Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday July 25 - Senior Football: Donegal v Connemara Gaels

Donegal 0-13 Connemara Gaels 1-18

Donegal and Gaels met in a game of utmost importance on Sunday afternoon, a bye for the championship semi-finals was at stake. Each side had some new faces on hand. Donegal featured Paddy Kelly and Louthman Brian White in the full forward line, while the Gaels newcomers included recentlyarrived Galwaymen, John Duane, Paul Conroy, and Danny Cummins. Donegal had the Gaels on the ropes for the first 30 minutes, but the Gaels grew in strength as the game wore on and ended up relatively comfortable winners.

Donegal's Brian White attemps to burst through. 
Donegal enjoyed most of the possession in the first half and their tactics of hitting Paddy Kelly with the early ball worked. Kelly won plenty of frees and Brian White put them over the bar. Donegal’s veteran midfield duo of Michael McGinty and Donal McNulty won or broke enough ball to give the northerners a decided advantage in this area of the field. After the Gaels had opened brightly with two quick points, Donegal took control of affairs. The Tir Chonaill men proceeded to tally six points to one for the Gaels over the following 20 minutes. Collie Carr, White, and Paddy O’Connor all notched scores for the northerners as the Gaels struggled to win possession from their kickouts. Towards the end of the half the Gaels came back into the game. Sean Conneely, Niall Judge, Brian Carrroll, and Paul Conroy each found the mark, while Donegal tallied a point from Carr down the stretch, and the westerners drew closer by the break. Donegal led by the slimmest of margins at the half.

Brian Connor rises highest for this kickout.
The second half was an entirely different affair. The Gaels midfield picked it in the second and the Gaels got a major boost with a somewhat fortunate goal. It came five minutes into the second half and proved to be a sign of things to come. A Brian Connor free dropped a little short and keeper Liam Mailey batted the ball out, alert corner forward Danny Cummins was on hand to first the bouncing ball into the back of the net. The Goal gave the Gaels a three point edge now as Connor had leveled the scores with a free to get the second half going. The Gaels then combined well for Connor to put another over the bar, all with Donegal still to score in the second period. Brian White and Eoin Sheehy each pointed to make it a two point game, but the Gaels responded with with four points on the trot. Donegal began to struggle as the dominance displayed in the first half disappated. Changes were made with Kelly and White coming into the middle of the field in an effort to get back to winning some possession. John Duane showed his credentials with a point following a great run from center back. At that point the game had gone from Donegal as they trailed by six points and were struggling to turn things in their favour. The Gaels continued to get stronger into the final quarter. A flurry of points in the final minutes embellished the scoreline and the Gaels are now locked into second place and get the bye to the semi-final in four weeks time.

Donegal: L. Mailey, M. Canning, N. Byrne, P. O’Connor (0-2), T. Caldwell, D. McBride, D. McNulty, M. McGinty, A. Bonner, C. Carr (0-3), E. Sheehy (0-1), P. Kelly, B. White (0-6). Sub: R. McCarthy (0-1). Gaels: B. Joyce, L. Wylie, G. Kelly, P. McNicholas, J. Duane (0-1), B. Murphy, B. Connor (0-5), P. Conroy (0-5), S. Connelly (0-1), R. Fox (0-1), B. Carroll (0-1), N. Judge (0-1), D. Cummins (1-2). Sub: J. Molloy (0-1).

By Rory O'Donnell

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