Monday, May 7, 2012

Pat O'Brien Cup Q/F - Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

Donegal 1-10 Aidan McAnespies 0-6

Donegal and Mc Anespies renewed acquaintances in the quarter final of the Pat O’Brien Cup on a Sunday afternoon that was perfect for football. Each side fielded a strong team, though Donegal were that bit stronger and had the game under control for most of the hour. There were a few players returning from seasons past. Brian White and Christy Bell, both players of past campaigns for Donegal, and Collie Donnelly for McAnespies, made a return to the Canton turf. The Donegal side featured a smattering for former U-21 players, Kieran Mulhern, Garbhan Friel and Niall McConnell will surely provide a platform for a promising championship campaign.

Brian White is Sandwiched between
 Collie Donnelly and Gareth O'Neill.
Donegal got the best possible start with a Niall McConnell goal following a high ball to the edge of the square. It was won by McConnell who found the room to shoot and with only Ryan McCrystal to beat, finished easily in the end. White followed with a point as Donegal applied the pressure early. McAnespies lifted their game, in large part thanks to the efforts of Gareth O’Neill in midfield. O’Neill’s determined run out of defence led to the first score from Stephan Gallen. Colm McCrory and O’Neill himself followed with a score each to bring McAnespies within a point. However, with Friel motoring at center forward, Donegal regained control and points followed from Ciaran Williams and McConnell to leave Donegal a goal to the good at the break.

McAnespies Cronan Dempsey and Donegal's Eoin Kelly
 get to know each other.
Donegal put their stamp on the game just after the restart. Four unanswered points from Eddie Kelly, Rocky Ivers, White and Bell put some distance between the teams. Even after a response through McCrory and Collie Donnelly Donegal did not look in any danger of giving up their lead and each side gave the subs a run for the final 10 minutes. With the win Donegal can feel quite confident going into the semi-final of the Cup next week. At this early stage of the season there is a significant depth in the squad with a strong group of players at its core.

Donegal: P. Boyle, M. Canny, D. Doherty, K. Mulhern, K. McColgan, P. McNulty, E. Kelly, B. White, R. Ivers, G. Friel, C. Bell, N. MCConnell, C. Williams.Macs: R. McCrystal, N. Gallen, M. Bogue, J. Roache, C. Dempsey, B. Smyth, S. Lynn, G. O’Neill, S. Gallen, C. Donnelly, P. McCusker, O. MCCusker, C. McCrory.

By Rory O'Donnell

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