Gaeil Fhánada captured the Donegal Junior Gaeltacht title after a derby win at their close rivals Downings.
Downings 0-7 Gaeil Fhánada 0-13
As the summer’s rays danced on Downings on a glorious Bank Holiday, it was Gaeil Fhánada who came and spoiled their hosts’ party.
Eoghan Carr’s seven points helped Gaeil Fhánada to the silverware and, ultimately, the Fanad men had a little more about them on the day with Downings unable to hit the high notes.
Carr scored seven, with five of those coming in the second half, when Gaeil Fhánada took charge.
Gaeil Fhánada – who were the All-Ireland Gaeltacht champions in 2013 – made the short trip across the Harry Blaney Bridge after having scored a big 2-18 to 1-6 win over Ardara yesterday evening.
Aidan McAteer’s men had it easy enough in their semi-final, bur they certainly didn’t have it all their own way in a final that took quite some time to catch fire.
Gaeil Fhánada had warmed to the task and led 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time, but two frees in the last few moments of that opening period had Downings within striking distance of their neighbours.
McClafferty kicked all four of the Downings points in the first half to keep his men’s hopes alive.
Downings lined out without Gary ‘Ban’ McClafferty, who scored five points in their 2-11 to 0-6 win over Kilcar, while Lorcan Connor was passed fit despite carrying a groin injury. Connor’s afternoon was over in the 37th minute as he was replaced by Finghin McClafferty.
Downings looked out of the reckoning for long periods of the contest but those two frees by McClafferty ensured they were the happier outfit in the interval’s huddles.
Bernard McGettigan opened the scoring for Gaeil Fhánada and two frees by Eoghan Carr had the Portsalon resident’s three to the good.
Two McClafferty frees got Downings off the mark, but Kealan McGroddy skewed a free off target from what seemed a routine position.
Gaeil Fhánada weren’t at their best, but they got a rousing lift when midfielder Oisin Shiels scored a wonderful points from wide on the right in the 23rd minute.
Two in a minute by Conor McGonagle and Fergus Friel had Gaeil Fhánada four in front, only for Downings to significantly narrow the margins before the switchover.
It took Gaeil Fhánada only 20 seconds of the second half to score with Alan McAteer clipping over a quick fire point.
Aaron McClafferty’s frees kept Downings ticking, but Eoghan Carr was beginning to do damage and his superbly-taken point, after great approach work by Fergus Friel, put Gaeil Fhánada five up.
Before that, a McClafferty free was answered immediately by the lively Bernard McGettigan.
Downings were reduced to 14 men ten minutes from the end when midfielder James Lee McBride was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Gaeil Fhánada lost the services of McAteer due to a knee injury in the final quarter.
Carr extended the lead with two points to his tally late on as Gaeil Fhánada took the prize.
Downings: John McGroddy; Max Davis, Conor Sheils, Kevin Doherty; Shane McTeague, Bryan McGinley, Eamonn Kelly; Shaun McBride, James Lee McBride; Keelan McGroddy, Lorcan Connor, Shane Boyce; Allen Pasoma, Aaron McClafferty (0-6, 5f), Oisin Boyce. Subs: Hugo Davis for M.Davis (15), Gary McClafferty (0-1f) for S.McBride (33), Finghin McClafferty for Connor (37), Ben McBride for S.Boyce (41), Eric Roberts for B.McBride (43), Oisin McBride for McGinley (55).
Gaeil Fhánada: Brendan Friel; Fergus Friel (0-1), James Gallagher, Frank Sweeney; Matthew Gallagher, Jimmy Coyle, Conor McGonigle (0-1); Michael Sweeney, Oisin Shiels (0-1); Bernard McGettigan (0-2), Mark Friel, Johnny Friel; Alan McAteer (0-1), Eoghan Carr (0-7, 4f), Paddy Heraghty. Subs: Seamus Friel for McAteer (50), Mark McAteer for McGonigle (55), Ephrim McFadden for J.Friel (55), Ronan McAter for M.Friel (59).
Referee: Robbie O’Donnell (Naomh Muire).