Only once was there more than two points between the teams in this cracking Relegation semi- final play-off clash at The Bridge in Dunfanaghy.
Sean MacCumhaills 1-14 Naomh Muire 1-13
By Charlie Collins
That was in the 12th minute when Sean Yank Boyle lobbed MacCumhaills keeper Eoin Gallen for a super goal after he and Stephen Mulligan had exchanged early points. In between those points Naomh Muire keeper Thomas Duffy made a super save to deny Benny McLaughlin after Marty Reilly had set him up.
We did get a goal at the other end when Steven O’Reilly was fouled and his brother Martin slotted home the resulting penalty, but four minutes later Naomh Muire’s Darragh White pointed from distance to tie it up at 1-02 apiece.
It was nip and tuck from that until half-time with eight points shared equally, Benny McLaughlin and Boyle exchanged scored, before ‘keeper Duffy denied Martin O’Reilly a goal with another brilliant save in the 24th minute.
Jack Boyle, Sean Yank Boyle and Harry Harden kicked excellent scores for Naomh Muire but Mulligan, McLaughlin and Aaron Kelly replied for MacCumhaills to leave them level 1-06 apiece at the break.
The second-half followed a similar pattern, score for score was the order of the day. Steven Reilly opened the scoring but Adi O’Gara replied with two excellent points. Martin O’Reilly and Sean Yank Boyle both scored but Gary Wilson scored a beauty to level it yet again.
O’Gara and Wilson points left it 1-10 apiece with twelve minutes left and all to play for.
Sean Yank Boyle restored Naomh Mhuire’s lead but MacCumhaills picked a great time to kick three points in a row for the first time in the game. Martin O’Reilly started it and then Gavin Gallagher kicked two super points from play to leave two in it.
Adi O Gara got his fourth of the half to narrow it to just one again but Gallagher kicked another cracker to increase that to two yet again.
Sean Yank Boyle brought his personal tally to 1-06 with a free but try as they might Naomh Muire could not get an equaliser and MacCumhaills held on to secure Senior Championship football for 2018. Naomh Mhuire will have one more chance to do so when they meet the losers of the Ardara v Four Masters tie in a couple of weeks.
Naomh Muire: Thomas Duffy, Cian Boyle, Brian Gillespie, Danny Gallagher , Paddy Mc Cafferty, Adi O’Gara (0-4), Jack Boyle (0-1), Darragh White ( 0-1f ), Adam O’Brien , Harry Harden (0-1), Hugh Martin, Tommy McHugh , Daniel Devlin, Sean Yank Boyle (1-6, 3f), Sean Burns. Subs: Ultan Boyle for Devlin (45), Darren Gallagher for Mc Hugh (52).
Sean MacCumhaills: Eoin Gallen; Mark Connolly, Ronan McMenamin, Adam Lynch, Benny Mc Laughlin ( 0-2), Shane Duffy, John Lynch , Darren McGowan, Martin O’Reilly (1-2), Aaron Kelly (0-1), Steven Reilly (0-1), Gary Wilson (0-2), Gavin Gallagher (0-3), Nathan Gavigan, Stephen Mulligan (0-3, 1f). Subs: Chris Gallagher for McMenamin (24), Rory Dunleavy and Gary Dunnion for Duffy and Gavin (39), Pauric Patton for Mulligan (47), Joe Dunnion for McGowan (52).
Referee: Jimmy White ( Killybegs).