St Eunan’s College staved off a strong comeback by Colaisti Inis Eoghain in Owenbeg this afternoon to move into the MacLarnon Cup final.
St Eunan’s College 2-12 Colaisti Inis Eoghain 2-10
By Charlie Collins in Owenbeg
Eunan’s were eight up at the break, but a pair of Daniel Houghton goals helped the Inishowen amalgamation hit back. St Eunan’s, though, held on to win in what was a repeat of the 2014 final the Letterkenny school had won.
After Conor O’Donnell and Josh Conlan started the ball rolling for Colaisti Inis Eoghain, St Eunan’s hit four-in-a-row with Cormac Finn, Conor O’Donnell and Shane McDevitt (2) arching over scores for the Sentry Hill men.
Colaisti Inis Eoghain hit their opening goal in the 11th minute to regain the lead.
Oisin McGonigle burst through and his shot was brilliantly saved by Eoin O’Boyle, but Daniel Houghton dived in to fist home.
Daniel McCallion, the Inis Eoghain goalkeeper, saved brilliantly from Oisin Purdy, after Purdy and PJ McBrearty drilled points to draw the teams level.
O’Donnell, Pauric McGettigan and Shane Doherty hit points as St Eunan’s took control and they hit two goals in the closing minutes of the opening period.
First, McGettigan struck gold when an excellent finish gave McCallion no chance after a solo run.
McCallion denied Conor O’Donnell a second almost immediately, but Eunan’s wouldn’t be thwarted in added time when McGettigan turned provider for Purdy to net, giving them a 2-9 to 1-4 lead.
With an eight-point buffer at the break, Eunan’s looked comfortable at the break, but when Inis Eoghain broke for a goal 12 minutes into the second half the Letterkenny scholars were rocked.
A short kick-out by O’Boyle found Peter McEniff, but his attempted ball back to the ‘keeper was intercepted by Houghton and the Malin man blasted to the back of the net.
Two superb McDevitt points steadied Eunan’s, but Oisin Hasson and O’Donnell kept alive the Inis Eoghain hopes of a comeback.
Five minutes from the end, Eunan’s had a big chance to wrap up the win, but Purdy’s shot was blocked by Brendan Doherty.
O’Donnell (2), Luke Mullins – a nephew of Donegal midfielder Nathan – and Lee McLaughlin all put over points for the Inis Eoghain men in the final 10 minutes, but it was a case of close, but not close enough for them as Eunan’s advanced to the March 19 final.
St Eunan’s College: Eoin O’Boyle; James Kelly, Anthony Gallagher, Brian Diver; Cormac O’Kane, Shane McDaid, Peter McEniff; Pauric McGettigan (1-0), Shane Doherty (0-1); PJ McBrearty (0-1), Cormac Finn (0-1), Conor O’Donnell (0-3, 2 ’45); Oisin Purdy (1-0), Shane McDevitt (0-4), Shane O’Donnell. Sub: Ryan Hilferty for Finn (34)
Colaisti Inis Eoghain: Daniel McCallion; Brendan Doherty, Ciaran Doherty, Luke Mullins (0-1); Matthew Mulholland, Donal Doherty, Conor O’Donnell; Conor Bambrick, Oisin McGonigle; Lorcan Bradley (0-1), Lee McLaughlin (0-1), Oisin Hasson (0-1); Josh Conlan (0-2, 1f), Daniel Houghton (2-0), Aaron Craig. Subs: Sean Byrne for McGonigle (black card, 51), Conor Carlin for Craig (51), Sean O’Neill for Bradley (54), Ryan Hegarty for Bambrick (55).
Referee: Kieran Ennetta (Tyrone)