Termon were party-poopers in Ballybofey as the Burn Road side turned in their best performance of the season to preserve their Division 2 status.
Sean MacCumhaills 1-14 Termon 1-16
By Chris McNulty at Sean MacCumhaill Park
They put their supporters through the mill, falling 1-1 behind in the opening minutes, but a determined second-half display – including a Caolan McDaid goal – made sure they stay above the Division’s low-water mark.
The win, secured only after they had to endure six minutes of added time at the end of the night, means that Termon managed to stay up, while defeat for Sean MacCumhaills means that Bundoran will go up to Division 1 as the champions of Division 2.
For MacCumhaills, it was bitter agony when Mark Dorrian blew his final whistle.
Chances had been and gone in those late moments. Even with Termon playing keep-ball for long periods, MacCumhaills hauled themselves back from the brink, but with Darren O’Leary – who contributed 1-7 – having been forced off injured, the composure vanished and their wait for a first senior trophy since 2008 continues.
Termon summonsed a performance they’d been waiting for and the big score here was Caolan McDaid’s goal in the 39th minute. McDaid’s clinical finish, after Termon scythed through the home defence, gave Eoin Gallen little chance.
Termon were driven by the ever-green Sean O’Donnell and it was fitting that the final ball of the night was fetched by Nathan McElwaine, another who had a powerful night at the office and who personified Termon’s refusal to go down without a fight.
MacCumhaills were left to wonder how their big moment had managed to slide away.
It had all seemed so perfect for them early on, too.
MacCumahills had the ball in the net after just 19 seconds. Aaron Kelly made the break, coming in from the right flank to lift the ball across goal for O’Leary to bat home.
When Stephen Mulligan tucked over a point, there were only 52 seconds on the watch and MacCumhaills were already four to the good.
It took a fine save from Termon goalkeeper Noel O’Donnell to prevent Kelly from netting a second MacCumhaills goal. Kelly surged clear, but saw a stinging drive beaten away by O’Donnell.
They had the start from a team desperate to collect a first senior trophy in ten years. Their last had been in 2008 when they collected an Intermediate Championship and Division 2 double.
But Termon were fighting for their lives and they quickly needed a dose of smelling salts.
They soon got into a stride, with Daire McDaid and Caolan McDaid to the fore, but with MacCumhaills ticking along – and their array including a rare point off the outside of Marty Gallagher’s boot – the home side remained in front.
Termon got to within a point three times, but each occasion stirred a response from their hosts.
Brian Lafferty, Gary Wilson – with a stylish effort from the ’45 – and O’Leary kept MacCumhaills in command.
Mulligan and Jimmy Gallagher swapped points at the end of the first half, when MacCumhaills led 1-9 to 0-10.
MacCumhaills sent on youngsters Luke Gavigan and Oisin Gallen at the break, but Gavigan’s was a short-lived stay as a deliberate foul earned him a black card just three minutes into the new half.
O’Leary took only 14 seconds to widen the margin, but with Sean Doherty, Daire McDaid and Caolan McGettigan reeling over points, Termon were on level terms – and smelling blood.
When Caolan McDaid riffled past Eoin Gallen, it was the cue for Termon to sit in the driver’s seat.
They were now playing with confidence and moving the ball swiftly. Two Daire McDaid points followed the goal and Termon, all of a sudden, had a four-point lead.
They were the team in the ascendancy and, though they didn’t managed to score over the last 16 minutes (including the six added on), they held on for a priceless win.
Sean MacCumhaills: Eoin Gallen; Christopher Gallagher, Martin Gallagher, Conor Griffin; Ronan McMenamin, Gary Dunnion, John Lynch; Steven O’Reilly (0-1), Padhraic Patton; Gary Wilson (0-1), Martin O’Reilly, Aaron Kelly; Brian Lafferty (0-2), Darren O’Leary (1-7, 4f), Stephen Mulligan (0-2). Subs: Luke Gavigan for C.Gallagher (half-time), Oisin Gallen for Patton (half-time), Adam Lynch for Gavigan (black card, 33), Benny McLaughlin for Mulligan (47), Gavin Gallagher for O’Leary (54).
Termon: Noel O’Donnell; Joe O’Donnell, Kevin McDaid, Paul McDaid; Sean O’Donnell, Nathan McElwaine, Steve McElwaine; Jimmy Gallagher (0-1), Aiden Sweeney; Anthony Grant, Caolan McDaid (1-5, 3f), Ricky Gallagher (0-2); Daire McDaid (0-6, 2f), Martin Sweeney, Sean Doherty (0-2). Subs: Johnny McCafferty for M.Sweeney (44), James McSharry for A.Sweeney (50), James Doherty for S.McElwaine (60).
Referee: Mark Dorrian (Gaeil Fhánada)Tags: