Monday, August 4, 2008

Connemara Gaels v Donegal - Aug 3

Donegal 2-8 Connemara Gaels 1-5

The Connemara Gaels could not overcome Donegal to keep them in with a chance of the senior playoffs, so it will be the Intermediate playoffs for the westerners. Donegal were that bit stronger in the middle of the field, quicker to the ball, and passed the ball well. By half time the chances of the Gaels pulling off a win were slim. Donegal had a nine-point lead and the Gaels had to work very hard for the three scores that were converted, though truth be told there could have, and some may argue should have, been two in the goal column for the Gaels.

Donegal’s quickness and speed had the Gaels under pressure for most of the first 30 minutes. Kevin Curran opened the scoring with a free and Eamonn Murphy followed with another. Kieran Cox snatched a goal chance in the opening exchanges and sent the ball narrowly wide from close range, however, Donegal made the most of their own goal chance shortly afterwards when Declan Murphy sold a dummy to Pat McNicholas and buried the ball with just the keeper to beat. Donegal five points to the good with the Gaels yet to score. James Carlin got the Gaels off the mark with a free, but the Gaels struggled to add to their tally for much of the period.

Declan Murphy tries to elude the attention of Michael Geoghan.
After Kevin Curran put another over for Donegal, Donal McNulty finished a fine move with a point. Eamonn Murphy added another and with Donegal holding a seven point lead , the Gaels enjoyed a brief period of pressure the yielded points from Tom McDonagh and Coleman Conroy. The Gaels could have had a goal, Niall O’Connell pulled off a brave save from McDonagh as the Leitir Mor man was bearing down on goal, and Carlin rocketed the ball off the crossbar in a sequence of play shortly afterwards. Donegal, however, finished the half well having weathered the storm. Curran and Murphy pointed, and Gareth Concar scored a second goal just before half time to put Donegal in the drivers seat for the next period.

The scores were few and far between in the second half and the game slowed considerably. The first 20 minutes saw McNulty put another fine point over the bar for Donegal and Carlin point from a free for the Gaels. The Gaels battled on and tried to whittle down the deficit, but the Donegal defence proved tough to break down. Carlin put another free over the bar, and Frank Niblock goaled from a 21-yard free to pull the Gaels within five points with five minutes to go. It was too little, too late however, as the Gaels could not complete the late rally, and Donegal march on to the senior championship playoffs.
Gaels: J. Flaherty, B. McLoughlin, P. McNicholas, Coleman Conroy (0-1), M. Geoghan, D. Burns, R. Hughes, G. O’Malley, K. Cox, Frank Niblock (1-0), V. O’Malley, Tommy McDonagh (0-1), James Carlin (0-3). Donegal: N. O’Connell, T. Maguire, S. Lee, N. Hegarty, K. Cunningham, P. Witherow, R. McNeilis, Donal McNulty (0-2), E. Wade, Eamonn Murphy (0-3), Kevin Curran (0-3), Gareth Concar (1-0), Declan Murphy (1-0).

By Rory O'Donnell

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