Report from Naomh Ultan
Final Score: Division 3 County Final – Naomh Ultan 2-10 Moville 2-5
Dobbyn and McGuinness send Naomh Ultan parading through the Gap
After a thriller in Letterkenny a fortnight ago this County Final this replay had a lot to live up to, and in the glorious sunshine up in Castlefinn the game did so, producing a fine example of how football should be played.
Proceedings were slow from the throw-in with both sides seemingly testing the water with no real end product. After trading attacks the ball found its way into the Naomh Ultan forward line and after some patience and good recycling young Christopher Boyle popped over from 13 yards to start the tab. Quite similar to the first game the ball was beginning the base it’s self around the middle and to the delight of the Naomh Ultan followers key midfielder Darragh McNern was back from injury after missing out two weeks ago. It was Darragh who then got the next score with a strong individual run from 45 metres, splitting the posts at his ease after steadying the ship. Moville responded with two attacks of their own, and on both occasions the ball fell to Patrick Faulkner , who on his first attempt missed but on this second he pointed just as the clock stroke fourteen minutes. Almost immediately Naomh Ultan cancelled out this score, the ball broke around the middle and was passed on to Jordan Watters, who from the guts of 35 metres sailed the ball over for the standout score of the evening. All seemed to be going Naomh Ultan’s way, but Moville were not going to lay down. The pace at which they were able the break was great and they used this on sixteen minutes to burst the net through the boot of Gareth Foynes. In similar fashion Dunkineely tried to respond once more and again the ball came to Jordan Watters, playing around the half forward line, who just sent the ball wide of the post after he tore down at goal.
After a good start but now down by one the Dunkineely boys sensed they needed a goal and what better way to do so other than to pump the ball into the space for free scoring Darragh Murrin. They did so and after taking the ball into his chest Darragh turned his man headed towards goal and at the last second popped the ball to young Jason Dobbyn for the simplest of tap ins. 1-3 to 1-1 with ten still remaining in the half. The tenacious defending from the first fixture was still there in the Naomh Ultan back line with the Breslin brothers Barry and Lee and young Seanie O’Shea leading the way with exhibitions on how to tackle, dispossess and bust out. Naomh Ultan’s dominance was beginning to set in, they were creating more attacks, winning more balls, and hassled well without it. Jordan Watters, seeing a large amount of the ball and instrumental in Dunkineely’s scoring popped over another from 21 yards on twenty-two minutes after some more good recycling. Darragh Murrin did win a free moments later but as the expression goes he didn’t have enough spuds as his free from the ground fell into the hands of the Moville keeper.
The scoring wasn’t over yet a ball was sent into the danger area and after a goal bound shot rebounded midfielder Kevin McGuinness thumped the ball into the corner of the net to make it a six point game. Nearing the end of the half Murrin was once again fouled but nothing came of the corresponding free kick, although moments later McGuinness, on one of his trademark lung busters pointed after beating half the Moville defence for pace. That ended a pulsating opening half with Naomh Ultan leading by seven on a scoreline of 2-5 to 1-1, but the Dunkineely team and management had to remain cautious, as they were in the same position two weeks prior, and were bemused by a brilliant second half fight back by the boys from Inshowen.
The first opportunity in the new half fell to Darragh Murrin who just missed from a tricky angle. Moville turned up their game as expected and were starting to hold on to and use their possession better. They got two consecutive scores on the 36 and 37 minutes, the scores coming from the boots of Kyle Harkin and Captain Cathal McLaughlin after some good work. Moville once again pushed forward, tearing down on goal the full forward was about the wind a shot but a last ditch tackle from Kevin McGuinness who covered every blade of grass in Castlefinn dispossessed the ball and Naomh Ultan broke forward. Naomh Ultan won and missed a 45 and this was followed by another wide, this time from Moville. On 47 minutes the ball was launched in to Darragh Murrin after a good Naomh Ultan break. He sold his man, carried and fired the liathroid over the crossbar. With six in it and 10 remaining, Moville needed to find the net but they needed to get through the solid defence of Dunkineely who were really starting to work as a unit. Captain and midfielder Cathal McLaughlin took this upon himself and in similar fashion to the previous game he beat the defence and blasted the goal from close range. Three points and less than ten remaining, was it to be dejá-vu? Once again
McLaughlin tried to beat the defence but his goal-bound shot was blocked on the line. Naomh Ultan were tiring and Moville seemed on top, proving this with another point, this time from a 45 kicked by Conor McDaid to take the game back to two points.
The ball broke around the middle for Naomh Ultan and the ball was hastily pumped forwards Darragh Murrin, who, keeping the trend going, beat his man and headed towards the posts. His shot was on the high side and just passed over the crossbar to put it back to a goal between them. Six minutes remained and showing his leadership capabilities Darragh Byrne from full back charged out of his back line and carried the ball half the field where he laid off to Watters who was subsequently fouled. Darragh Murrin pointed the free at his ease to put 4 in it. Naomh Ultan were starting to turn the gears again after a spell of dominance from Moville. Every last ball was contested for and when the Dunkineely men didn’t have the ball they worked like dogs to retrieve it, an admirable sight on any field. Murrin hit the last wide of the game, the ball was kicked out but it was sent right back into the Moville defence and the strong Shawn Dobbyn popped up to kick the decisive score. The kick-out was followed by the whistle to the delight of the Naomh Ultan team and support. The pitch was soon flooded with followers, scenes the small club from the south west of Donegal have not seen in almost five years. Captain Daragh Byrne was presented the cup and raised it towards the sun shining over them. He thanked all and consoled the losing Moville side, who put up an admirable fight in the two fixtures. But it was to be Naomh Ultan’s day, and away the convoy headed through the gap to celebrate with family and friends.
Final Score Naomh Ultan 2-10 Moville 2-5