ST EUNAN’S MADE IT a double with their victory in the Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure Senior B Championship final this afternoon.
Naomh Conaill 0-10 St Eunan’s 3-13
The team from O’Donnell Park ran in three goals in the final 13 minutes with Mick Martin, Niall Hannigan and Eoin McGeehin all netting against last year’s winners.
St. Eunan’s celebrate winning today’s Senior B Championship final in Ballybofey against Naomh Conaill. Photo Evan Logan
It means St Eunan’s win the reserve bracket at championship level for the sixth time, with Hannigan their star show with a personal haul of 1-6 going a long way.
David O’Herlihy’s St Eunan’s had waltzed to the All-County Football League Division 1 Reserve title with 18 wins from 18 and their only reversal all year came in the group stage of the championship – against Naomh Conaill on a 1-12 to 0-11 scoreline last month.
In an open and entertaining contest today, both teams showed their abilities in front of the posts in the Ballybofey sunshine, after a quarter of an hour it was 0-3 apiece.
Charlie McGuinness had opened the scoring with a fine free from underneath the stand for Naomh Conaill before adding another. Then, St Eunan’s kicked three on the bounce with Eoin McGeehin scoring their first of the afternoon prior to two Hannigan efforts. Jamie McHugh of Naomh Conaill levelled it with a crisply struck score.
Two points then around the 20th minute, though, gave the Letterkenny side the impetus with Hannigan bagging his third of the afternoon before Oisin Carr joined the attack from centre-back to slot over.
Hughie Gallagher pulled one back for the team from Glenties on 27 minutes and when McGuinness managed to register his third and then fourth of the half, Naomh Conaill were 0-6 to 0-5 ahead.
At the break it was all square, however, with Hannigan scoring a close range free right on the whistle.
St Eunan’s scored the first point of the second half, with Carr again on the scoreboard. Hannigan, revelling at this stage, found himself in space down the right and split the posts. Cillian Morrison then got in on the scoring act so after 41 minutes, St Eunan’s were 0-9 to 0-6 ahead.
McGeehin swung over his second of the day but at the other end moments later, St Eunan’s were fortunate not to concede a goal. Leon Thompson got himself into space but having come in from the left, placed his shot wide of the Eoin O’Boyle’s goal on 46 minutes.
That, though, was a prelude to the opening goal, which was excellently constructed and finished. Hannigan, on 47 minutes, scythed a ball into the Naomh Conaill square which was battened down by Martin to Sean Ryan. The wing-back played back the ball to Martin instantly to slap home from close range and to establish a 1-10 to 0-6 lead for St Eunan’s.
It was Martin who captained St Eunan’s to the senior title six years ago when they beat Naomh Conaill thanks to Mark McGowan’s late 45.
Three Naomh Conaill scores in succession made a game of it. Johnny Bonner, McGuinness again and then Thompson brought Naomh Conaill back into contention at just four points down.
Last year, Naomh Conaill came from seven points down to pip St Eunan’s 1-13 to 2-8 and today, the support clad in blue and white would’ve been looking for something similar. However, it wasn’t to be.
Hannigan finished it off with two minutes to go with a goal his overall performance deserved. Hannigan played a give and go with John Haran, a second half substitute, to stub home at the base of the Naomh Conaill post amid claims for a square ball.
Referee Marc Brown did check with his umpires before awarding the goal.
There was little of no dispute about the third goal. McGeehin made space for himself and smashed the ball past James Boyle in the Naomh Conaill goal to put their cheery on top of not only a fine day, but an excellent season.
Naomh Conaill:Noel Gavaghan; Odhran McDevitt, Jonny Bonner (0-1), Stephen Molloy; Odhran Doherty, Cathal Ellis, Hughie Gallagher (0-1); Tony Byrne, Jamie Cranley; Jamie McHugh (0-1), Charlie McGuiness (0-6, 4f), Danny Gallagher; Leon Thompson (0-1), Paul McGuinness, Cian Doherty. Subs: Martin Gallagher and Dermot Ward for C Doherty and O McDevitt (48), Shane McDevitt for McHugh (49), Stephen Moore for Cranley (58)
St Eunan’s:Eoin O’Boyle; Conor Moore, Darragh Toal, Sean Halvey; Sean Ryan, Oisin Carr (0-2), James Kelly; Jordan O’Dowd (0-1, 1f), Sean McGettigan; Cormac Finn, Cillian Morrison (0-1), Brian MacIntyre; Niall Hannigan (1-6, 3f), Mick Martin (1-0), Eoin McGeehin (1-2). Subs: Anthony Gallagher and John Haran for McIntyre and Kelly (53), Jamie Doherty (0-1) for Martin (55), Kieran Sharkey for Carr (60).
Referee:Marc Brown (Four Masters).Tags: