The so-called top four all qualified for the Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure Senior Championship semi-finals although for both Gaoth Dobhair and Kilcar it was a close-run thing with Sean McCumhaills and St Michaels pushing them to the pin of their collar. The resulting line-up was inevitably going to throw up two tasty semi-finals. St Eunans and Naomh Conaill, who both cruised through their quarterfinals, will meet in Sean MacCumhaill Park on Sunday at 4.00 pm with the Gaoth Dobhair and Kilcar fixture on Saturday evening at 5.30 in O’Donnell Park.
The first of the weekend’s games was in Glenties where the home side started well but were soon pegged back by Glenfin who enjoyed an extra man advantage after Eoghan McGettigan saw red and were further hampered when Ciaran Thompson went off injured. A black card for Ciaran Brady evened up the numbers for ten minutes and the reigning County Champions took advantage. With a half-time score of 0-7 to 0-3 Glenfin were still in with a shouting chance but Naomh Conaill moved up several gears in the third quarter scoring 1-6 without reply to lead 1-13 to 0-3 at the water-break and cruised through the rest of the match. Congratulations to Ethan O’Donnell who had a fine game and was named the WinYourHouse in Dublin Man of the Match.
Half-time in Towney and Kilcar looked set to emulate Naomh Conaill by cruising into the semi-finals – 12 points clear of St Michaels on a 2-8 to 0-2 scoreline. The men from Creeslough and Dunfanaghy were to prove no pushovers, however, with a stunning comeback in the second half to get within two points of the home side and red hot favourites. A Matthew McClean, the Ballyshannon Killybegs Credit Union Man goal put Kilcar back into a six point lead at the end of normal time but a super Michael Langan strike had the margin back to two when Enda McFeely blew the final whistle. St Michaels were aggrieved at a couple of his decisions and Kilcar were relieved to progress.
Gaoth Dobhair were equally relieved to lead by a point when the final whistle sounded. It was neck and neck with MacCumhaills for most of the game but the Twin Towns side hit the front decisively when an Oisin Gallen penalty – he scored 1-9 in total – catapulted them into a 1-9 to 0-9 points lead at the water-break. Despite doughty MacCumhaills resistance Gaoth Dobhair pulled back their lead and a point deep in added time, in the 36th minute, from Cian Mulligan obviated the need for extra time and saw Gaoth Dobhair survive.
In O’Donnell Park in the last match of the evening Realt na Mara matched Eunans everywhere except in front of goals during the first quarter. Plenty of possession but promising opportunities dropped short or wide while the home side were impressively efficient to lead 1-4 to 0-o at the first water-break. In the second quarter the Seasiders chances of an upset dis-appeared with two further Eunans goals and the hosts led 3-6 to 0-3 at the break. The sending off of Shane McGown and later of substitute Diarmuid Spratt typified Bundoran’s dis-integration in the second half. With Realt reduced to 12 men for the last ten minutes after the black-carding of Ashley Mulhearn, St Eunans ran riot and notched a further four goals. Among the many candidates on the Letterkenny side, Brian McIntyre was named the Allingham Arms man of the match.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh freisin to our two match sponsors – Allingham Arms Hotels and Coyles Coaches.