Donegal 2-15 Aidan McAnespies 3-9
Donegal just about sneaked over the line in a tremendously exciting junior A football final to open proceedings on Sunday. McAnespies pushed their opponents all the way and coming into the final minutes of the game the scores were even. Donegal had the subs to win it as three points to came from players who were brought off the line as the time ticked away.
Vice Consul, Shane McCaffrey, presents Gavin Reilly
with the Pat Callaghan Cup.
It was a fierce first half, with McAnespies going on a 7 points to none scoring streak before Donegal came back. Some great work in the McAnespies back line kept the dangermen in the Donegal forward line quiet. Michael Lynch had goaled to open McAnespies account after Kane Barrett had pointed for Donegal. Points from Barrett and Darren Grant presaged the Macs scoring spree.Points from Lynch and Eoin Delmer were followed by a goal from Steve Ward who fisted in on the second attempt. A Cian Sharkey runn resulted in a fabulous score by Lynch, and Eoin Delmer added another. Macs in the driver’s seat.
Donegal were far from out of it and went on a run themselves. Corey Gallagher pointed and after a Barrett free was pointed, the corner forward returned a kickout and put the ball right back into the net. Donegal were now back in it and it was McAnespies who looked out of ideas. Sean Winton and Barrett pointed before the break to make it a one point half time difference, McAnespies 2-5 to 1-7 for Donegal.
The second half saw each side net, and both came from short kickouts gone wrong. Lynch netted for McAnespies after Jimmy Rigney picked up the stray kickout, while Christy McLaughlin did likewise at the other end for Donegal after the short ended up in the wrong hands. The pace of the game slowed as the humid conditions sapped strength for already tired legs. Donegal appeared to gain the upper hand in the middle of the field with Darren Grant and Cory Gallagher on top, and started to pull away with scored from Grant and two from Barrett.
|Donegal celebrate the Pat Callaghan Cup.|
McAnespies were not about to leave it at that however. The underdogs pushed hard at the Donegal defence with Jimmy Rigney pushing every sinew in his body to turn the tide. Michael Lynch was the finisher but not without a massive effort from the others on the team to get the ball into the corner forwards hands, or to set up the free kick. Tied with hardly any time on the clock and it was up for grabs. Donegal had the legs to bring on and push it home. The winning points came from Charlie Doherty, Aaron Murphy and Darren Doherty who each entered play in the second half. And the Pat Callaghan Cup is back with Donegal after 2 years with Cork.
Donegal: Padraig McLaughlin, Paul McNulty, Mary Canney, Gavin Reilly, Declan McBride, Liam Sage, Cory Gallagher, Darren Grant, Colum Hayden, Ashley Carr, Sean Winston, Kane Barrett, Christy McLaughlin.
Macs: Paddy Coakley, Mickey Boyle, Sean Clifford, Eoin Delmer, Cian Sharkey, Colm O’Malley, Steve Ward, Cronan Dempsey, Conor Bogue, Eoin Gormley, Jimmy Rigney, Mick Lynch, Paul Morris.By Rory O'Donnell