuic’s Gaoth Dobhair team the brighter starters and in the game right until the end with a much improved performance.
St Eunan’s had captain Daragh Ellison playing a starring role with a goal and five points.
After 25 minutes, with Gaoth Dobhair goalkeeper Daithi MacRoibeard having made a decent stop from Jordan Nugent, there seemed to be an upset on the cards as the Magheragallon team were 1-5 to 0-2 in front. Working off a steady defensive base, their attacks were purposeful.
The goal came on 12 minutes when Eamonn O’Gallochoir reached onto a centre from Domhaill MacGiolla Bhride to send the ball into the top corner of the St Eunan’s net.
With Cathal MacGiolla Easpaig having opened the scoring for Gaoth Dobhair, points followed the goal from Jamie O’Dochartaigh and Stiofan MacPhaidin, who scored twice apiece.
With only five minutes to go in the half, all St Eunan’s had managed was an Ellison point and a free from Dylan Doogan, but they soon burst into life.
Four successive scores in the latter stages of the first half – with Shane O’Donnell, Dylan O’Brien, Oran Winston and Peter Devenney on the mark – meant the Letterkenny side, despite being far from their best, were only 1-5 to 0-6 behind at the interval.
They continued to press at the start of the second period with a goal from Ellison on 32 minutes hugely important as the St Eunan’s captain jumped with MacRoibeard to get the important touch following Pauric McGettigan’s long ball in.
When O’Donnell then blasted over from long range, it was St Eunan’s 1-7 Gaoth Dobhair 1-5.
At that stage it looked as though the team from O’Donnell Park had all the momentum. But Gaoth Dobhair weren’t beaten just yet.
Three successive points took them back in front, 1-8 to 1-7, with Dylan O’Duibhuir’s two scores added to by Cathal MacGiolla Easpaig with only 17 minutes to go.
St Eunan’s stayed cool and played their way out of trouble, with six points on the spin. Ellison scored four of them with the others coming from Doogan and McGettigan.
MacPhaidin knocked over late in the day but it was to be St Eunan’s day, just as it was their season.
St Eunan’s: Oisin Randles; Peadar Devenney (0-1), David Smith, James McLoughlin; Donall Higgins, Conor O’Donnell, Charlie Worth; Shane O’Donnell (0-2), Pauric McGettigan (0-1); Jonathan Coady, Daragh Ellison (1-5, 1 ’45’), Dylan O’Brien (0-1); Jordan Nugent, Oran Winston (0-1), Dylan Doogan (0-2, 1f). Subs: Eoin Dowling for Devenney (40), Ronan Daly for Nugent (48), Oisin Bradley for McLoughlin (52), Kieran Tobin for Worth (53), Andrew Grant for Ellison (60, black card).
Gaoth Dobhair: Daithi MacRoibeard; Micheal O’Dochartaigh, Roan O’Tuairc, Eoin de Burca; Fiachra MacGiolla Chomhall, Ruari O’Gallachoir, Aidan Breathnach; Liam MacPhaidin (0-2, 1f), Dylan O’Duibhuir; Stiofan MacPhaidin (0-3, 1f), Cathal MacGiolla Easpaig (0-2, 1f), Domhaill MacGiolla Bhride; Lochlann O’Deaga, Eamonn O’Gallochoir (1-0), Jamie O’Dochartaigh (0-2). Subs: Eamonn MacGarbheith for E O’Gallchoir (44), E O’Gallchoir for J O’Dochartaigh (56).
Referee: Marc Walsh (Four Masters)