Monday, July 25, 2022

Senior Football - Donegal v Connemara Gaels

Connemara Gaels 1-6 Donegal 1-16

The Gaels Mikey Kerr in Possession
Donegal brushed off their last 2 outings where they suffered back to back defeats to overpower the Connemara Gaels and gain confidence going into the final week of the round robin stage and into the semi-finals.   Donegal will have a chance at top spot and a bye into the final if they defeat Galway next Sunday, and hope that the Gaels can turn Aidan McAnespies which will force a draw for the top spot.  It was after the first half water break that Donegal turned on the afterburners and pretty much overwhelmed the Gaels scoring six points to one against and hold a formidable 9 point lead at the break, one that the Gaels were not likely to overcome in the second 30 minutes.

The Gaels started brightly.  A Ciaran Turbitt free was followed by a great score from home grown player, Mikey Kerr to put the Gaels 2 points to the good early.  Donegal were not long finding their feet and Paul Mannion had the teams on level terms with two typically well taken efforts.  Then the Gaels suffered their first blow after conceding a penalty.  Shane Carthy was fouled in the box and up stepped Mannion to take it.  The shot came off the foot of the post, and right back into Mannion’s hands and the Dubliner finished easily past Sean Fox.  The Gaels answered with a score from Turbitt who was showing well early.  Shane Killoran, who lined out at midfield, then made a foray into the heart of the Gaels defence and his goal bound shot was deflected wide, Corey Gallagher converted the 45.  Killoran went again soon afterwards, and this time his shot was deflected over the crossbar by Fox who reacted well.  The Roscommon man was showing that he was eager to make an impression.

Kieran McDevitt Fields Cleanly
for Donegal

With the scores at 1-4 to 0-3 after the first half water break the game was still looking like it was up for grabs, however Donegal stepped up the pressure and pretty much made a statement over the next 15 minutes.  After James Garrity made with a one goal difference with a point, Donegal ran at the Gaels and suffocated their opponents in the dead heat of Canton.  It was the aces of Ciaran McFaul, Killoran, and Caolan McColgan who led the charge, with Shane Carthy as always involved in the link up play as the points went over.  The Gaels could not find an outlet to relive the pressure and every ball the sailed over the bar was another blow to morale.  Ciaran McDevitt pointed after calling mark before the break, and it was a 1-10 to 0-4 Donegal advantage heading into the second half.

There were changes to the Gaels lineup to start the second half with Matt Sullivan and Justin Kieran coming on.  The opening 10 minutes was a stalemate as the Gaels could not make inroads and Donegal seemed happy to keep the ball when in possession and let the clock run down.  There were a couple of good chances at points that were missed by the Gaels before Garrity pointed with a lovely curing effort.  The point just served to poke the bear and Donegal lifted their efforts.  McFaul pointed, and at the other end, Jason Noctor made a great block on Turbitt who had an opening for a goal shot.  Jack Doherty, who came on from the line pointed before the water break and it was a case of saving face for the Gaels heading into the last quarter.

Barry McCambridge restored some respectability to scoreboard with a goal for the Gaels, the Armagh man took his chance well after being played in behind the defence.  Donegal were keeping it fresh with several introductions from the line and there were additional points from Keelan Sexton and Sean Lowrey, as well as Carthy before all was said and done.  It was a merciful sounding of the final whistle for the Gaels, and the Connemara men will be wondering how to get the most out of what is a good squad of players for next week’s outing against a very good looking Aidan McAnespies.   Should Galway turn Donegal next week, and Gaels lose to the Macs then we have a possible playoff scenario for the semi-final spot.

Gaels:  Sean Fox, Jack Coyne, Callum Holland, Sean Conneely, Ryan Caffrey, Michael Coyne, Jack Lynch, Ben Crealy, Colman Mulkerrins, Jack Mahon, Mikey Kerr, Ciaran Turbitt, James Garrity.  Donegal:  Hugh Boyle, Jason Noctor, Kieran Tobin, Caolan McColgan, Jack O’Brien, Sean Doherty, Shane Killoran, Shane Carthy, James Newell, Ciaran McFaul, Cory Gallagher, Ciaran McDevitt, Paul Mannion.

By Rory O'Donnell

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