Cloich Cheann Fhaola 2-7
Realt na Mara 2-12
The picturesque school pitch at PCC Falcarragh was bathed in sunshine for all of the Reserve game, won convincingly by Cloughaneely (4-10 to 0-6), but by mid-way through the first half the rain was falling hard in the senior tie. Fortunately, the quality of the football, the desire of the two sides, over-spilling at times, and the closeness of the game made up for the unseasonal weather. Bundoran were first off the mark but by the fourth minute the home side hit the front with a well-taken Mark Harley goal, preceded by a Cillian Gallagher point.
Mattie Duffy had a gilt edged chance to hit the net for Realt na Mara two minutes later but opted to fist a point. The Realt goal was not long in coming though, but it was a disputed call as the ball appeared to be saved by Sean McClafferty but crossed the goal-line according to the umpire. Referee Seamus McGonagle agreed although the decision was contested by Cloughaneely. The men from Bundoran looked the more fluent side thereafter and added points from Michael and Cian McEniff, the latter with two. The game then swung the other way. Sean McGarvey pointed a free for Cloughaneely and a minute later hesitation in the Bundoran defence allowed Paul Sweeney create enough space to finish to the net. Cloughaneely were well on top at this stage and points from Paul Sweeney and Sean McGarvey left them two ahead 2-4 to 1-5 at the break.
Realt na Mara got the start they needed with Cian McEniff’s third point within a minute of the restart. The same player was at the start and end of a flowing move from their own 21 for a goal that would prove the key score of the match. It moved Realt na Mara into a 2-6 to 2-4 lead they would not relinquish. Cloich Cheann Fhaola showed great hunger and the hits were going in hot and heavy but the visitors were finding gaps. Alan Russell hit Realt’s seventh point and half-time substitute Gary Clancy moved the visitors four ahead before Cillian Gallagher got Cloughaneely’s first point of the half on 42 minutes. A Tommy Hourihane free moved Realt na Mara four ahead again before two Sean McGarvey frees narrowed the gap back to two points – 2-7 to 2-9.
Tensions were rising both on the pitch and on the sidelines. It was Realt, however, that were picking off the scores – Alan Russell lofted over Realt’s 10th point with seven minutes of normal time remaining and Kevin Mulhern was red-carded for striking almost immediately afterwards. The game, however, remained on a knife-edge as Cloughaneely dominated possession but found the Realt defence tough to breach and when they did they failed to hit the target. Timmy Govorov hit an insurance score for the visitors with minutes of normal time remaining and when Michael Fitzgerald foolishly threw the ball at the referee, the home side were down to 13 men with time running out. The last kick of the game saw Gary Clancy make it Realt 2-12, CCF 2-7.
Cloich Cheann Fhaola: Sean McClafferty, Ciaran McFadden, Cian McFadden, Finn McGinley, Noel Sweeney, Kevin Mulhearn, Ciaran McGeady, Mark Harley (1-0), Michael Fitzgerald, Michael McHugh, Sean McGarvey (0-4), Aidan Doohan, Cillian Gallagher (0-2), Sean Maguire, Paul Sweeney (1-1). Subs used: Shane Coll
Realt na Mara: Ciaran Carty, Mattie Duffy (0-1), Diarmuid McCaughey, Adam Brennan, Oisin Walsh, Shane McGowan, Johnny Boyle (0-1), Michael McEniff (0-1), Niall Carr, Timmy Govorov (0-1), Dara Hoey, Cian McEniff (1-3), Paul Murphy, Tommy Hourihane (0-1), Alan Russell (0-2). Subs used: Gary Clancy (0-2), Matthew Ward.