ON AN EVENING of six goals, five red cards and fluctuating opportunities for Termon, it was Four Masters who sneaked into the last eight of the Donegal SFC.
Termon 3-8 Four Masters 3-7
A remarkable turnaround in the final 17 minutes saw the team from Donegal town join St Michael’s in progressing from Group C when, for long spells, it looked practically impossible.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, the home support, who may or may not have known that a 16-point victory would see their side jump from bottom of the group to second place and qualification, thought they were on the verge.
And they had every reason to think so with Termon leading 3-7 to 0-2, or by 14, and looking unstoppable. Four Masters, at that juncture, had scored just two placed balls – a free and a 45 – from Thomas McGowan, who was sent off having picked up a black card to add to his previous yellow.
With St Michael’s doing the expected to make it three-from-three and overcoming Malin, on a 2-18 to 0-11 scoreline, it meant someone would be able to make the quarter-finals with just two points. Four Masters, amid all the confusion, knew they had to avoid a loss at the Burn Road of three points or more.
But they began disastrously. Termon needed at least a 10-point win to avoid finishing bottom of the pile and therefore avoiding the relegation play-off. Shaun Paul Barrett’s team flew from the traps.
By the quarter-hour mark, they were already 1-3 to 0-0 in front, with Daire McDaid fisting an 11th minute goal past Martin Cassidy in the Four Masters goal following Enda McCormick’s diagonal ball in.
McGowan finally opened the visitors’ account on 17 minutes but it was, at that stage, like the wasp stinging the elephant. Termon were rampant and continued to surge forward. Two points apiece from Caolan McDaid and McCormick made for a 1-7 to 0-2 advantage by the 30th minute.
Noel O’Donnell, deputising for the benched Michael Boyle in the Termon goal, made a fine save from John Boyle just beforehand but from the last play of the half, the home team grabbed a second goal. Again it was Daire McDaid who netted, this time smashing home following a fine pass from Anthony Grant.
As the crowd drew breath at the interval, Termon were 2-7 to 0-2 ahead and, seemingly, well on their way.
Four minutes into the second half, Termon scored their third goal and the impossible seemed possible. This time it was Sweeney who fisted home, with McCormick again the provider.
Termon 3-7 to a 14-man Four Masters’ 0-2. Seventeen minutes reminded. Termon looked as though they’d hold onto their huge margin, when O’Donnell in goal saved well from Emmet Doogan but the Termon net-minder could do little to keep out a wonderful goal from Cathal Canavan, scoring on the turn right into the top corner from outside the 21, moments later.
Masters, still 11 down, began to play with an urgency missing beforehand. Karl Lacey pointed then Shaun Meehan, a second half substitute, scored their second goal when taking advantage of a poor O’Donnell kick-out on 46 minutes.
Termon, so assured in their task in the early stages, looked panicky. Joe O’Donnell was sent off for a second yellow for a foul on Meehan. With five minutes to play, Termon were 3-8 to 2-5 ahead.
However, a third Masters goal came when a shot from Doogan’s shot for a point cannoned down off the Termon upright on 56 minutes, gladly accepted by Patrick Reid, who goaled from close range. Now their deficit was three points – just one off qualification.
A melee broke out with players from both sides involved and with referee Mark Dorrian needing eyes in the back of his head, two straight reds were dished out – Kevin McBrearty of Masters and Termon’s Shane Doherty – when there were perhaps others more involved fortunate to stay on the field.
Moments later, Termon substitute Jimmy Gallagher was also shown to the line for a shove.
Masters passed up on two good chances to get back to within two points before Lacey, coolness personified, kept his nerve to pop over in injury time and then, Caolan Loughney did likewise to make sure.
If ever there was a victory that felt like a defeat then this was it for Termon as Four Masters would’ve had an equal but opposite feeling as they headed for Barnesmore.
By the skin of their teeth Four Masters had qualified, bringing disappointment not only to a young Termon team who ran out of gas but to Malin’s players in Dunfanaghy, when for long long it looked as though it would be they who would join St Michael’s in tomorrow evening’s draw.
Termon:Noel O’Donnell; Anthony Grant, Kevin Mcdaid, Joe O’Donnell; Sean O’Donnell, Nathan McElwaine, Steve McElwaine; Aidan Sweeney, Ricky Gallagher; Paul McDaid, Enda McCormick (0-3), Caolan McDaid (0-2, 2f); Daire McDaid (2-2), Marty Sweeney (1-0), Shane Doherty (0-1). Sub Jimmy Gallagher for Sweeney (50)
Four Masters:Martin Cassidy; John Boyle, Daire Quinn, Barry Dunnion; Patrick Reid (1-0), Leo McHugh (0-1), Cathal Canavan (1-0); Aaron McCrea, Jason Duignan; Ciaran Monaghan, Thomas McGowan (0-2, 1f, 45), Karl Lacey (0-3, 1f); Neil Ward, Barry Monaghan, Kevin McBrearty. Subs: Emmet Doogan for Monaghan (29), Shaun Meehan (1-0) for Duignan (31), Caolan Loughney (0-1) for Ward (41), Brian Fegan for Monaghan (44), Dylan Kennedy for Meehan (50), Oisin Reid for Canavan (black card 53).
Referee:Mark Dorrian (Gaeil Fhanada).Tags: