Glengad United are within touching distance of a third Jackie Crossan Premier League title in-a-row after Terence Doherty gunned down old rivals Clonmany.
Glengad United 1 Clonmany Shamrocks 0
Report by Chris McNulty at The Crua
Doherty’s clinical first half strike was all that separated the teams in a game bossed by Shane Byrne’s team at The Crua.
They longed for a killer second that never arrived, but the win – their 12th of the season – takes them to with a win of clinching the title.
For them to have had the title sealed today they’d have needed Greencastle to upset the odds at Buncrana Hearts. Stephen Parkhouse’s team, though, came from behind to win 3-2 and, at least, prolongs the race.
Glengad will welcome Buncrana to The Crua for the final League game of the season, but first will take on Aileach FC in their game in hand – that game, when a win would keep the title in Glengad, however, won’t be on until Wednesday, May 3 due to Glengad’s Cup commitments in the next two weekends.
There was a sense of anticipation around the wilds of Malin Head as Glengad sensed a big day – and it took a clever finish from their ace marksman to secure the three points.
The lead – and what would prove the only – goal arrived after a period of sustained Glengad pressure in the 29th minute.
Paddy McDermott swept the ball wide to the rampaging James McKinney. From a position on the right-hand edge of the penalty box, McKinney prodded into the danger zone where the lurking Doherty was waiting to pounce.
Where many might’ve taken a controlling touch, Doherty had already his crosshairs aligned and he tucked a wonderful finish across Clonmany ‘keeper Paddy Harkin into the bottom corner.
From then to the finish, bar a couple of nervy moments, Glengad were in command.
Since the start of the season, Glengad have leaked just five League goals and a side with their refinement, experience and grit didn’t look likely to drop points here.
There was, however, a heart-in-the-mouth moment when Clonmany – who Glengad beat to the title last season – were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the ‘D’ with a minute to go.
Adam Byrne superbly won possession, thwarting the advances of Clonmany substitute Aaron Harkin. Referee Warren Harvey bizarrely gave a foul against the Glengad midfielder.
Paul McLaughlin’s free-kick, just for a split second, seemed destined for the bottom corner but, having seen it very late, Glengad goalkeeper Kevin McLaughlin brilliantly got down to his right to turn around the post.
Those late moments needn’t have been so anxious. Glengad missed a plethora of chances and the game was still alive right to the final shrill of Harvey’s whistle, after over five minutes of added time.
Glengad were held to a scoreless draw at Carndonagh on Good Friday and were without the suspended Michael Byrne following his late sending off in that one.
With Shane Canning out injured, it meant the hosts were a little light, but they started well and Nigel McMonagle drew a decent save from Harkin with the game’s first chance in the 11th minute.
A fine break from Stephen Fildara opened the possibilities again and he was there for a return pass from Terence Doherty, only for Harkin to get out sharp and collect.
Doherty himself fired over before blasting wide after taking a magnificent ball in by Paddy McDermott.
A dipping half-volley from Philip Devlin was a reminder that Clonmany, were always a danger.
Doherty broke the deadlock , but Glengad just couldn’t put the issue to bed.
McMonagle fired over and Doherty was denied by Harkin before Seamus Doherty whizzed a 20-yard attempt just the wrong side of the target.
In between all of that, Kevin McLaughlin was tested by a low, teasing free by Paul McLaughlin and, in stoppage time at the end of the opening half, Dessie Doherty shot wide.
With Glengad losing some of their edge early in the second half, Clonmany began to be emboldened enough to have a real go and Brendan Doherty lost his balance at the vital second as he turned in the penalty area.
Glengad probed and probed, but Jason Doherty stabbed one shot at Harkin and Jake Harkin stepped in to intercept at the near post when McMonagle seemed likely to have a tap in.
Glengad shook their heads clear and Terence Doherty, always an outlet for the black and amber men, managed to get free, only to be denied again by Harkin.
When Doherty skipped past Devlin two minutes later, he looked on his way in for a second, but rolled his shot inches wide.
Glengad were counting down the seconds when – with word in that Bucnrana were ahead – Kevin McLaughlin flung himself down to beat away that free by McLaughlin.
It was a moment that, in a couple of weeks, might well be crucial in keeping that prized piece of glassware at The Crua.
Glengad United: Kevin McLaughlin; Stephen Fildara, John Gerard McLaughlin, Matthew Byrne, Jason Doherty; James McKinney, Adam Byrne, Seamus Doherty (John McDaid 69); Paddy McDermott, Nigel McMonagle (Cathal McDaid 66); Terence Doherty.
Clonmany Shamrocks: Paddy Harkin; Jake Harkin, Paul McLaughlin, Philip Devlin, Gary Doherty; Paddy Doherty, Steve Harkin, Mark McLaughlin, Brendan Doherty; Jack Doherty, Dessie Doherty.
Referee: Warren Harvey.Tags: