Monday, July 23, 2018

Sunday July 22 - Senior Football: Connemara Gaels v Donegal

Donegal 1-15 Connemara Gaels 0-10 
Donegal tallied another win in the senior football championship against a dogged Connemara Gaels who were eager to make amends for a disappointing outing the last time the teams met.  The Gaels made Donegal fight for everything they got, but did not have enough to get a result out of the game.  It was all square at the break, but in the second half Donegal limited the Gaels to 2 points and did what was needed to secure the win by keeping the points column ticking over.
Brendan Murphy looks focused as David Lynch shadows.
The Gaels gave as good as they got in the opening 30 minutes and went in all square at the break.  Eoin Connolly made on fantastic save with his foot with Michael Carroll only having to put the finishing touch on a sweeping Donegal move.  Carroll tried to slide the ball home and Connolly’s reaction was DeGea-esque to keep the ball out of the net with his foot.  The teams started off converting 2 points each, Keith Beirne with frees for the Gaels and Dermot Connolly for Donegal.  Connolly was given a yellow card for an off the ball foul on his marker about half way through, but apart from two pulled long range dead ball efforts, did well with converting the frees.  Donegal looked like they were taking over the game, the northerners won the Gaels kickouts on most occasions, and went into a 3 point lead after Carroll, Connolly, and Brendan Murphy converted.
The big men up for the restart.
The Gaels defence did well on several occasions to stand their ground and turn the ball over with Donegal’s big men surging through, and as the half reached its conclusion, managed to tie up the game with a well taken David Black score followed by two from Beirne.  The Gaels forward line had to work hard against a solid Donegal defence to get any return, and will have been pleased at the break to see themselves level at seven points each.
Donegal eventually started to wear their opponents down in the second half.  Ciaran McFaul opened the scoring with a beautiful point and was followed by another from center back, Eoin McHugh.  The Gaels again were struggling to win possession from their own kickouts, and though the Connemara men defended well, the Donegal defence were on top when the ball made its way to the other end of the field.  An example of Donegal’s upper had was when a Connolly point from play came from a Gaels turnover from an attack deep in the Donegal half. 
With Donegal ahead by two points the northerners introduced rising Armagh star, Oisin O’Neill to the fray and the Crossmaglen youngster had an immediate impact with a point.  Connolly again denied Carroll with a point blank save to prevent a goal that surely would have signaled the opening of the floodgates, and Donegal had to content themselves with inflicting death by a thousand cuts by slowly chipping away at the points.   With 5 minutes left it was a 5 point game after another O’Neill free as the minutes ticked away.  Youth league product, Mark Dunphy, netted for Donegal in injury time to gloss up the scoreboard after he was found with the lovely cross field ball from O’Neill.  Another win for the northerners in the books after a shaky start to the season, and Donegal secure with a semi-final place.  The Gaels will be hoping for a result in their final game against the Wolfe Tones to avoid a possible playoff with McAnespies for the final semi-final spot.
Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Liam Silke, Jason Noctor, Sean Doherty, Eoin McHugh, Neil McEneaney, Brendan Murphy, Michael Carroll, Shane Carthy, Ciaran McFaul, Sean Donnelly, Ciaran McDevitt, Diarmaid Connolly.
Gaels: Eoin Connolly, Martin O’Connor, David Black, David Lynch, Sean Mulkerrins, Kieran Killeen, Colm Brennan, Glen Malone, Chris Cunningham, Keith Beirne, AJ Maguire, Ryan Galvin, Dessie Conneeley.

By Rory O'Donnell

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