Gutsy Naomh Conaill edge to glory

Naomh Conaill 0-11 St Eunan’s 0-10: Naomh Conaill of Glenties captured a third Donegal SFC title with victory over St Eunan’s of Letterkenny in a peculiar final in Ballybofey yesterday.

Adding to the Glenties side’s wins of 2005 and 2010, Martin Regan’s team toppled the reigning champions when two refereeing decisions that went against them forced an increase in intensity to get over the line.

St Eunan’s were 0-8 to 0-6 in front on 40 minutes when 17-year-old Naomh Conaill substitute Eoghan McGettigan was red carded seconds after coming on by match referee Andrew Mullin for an off-the-ball incident.

Then, Mullin didn’t let advantage be played and Leo McLoone’s superb goal was chalked off and a close-range free given. Dermot Molloy popped over the close-range free but those in blue and white were feeling aggrieved.

St Eunan’s Conall Dunne, Lee McMonagle, Rory Carr and Kevin Rafferty had scored, with Rafferty and Rory Kavanagh on top in midfield. Eamonn Doherty had made his way forward and rattled the Naomh Conaill crossbar in the first half.

But the spark was lit. McLoone levelled with another free and Ethan O’Donnell, another teenager introduced from the bench, was playing a vital role linking up play for Naomh Conaill.

Molloy fired Naomh Conaill in front, only for Caolan Ward to level for St Eunan’s.

Johnny McLoone and Aaron Thompson scored late points to make it 0-11 to 0-9 for Naomh Conaill and although St Eunan’s pulled a point back from Carr, it Naomh Conaill’s day.

ST EUNAN’S:

JP Clarke; E Doherty, C Ward (0-1), C Parke; C Morrison, P Devine, S Hensey; J Haran, R Kavanagh; S McVeigh, K Rafferty (0-1), C Gibbons; C Dunne (0-3, 2f), R Carr (0-3, 2f), L McMonagle (0-2).

Subs:

M McGowan for Conor Morrison (44), Cillian Morrison for Gibbons (50), Gibbons for Cillian Morrison (black card, 52), N O’Donnell for Haran (58).

NAOMH CONAILL:

S McGrath; Aaron Thompson (0-1), AJ Gallagher, Kevin McGettigan; M Boyle, Anthony Thompson, E Waide (0-1); L McLoone (0-1, 1f), C Thompson (0-1); E Doherty, D Molloy (0-3, 2f), D Gallagher; J O’Malley (0-1), L Thompson, B McDyer (0-2).

Subs:

J McLoone (0-1) for O’Malley (38), E McGettigan for Gallagher (38), S Corcoran for Doherty (47), E O’Donnell for McDyer (52), C Ellis for Boyle (55), J Bonner for L Thompson (60).

Referee:

A Mullin (Killybegs).



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