Donegal put an end to the Connemara Gaels unbeaten streak with a well earned 2 point victory. The northerners played as if they were more interested in winning the game. There was more urgency and focus on the part of Donegal, and their forward line made much better use of the ball. The Gaels lifted their efforts in the second half, but just as a major comeback looked a possibility, John Egan was shown the line for a second bookable offence. In spite of conceding a late penalty, Donegal had enough in the bank to keep ahead until the final whistle.
|Donegal Senior Footballers made it a double following on the junior teams victory earlier in the day.|
Donegal started strong, while the Gaels floundered, particularly inside the 21 yard line. The extra pass hurt the Gaels on several occasions with the ball ending up missing it's intended target and in the hands of a Donegal defender. Combined with a half dozen attempts going wide of the posts the Gaels found themselves slipping further and further behind as the game wore on.
By contrast Donegal were on the mark and far more efficient when in possession. The northerners forward line capitalized on their chances and between them Stephen Griffin, Daniel McLaughlin, and Sean Boyle accounted for eight points. Eoin Connolly prevented a Donegal goal with a superb save from Christy Bell to keep the game from degenerating into a complete rout. At the break Donegal were in a deserved eleven points to four lead.
|Connemara Gaels GFC with members of Club Dornalaíochta Chonamara (Connemara Boxing Club) who were in action later in the day at Boston City Hall Plaza.|
The Gaels made some changes in the second half to try and spark some life into their efforts. Ian Burke and Dave McCormack traded places, and Coleman Mulkerrin was introduced to the fray. Donegal continued to be the more alert and focused side. With the Donegal lead at eight points, the Gaels started to come into the game. Mulkerrin seemed to provide the spark. The Cashel man pointed and followed with a goal after Sean Conneely provided the pass.
Ger Leech and Noel Graham provided 3 more points before the Egan sending off. At that stage there was 4 points between the teams. Donegal now looked like scoring with each attack, Matt Smyth,
Griffin, and McLaughlin added the Donegal
lead as the space opened up in front of them.
A late penalty after Ger Leech was fouled was converted by Conneely, but
Donegal had points in the bank to absorb the goal - too little too late as far
as the Gaels were concerned. A great win
for Donegal to hand the Gaels their first loss of the year.
Gaels: E. Connolly, J. Donoghue, M. Shanahan, S. Conneely, B. McGann, K. Killeen, S. O'Connor, J. Barrett, J. Egan, N. Graham, D. McCormack, G. Leech, I. Burke. Donegal: C. McLaughlin, M. Canney, C. McCarron, S. Doherty, G. Gallagher, C. Healy, M. Smyth, C. Thompson, D. Matthews, C. Bell, D. McLaughlin, S. Griffin, S. Boyle.
By Rory O'Donnell