A cool start to Saturday gave way to a hot late afternoon, and there were 2 hot looking teams in Aidan McAnespies and Donegal.
Two first half goals saw McAnespies past Wolfe Tones and into next Saturday’s semi-final round. Ruairi O’Domhnaill and Seanie McConville netted. Wolfe Tones had plenty of chances to make up the gap with points, but some wasteful shooting saw the Tones constantly chasing the game.
Donegal looked particularly impressive in their victory over Connemara Gaels. Strong throughout the field, even at this early stage of the season, saw Donegal build a sixteen point lead and bring on the subs. The Gaels truck eight points in the form of three goals and two points in the latter stages of the game and put an air of respectability on the scoreline.
Next weekend sees the semi-final stage of the competition with Shannon Blues and Christopher’s at 4:30 followed by Aidan McAnespies and Donegal at 5:30.
Aidan McAnespies 2-5 Wolfe Tones 0-7
With many new faces on board, and sporting a new lime green trim to their uniform, Aidan McAnespies pulled through a dogged encounter with the Wolfe Tones. Neither side looked particularly sharp in front of goal, however, two expertly finished strikes saw them through to next week’s semi-final.
|Aidan McAnespies had the edge over the Tones on Saturday.|
In the early going the Tones scored three times to McAnespies one. Gavin Walsh, Dan McCabe, and Cormac Joyce-Power split the posts. However, Ruaidhri O’Domhnaill had netted to compliment a Seanie McConville point to put McAnespies in the lead. A second goal for McAnespies, this time a well placed finish from McConville, knocked the Tones off their stride. Several chances to add to the points tally went awry, though Walsh did manage to add a fourth. At the break it was a 2-1 to 0-4 lead for McAnespies.
|Cormac Joyce-Power on the attack.|
The second half saw the teams efforts cancel each other out. Marty Farrell found the mark a couple of times to add to the Tones tally, however, marksman McConville pointed twice for McAnespies, while another from Donnelly maintained the gap between the teams. McAnespies will have a tough nut to crack in the form of Donegal in next week’s semi-final as Donegal looked tight throughout the field, and were impressive with their shooting, in their encounter against the Gaels.
Macs: P. Coakley, P. Daly, M. Bogue, M. Boyle, S. McConville, J. McGourty, R. O’Domhnaill, D. Spratt, C. Donnelly, R. Kennedy, J. Brickland, C. McComiskey, D. Kennedy. Tones: P. Miskell, D. McGuire, P. Collins, M. O’Brien, L. Kiely, C. McConnell, B. McSHea, D. McDonnell, G. Brilly, C. Joyce-Power, M. Farrell, G. Walsh, D. McCabe.
Donegal 1-13 Connemara Gaels 3-2
It was clear that there would be one winner from the early going in this one. Donegal had established a seven point lead and late in the first half the Gaels had yet to score. It was only with the cat out of the bag that the Gaels made any inroads, three late goals put a gloss on the scoreboard.
|Donegal had the Gaels on the back foot all game.|
Tony McCleneghan opened the scoring with a goal, and the Moville man soon followed with a goal haing taken advantage of a ball that broke nicely to him, Eoin Connolly in goal had no chance. Donegal’s forwards looked particularly impressive, Ephrain McFadden and Emlyn Mulligan also hit the mark with some fine looking scores as Donegal pulled away. The Gaels only score of the first half was a Noel Graham point with the period almost up.
|Damien Doolan and Tony McCleneghan contest a high ball.|
The second half started the way the first ended with the Gaels struggling to make any meaningful inroads into Donegal territory, while the northerners had their way. Eventually the Gaels struck a blow with a lovely Luke Purcell goal into the far corner, however, Mulligan hit an equally good point from a tight angle and Declan McBride followed with another. Sean Conneeley and Tom McDonagh netted one each with full time approaching to reduce the gap to five points, but that was as close as it got. Donegal looking good going into the semi final next week.
Donegal: J. Byrne, M. Canny, D. Doherty, S. Doherty, D. Green, T. McCleneghan, M. Smyth, G. Gallagher, E. McFadden, C. Hughes, C. McDevitt, E. Mulligan, N. Kelly. Gaels: E. Connolly, D. Leech, B. Bentley, L. Purcell, D. Doolan, S. Conneeley, N. Graham, T. Sally, T. Higgins, C. Mulkerrin, R. Caffrey, B. Walsh, M. Byrne.
By Rory O’Donnell
Schedule May 16
Pat O’Brien Cup Semi Finals
4:30 – Shannon Blues v Christopher’s
5:30 – Donegal v Aidan McAnespies