Kilcar provide the flashes of quality in dour decider

Kilcar 0-7, Naomh Conaill 0-4...Kilcar reclaimed the Donegal SFC for the first time since 1993 with victory over Naomh Conaill from Glenties in Ballybofey yesterday.
Kilcar provide the flashes of quality in dour decider

It was a contest that wasn’t pleasing on the eye — there were only two points scored in the entire second half — but the side managed by Barry Doherty edged through as Naomh Conaill lost Dermot Molloy and Eoghan McGettigan to red cards in the final seven minutes.

They perhaps weren’t the only people who were frustrated but in the end that will matter little to Kilcar, whose triumph bridged the gap to their golden generation of Martin and James McHugh back in 1993.

The first half was a game of chess, with neither team overly committing in an offensive way, which made for long spells of stalemate and keep ball.

Kilcar, in that first half hour, did push the case a little more with Naomh Conaill trying to compress the avenues of opportunity in behind to deny space to the likes of the galloping Ryan and Eoin McHugh in particular.

Twelve months ago, Kilcar were unbackable favourites in some quarters but were toppled by 7/1 outsiders on the day, Glenswilly.

Doherty’s contemporaries were more streetwise in their approach so always were mindful of leaving the back door open.

It was 0-2 to 0-2 after 20 minutes with man of the match Mark McHugh and Conor Doherty twice putting Kilcar in front, only for Ciaran Thompson and Molloy to square it up each time for Naomh Conaill.

But for a couple of moments of magic late in the half from Patrick McBrearty, who scored two excellent long-range points — one from play, the other a free — to leave Kilcar 0-6 to 0-3 ahead at the break.

Fifteen pointless minutes passed in the second half, with Kilcar now the ones in retreat mode, before a score arrived, with Eunan Doherty getting on the mark for Naomh Conaill.

Ryan McHugh, with a rare flash of brilliance in the most tepid of settings, stroked over a masterful point.

From then on it was containment with Molloy seeing the line for a second yellow card on 43 minutes and McGettigan getting his marching orders in injury-time for a late challenge on Mark McHugh.

Scorers for Kilcar:

P McBrearty (0-3, 2f); M McHugh, C Doherty, M Hegarty, R McHugh (0-1 each)

Scorers for Naomh Conaill:

D Molloy (0-2 frees); C Thompson, E Doherty (0-1 each)

KILCAR:

E McGinley; B McGinley, C McShane, P Carr; R McHugh, M Hegarty, B Shovlin; C McGinley, Mc McHugh; A McClean, C Doherty, M McClean; S McBrearty, E McHugh, P McBrearty.

Subs:

M Sweeney for A McClean (50), S Shovlin for Doherty (57), A Carr for McClean (60+1).

NAOMH CONAILL:

S McGrath; J Campbell, Ultan Doherty, AJ Gallagher; E Waide, Anthony Thompson, K McGettigan; L McLoone, C Thompson; B McDyer, M Boyle, E Doherty; D Molloy, E McGettigan, E O’Donnell.

Subs:

Aaron Thompson for K McGettigan (15), J O’Malley for U Doherty (44), J McLoone for E Doherty (48), K Gallagher for Campbell (53), L Thompson for Boyle (57).

Referee:

Enda McFeely.

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