Aidan McAnespies 1-10 Donegal 1-12
A strong looking Donegal saw off a gallant Aidan McAnespies challenge on a chilly afternoon at the Irish Cultural Center. A spell in the first half saw Donegal tally an unanswered 1-5 and they threatened to put the game away early. McAnespies, who took the field in an all-white strip, stuck to the task and kept working away, and were within a score in the final stages of the game, but Donegal center forward Eoin O’Connor stepped up when needed to help maintain the Donegal advantage and see them to the win.
|Mark Devine tries to round Jason Noctor.|
The northerners took the half time break four points to the good on the heels of a very productive spell of scpring. It took about 10 minutes for the Donegal men to settle into the game, however once they did, it looked like McAnespies would be up against it. Corner forward John Campbell was a handful, although his marker, Marty Bogue did well throughout the game, as was Tommy Duignan in the middle of the field. Kevin McKernan hit with a goal for McAnespies early on following a great solo run, however the six scores that followed in the game were in the Donegal column. Campbell and Dean Kelly pointed, and Campbell buried a shot into the far corner of the net. The goal made it 1-1 to 1-6 and Donegal looked to be very much in control. McAnespies came into the game towards the end of the half, JP Gallagher and Mark Devine pointed, while Christy McLaughlin was called on to pull off a good save from a Mark Kavanagh shot to see the sides 4 points apart at the half, Donegal 1-7 to 1-4 for McAnespies.
|James Allen moves to try and block John Campbell.|
The second half saw McAnespies put the pressure on Donegal. Marty Bogue did well at corner back, while JP Gallagher and Kevin McKernan combined well in the forward line. McKernan accounted for three McAnespies points, however Donegal maintained the gap with scores from the boot of center forward Eoin O’Connor. McAnespies did not help themselves with some wayward balls played into pretty much nobody when in possession and on the attack.
Daniel McGuirk was shown a yellow card having just entered the fray, and about 15 minutes later was shown a second, and with a man down the task was now that much harder for the Macs men. The gap, however, was closed to two points with scores from Darren McElroy, a 45 from goalkeeper Ryan McCrystal, and a well taken McKernan effort. It was Eoin O’Connor who shone for Donegal when the chips were down however. The center forward won two crucial kickouts, and also finished off the moves with points himself, and Donegal did enough to see off the challenge of their rivals.
Macs: R. McCrystal, M. Bogue, J. Allen, M. Kavanagh, C. Donnelly, C. Lavelle, S. Daly, D. McElroy, JP Gallagher, A. Mallon, K. McKernan, R. Reynolds, M. Devine. Donegal: C. McLaughlin, J. Noctor, C. Russell, S. Doherty, D. Green, S. McMenamin, T. Duignan, B. Donnelly, D. Kelly, E. O’Connor, R. Dunleavy, A. McLaughlin, J. Campbell.
By Rory O'Donnell