Christopher’s hopes of repeating as senior football champions ended on a soggy Sunday evening in Canton. Without two of their key men, Sean O’Hare and Cathal McNally, Christopher’s made a gallant effort to turn Donegal, but scoring proved to be a big problem for the current champions. Donegal themselves were without Conor Rafferty who had injured himself in training, but were up to the task of getting through this tough and unexpected playoff round, and into the semi-final against the Wolfe Tones on Tuesday night.
|Donegal's Paddy Kelly pursued by Chris Alyward.|
Christopher’s made some changes to start the second half. On came Patrick Delaney and Mark O’Sullivan. Christopher’s did manage to slow down the Donegal attack as Barry McNally moved back to his familiar center back position, but the scoring problems persisted. A Sean Kelly goal provided brief hope for the champions. Christopher’s still trailed by four points, but with 18 minutes to go they had hope. But that door was well and truly shut. Donegal’s defence hassled and harried, and blocked well when Christopher’s forwards eventually found shooting space. Brian Kelly and Michael McGinty restored Donegal’s six point advantage and with 10 minutes to go the writing was on the wall. Eoghan Buckley scored a consolation point in injury time. Donegal will need to regroup quickly for their next assignment, while Christopher’s still have football to play themselves. They will face the Shannon Blues in an intermediate semi-final, also on Tuesday night.
Christopher’s: P. Kenneally, C. McDonald, C. Alyward, B. Kelly, C. Brosnan, R. Good, B. McNally, D. Kenneally, A. Maloney (0-2), S. Kelly (1-0), J. Moylan, E. Buckley (0-3), E. McCarthy (0-1). Donegal: M. Boyle, T. Maguire, N. Collins, D. Graham, G. Reddin, K. Lillis (0-1), M. McGinty (0-3), J. O’Loughlin (0-2), B. Lafferty (0-2), B. Kelly (0-2), C. Carr (0-2), S. Burke, P. Kelly (0-2).
By Rory O'Donnell