Monday, August 31, 2015

Junior B Football Final: Aidan McAnespies v Donegal

Donegal 3-12 Aidan McAnespies 1-9

Donegal captured the junior B football championship, the first of 3 finals in which the club would be competing, in a dogged game against rivals Aidan McAnespies.  There was a contrast in styles, with Donegal having the speed to employ the running game, while McAnespies used a more direct approach.  Three goals put the game away for Donegal, the third came just as McAnespies were making a second half comeback.  McAnespies had put three points in a row over the bar and crept within four points before John Duggan canceled them out with one kick of the boot.

A very happy Donegal Captain, Seamus Sweeney, accepts the trophy
from Boston Northeast Chairman, John Cunningham. 
If not for the butt of the Donegal post there would have been just two points in it at half time rather than the five that separated the teams.  Early in the half Neil Donaghy’s shot had Christy McLaughlin beaten but the ball cannoned off the foot of the post with McAnespies leading by two points to one.  Soon afterwards John Duggan dispossessed Niall Duffy and poked the ball across the line, and from that point on Donegal were in front.

McAnespies survived off the free taking of Ryan McCrystal who tallied their first three points from the dead ball – and ended up with seven of McAnespies points from frees.  Donegal had a little bit more of youth and fitness on their side and moved the ball well.  A point from Jason Costello and a second goal from Duggan were the result of sweeping downfield moves involving multiple handpasses till the ball reached the scorer.  Adam Kellet battled well in the full back line for McAnespies, as did Rory O’Donnell at corner forward, as McAnespies tried to undo the Donegal advantage.  Eventually, just before the break, an early ball from Donaghy to Peadar Nugent was buried by the veteran into the far corner to keep McAnespies in it.  At the break it was Donegal 2-6 and McAnespies 1-4.

Donegal tallied the first 2 points of the second half as the speed of the forward line opened up the McAnespies defence again.  Mattthew Cutliffe and Duggan pointed.  McAnespies dug in however and delivered several balls into the hands of Nugent at full forward.  Donegal’s fouling led to three points from the boot of McCrystal and the gap between the sides was closed to four points.

Donegal had another goal up their sleeve.  The ball was worked into the hands of Duggan who sidestepped the keeper and shot into the open net.  Immediately following the score, with Donegal ahead now by seven points, a row broke out that led to the marching orders for Michael McNally, and McAnepies had 12 minutes to try to make up the difference with a man down.  It was not a day for miracles and Donegal shepherded the win home with four points down the stretch to take the junior B football trophy for the second time in 3 years.

Donegal:  C. McLaughlin, S. Sweeney, P. McNulty, M. McBride, H. Devine, T. McConnell, P. McLaughlin, J. Byrne, R. Shovlin, R. Ivers, J. Costello, M. Cutliffe, J. Duggan.  Macs:  N. Duffy, E. Daly, A. Kellet, S. Clifford, P. McCusker, M. McNally, N. Donaghy, R. McCrystal, D. Slevin, P. Nugent, G. McAlinden, D. Magill, R. O’Domhnaill.

By Rory O'Donnell

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