Letterkennny Gaels powered to victory in a one-sided Junior A Championship opener at Pairc na nGael this evening.
Letterkenny Gaels 5-19 Na Rossa 0-10
Conor McBrearty hit 2-4 and Cormac Cannon 1-6 as the Gaels took charge against out-of-sorts Na Rossa, led by the recently-returned Christian Bonner, now acting as their player-manager.
Bonner, son of the watching Donegal manager Declan, kicked six points, but his was a lonely furrow at times as Gaels inflicted a 24-point defeat on the Dooey men.
Letterkenny Gaels opened up with six points in a row, from Shay Doherty, Bernard O’Brien (2), Shane Graham, McBrearty and Cannon.
Na Rossa responded with Bonner’s brace coming either end of an Aidan McHugh free, but Gaels assumed real command when they bagged the opening goal in the 22nd minute.
Cannon had just clipped narrowly over when Na Rossa were turned over from the kick-out and Cannon fisted to the net from close range.
With a little luck, depleted Na Rossa might have got a goal late in the first half, but Adam McHugh’s lobbed effort was deflected wide.
Although a new pitch is being developed in Lettermacaward, the future remains uncertain for Na Rossa. Emigration has taken a fatal grip on the area and successive underage sides have been torn from the parish.
Such has been the deluge of bodies from Na Rossa’s books, Declan Bonner has turned out several times in goal for Na Rossa this year.
They could have been closer here, but for four first half wides. And their number was up when Anthony Diver scored a fine second goal for the Gaels.
Kevin Kilkenny started the move from deep and the ball was swept across goal for Diver who, timing his run to perfection, steered beautifully to the net and open up a 14-point gap.
A third arrived when McBrearty brilliantly found the top corner in the 47th minute. As if that wasn’t enough, the kick-out went into the path of O’Brien, who fed Browne to net the fourth goal for the hosts.
Charlie Cannon’s team showed no mercy with a fifth goal from McBrearty eight minutes from the end to get their Championship off and running with the perfect start.
Letterkenny Gaels: Shane Graham (0-1f); Sean Crossan, Ray Quinn, Kevin Kilkenny; Anthony Diver (1-0), Darren Hunter, Ciaran Lynch; Ciaran Cannon, Paddy Doherty (0-1); Diarmuid Cahill, Cormac Cannon (1-6), Shay Doherty (0-4); Conor McBrearty (2-4, 3f), Brendan O’Brien (0-2), Conor Browne (1-1). Sub: Odhran McMacken for S.Doherty (53).
Na Rossa: Patrick Joseph Hanlon; Peter Gallagher, Daniel Molly, Jamie McCready; Gerard Breslin, Adam McHugh, Keelin Devenney; Eugene Molloy (0-1), Orann Gallagher (0-1); Caolan Bonner, Christian Bonner (0-6, 3f), Sean McMonagle; Aidan McHugh (0-2, 1f(, John Paul Breslin, Ryan McGonigle. Sub: Cormac McHugh for P.Gallagher (half-time).
Referee: Tony Gallagher (Red Hughs).