Some media described it as dour but many would disagree. On the surface the lack of scores, 16 in total, in the 0-8 apiece draw may suggest a lack of excitement but for many the encounter between Naomh Conaill and Gaoth Dobhair in Páirc Sheain Mhic Cumhaill was a compelling, close and exciting match-up between two evenly balanced sides, No quarter was given or taken in a hard-hitting contest with plenty of quality football on display from the two squads.
Gaoth Dobhair took the first two scores of the game, Naomh Conaill hit back and led by a point 0-5 to 0-4 at the break extending their lead within 20 seconds of the restart to lead by two. For the next 15 minutes, however, it was all Gaoth Dobhair as they established a stranglehold on the game and went from a two point deficit to lead by two 0-8 to 0-6.
Naomh Conaill showed their considerable mettle to leave it all square at eight apiece as the game entered the final five minutes. Ref Enda McFeely who controlled proceedings very well, added and played, four minutes added time during which Naomh Conaill will rue a couple of chances to seal the tie.
Neither side were overly happy with the result but it was in all probability the fairest outcome. In what was as closely run a contest as the match itself, TG4 picked Anthony Thompson, who had a storming game, as their man of the match and the recipient of the Peadar McGeehin Memorial Award.
They go at it again next Sunday at 3.00 and Jimmy White will be the man in the middle this time. As was the case yesterday there will be general admission with stand seats available on a first come, first served basis. Unlike yesterday juvenile entry to the Stand (and terraces) will be free while adult prices have been reduced from €20 to €12. OAPs and students are €10. The match will not be televised.
Gaoth Dobhair: Christóir Mac Suibhne, Gary Mac Pháidín, Niall Mac Aoidh (0-1), Kieran Mac Giolla Easpaig, Niall Ó’Frighill (0-2), Donal Mac Giolla Bhríde, Dáire O’Baoill, Micheál Ó’Cearbhaill, Éamonn Mac Aoidh, Ódhrán Mac Pháidín Ó’Fearraigh, Odhrán Mac Niallais (0-1, 1f), Naoise Ó’Baoill, Cian Ó’Maolagáin (0-1), Caoimhín Ó’Casaide, Éamonn Ó’Collum (0-2, 2f). Fir ionad: Criostóir Mac Pháidín, Seaghan Ó’Fearraigh, Gavin Mac Giolla Bhride (0-1), Peadar Mac Aoidh, agus Ethán Ó’hEarcáin.
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath, Ultan Doherty, AJ Gallagher, Kevin McGettigan, Ethan O’Donnell, Anthony Thompson, Eoin Wade, Ciarán Thompson (0-1, 45), Leo McLoone, Brendan McDyer (0-1), Eoghan McGettigan (0-4, 4f), Eunan Doherty, Jeaic McKelvey (0-1), Charles McGuinness (0-1) and Kieran Gallagher. Fir ionad: Nathan Byrne, Dermot Molloy and John O’Malley