Gaoth Dobhair held off a late St. Eunan’s surge to claim the Donegal U-16 Championship by the tightest of margins.
Gaoth Dobhair 0-12 St. Eunan’s 2-5
By Chris Cannon at The Banks
With a strong wind at their backs, the Gaoth Dobhair men went in at half-time with a nine point lead. Keeping St. Eunan’s scoreless in the process with some fine defending.
Stephen McFadden and Conal Gillespie caused the St. Eunan’s rear-guard all sorts of trouble with constant movement in the forward line. Gaoth Dobhair used the wind to their advantage throughout the first half, with McFadden in particular playing some lovely passes into the full-forward line.
Gaoth Dobhair goalkeeper Daithí Roberts was still kept busy in the first-half despite the Eunan’s men not registering a score. The wind caused St. Eunan’s many problems with their shooting, but Robert’s had to be alert as a lot of efforts dropped short.
St. Eunan’s showed real desire in a tense second half, but fell just short of grabbing an equaliser. The Letterkenny men will be disappointed not to have forced the game to extra-time as they had some good second half chances.
Gaoth Dobhair started the game the brighter of the two, moving the ball fast and creating scoring chances for the forward line. Conal Gillespie was ruthless in front of the posts, with Gaoth Dobhair looking like they could score on every attack.
St. Eunan’s were keeping the ball well, but the Gaoth Dobhair defenders were forcing them to shoot from difficult angles. With the breeze against them, Eunan’s never managed to force a shooting chance close enough to goal.
Gaoth Dobhair kept forcing their opposition into mistakes and broke in numbers. Liam McFadden and Owen Burke drove the side forward, with centre-forward Stephen McFadden providing ammunition for the inside-line.
St. Eunan’s registered their first point of the game three minutes into the second-half. But Gaoth Dobhair replied immediately getting two points of their own. The game came to life ten minutes later, St. Eunan’s full-forward Dylan Doogan managed to fist the ball into the net from a long-ball delivered by Oran Winston.
The teams traded points after the goal, giving spectators the battle that they were hoping to see. St. Eunan’s continued to battle and were rewarded for their efforts, substitute Noel O’Donnell won his side a penalty which Padraig McGettigan tucked away.
Shane O’Donnell and Dylan Doogan added two more points for St. Eunan’s, but there wasn’t enough time for them to get an equaliser. Gaoth Dobhair fought hard and resiliently to hold off their rivals and claim the County-title.
Gaoth Dobhair: Daithí Roberts; Michael Doherty, Rowan Turk, Aidan Walsh; Owen Burke (0-1), Rory Gallagher, Donal McBride (0-1); Dillon O’Dwyer (0-1), Fiachra Coyle; Kian McEntee, Stephen McFadden (0-3,2f), Lochlainn O’Dea (0-1); Cathal Gillespie (0-5,3f), Kyle Duggan, Liam McFadden. Subs: Cian McBride for K McEntee 62; Aidan Griffin for K Duggan 33.
St Eunan’s: Oisin Randle; Ciaran Tobin (0-1), Ronan McGinty, Dylan O’Brien; Jonathon Cody, Donal Higgins, Tony Gallagher; Shane O’Donnell (0-1), Padraig McGettigan (1-1, pen,f); Ciaran Moore, Eoin Dowling, Keelan Collier; Oran Winston, Dylan Doogan (1-2), Jordan Nugent. Subs: Peadar Devenney for J Nugent ht; Noel O’Donnell for C Collier 47.Tags: