Milford United went joint top of the Premier Division, while Bonagee United and Letterbarrow maintained the lead of Divisions 1 and 2. Here’s a full round-up of today’s Donegal League action.
Brian McCormick Sports Premier Division
Rathmullan Celtic 2 Donegal Town 0
Rathmullan Celtic recorded a much-needed win against in-form Donegal Town at the Flagpole with a fine Ibrahim Savage header on the hour mark complimented with a Jaydee Alawiye finish in the final quarter giving the Hoops a valuable three points in their bid to maintain top flight football next season.
Donegal Town, missing influential midfielder Barry Mulligan, came to the Seaside on the back of a 5-2 won over Kildrum Tigers against a Hoops side who had failed to register a goal in their last five outings.
It was Michael Deeney´s Seasiders who started the game brighter and had a penalty claim denied within the first five minutes.
Hoops new signing Savage did a mesmerizing run on the left wing before cutting inside the Donegal defence but was upended inside the area.
Referee Paddy Martin waved away the strong penalty claims from the home side in what was the stand out moment of the opening half with both sides cancelling each other out in midfield.
The second period saw the Seasiders rejuvenated with the duo up front, Savage and Alawiye, working relentlessly to compliment the midfield industry of Eoin Sheridan and Daire Crossan.
The Hoops took the lead on the hour mark when Alawiye chipped in a perfect cross on the left winger to his strike partner Savage who glanced his header into the bottom corner past keeper John Doherty.
Playing with full confidence the Hoops extended their advantage on 70 minutes when an in-swinging Daniel Stolarzyk corner caused the Donegal Town defence Problems with Alawiye reacting quickest inside the box to tuck the ball home and give the Seasiders a cushion.
Donegal Town were reduced to 10 men on 75 minutes when their keeper Doherty was unlucky to see red when he upended Alawiye on the left wing after the striker won the race to the ball with the keeper following through with momentum taking Alawiye down.
From the resulting free kick, Savage saw his effort just go the wrong side of the crossbar. The Hoops gave Donegal very little chances up front with Shaun Patton marshalling the defence impeccably alongside Alan Boal and Reggie Miller.
With time running out Sheridan rolled a pass out to midfield partner Stolarzyk who hit a venomous strike from 20 yards out which just went wide of the right post.
Cappry Rovers 1 Milford United 2
Milford United got the points after scoring a late goal at a blustery Cappry Park to keep them in the race for the League.
The visitors started the stronger and put the Cappry defence under pressure in search of the opening goal.
Cappry came more into the game and Aaron Kelly was causing problems. In the 20th minute Aaron Kelly won the ball beat the defence and was challenged outside the box by the Milford keeper.
Kelly took the free to score to the bottom corner of the net. Milford went in search of the equaliser but a few saves from the Cappry keeper kept them from scoring.
Milford started the second half where they left off in the first half. They got back on level terms in the 50th minute when they were awarded a penalty and Kyle Black scored from the spot.
Cappry created a few half chances but couldn’t score. Milford got the winner in the 85th minute when Dara Black scored to the bottom corner of the net following a corner.
St. Catherines 1 Keadue Rovers 1
On a cold January day in Emerald Park both teams put on a very entertaining end to end game of football.
Andrew Mc Hugh should have given the visitors the lead on 18 minutes when he found himself free at the back post, but he shot narrowly wide.
Keadue however looked the more likely to score and got their just rewards on 42 minutes. A superb 25-yard free kick from Adam Neely left the Saints’ keeper rooted to the spot as the ball flew into the roof of net.
A push on Stephen Muirhead in the Keadue box saw referee Paddy Duffy, in the last minute of the half, award St Catherines a penalty. A superb save from Danny Rodgers and it remained 0-1 at the break.
A young St Catherine’s side was weakened even further when Odhran McGuinness came off injured on 50 minutes.
Unbelievably his replacement, Pauric Love, made it 1-1 on 75minutes. The Keadue keeper failed to deal with a free from outside the box, letting the ball drop to the feet of the Saints striker, who made no mistake with a simple finish.
The last 15 minutes were end-to-end stuff with both teams seeking a winner that never materialised.
Paddy Duffy blew for full time on 93 minutes giving the sides a share of the spoils.
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Convoy Arsenal 2 Drumoghill 1
There were few chances in the first half of this match, Convoy dominated possession with Drumoghill defending well, some long-range shots from both sides but neither keeper called on leaving the score 0-0 at half time.
Convoy started well in the second half and the pressure paid off with John Moore crossing the ball to Anthony Bogle who headed home to give Convoy the lead.
Convoy continued to press and Bogle was involved again crossing the ball to Joe McGill who also headed home to give Convoy a two-goal lead.
Drumoghill came more into the game and in the final ten minutes had a header glance off the post followed up with Richie Moore scoring but the home side held on for the win.
Lifford Celtic 1 Bonagee United 2
This game was reversed to Bonagee. Lee McMonagle was put through by a great ball from Eamon Cannon in midfield but his strike from 15 yards was saved by the Lifford keeper.
Drew Connelly saw his strike for the home team saved by McBrearty in the visiting goal on 12 minutes. McMonagle got the first Bonagee goal of the game on 17 minutes when he shot home from the edge of the box after he was put through by Noel O’Donnell.
The home side were two up on 28 minutes when great play down the left by Drew Connelly, who beat three defenders, crossed the ball to the back of the box and the incoming Chris Toner headed home from 18 yards.
Carr in the home goal had to pull off a good save on 28 minutes from Brian Breslin from 15 yards.
McBrearty in the Lifford goal made several great saves from Mc Monagle and Connelly on 30 and 33 minutes.
Noel O’Donnell should have made it three-nil on 35 when he headed a Cannon corner wide from five yards.
Lifford came close to scoring on 42 minutes when a great strike by Breslin was touched onto the bar by Carr in goal and he made another great save from six yards from Gavin Boyle on the stroke of half time.
Lifford kept the pressure on at the start of the second half and a strike from Paul Lynch on 49 was pushed on to the post and Carr and he made a great save from the rebound from Niall Coyle from three yards.
Lee McMonagle broke clear for Bonagee on 53 minutes and slid the ball past the advancing keeper on the edge of the box but the ball went wide of the post.
Two minutes later the visitors got one back when the ball was not cleared from the Bonagee box and Brian Breslin shot home from 12 yards.
Aiden McLaughlin was unlucky to see his strike from ten yards deflected wide on 80 minutes.
Breslin again for Lifford headed wide on 83 minutes from ten yard from a Robb cross. Kevin Lynch had two strikes on goal for the visitors on 85 and eight but Carr in the home goal made two good saves.
Lagan Harps 1 Ballybofey United 2
Ballybofey picked up three points after a keenly contested game.
Lagan went close early on when Josh Hay had a good effort. Ballybofey responded and Damien Glackin turned well but his shot struck the post.
Michael Lafferty then burst through the Lagan defence but shot over.
Ballybofey started the second half well but the Lagan defence was well marshalled by Ronan Gibson and Paul Rodgers.
Ballybofey opened the scoring from a free-kick on 70 minutes. Jude Patton got free at the back post to head in.
They increased the lead on 77 minutes when Damien Glackin created space in the box and finished well. Lagan refused to lie down and pulled a goal back when Josh Hay crossed for fellow youth team player Dean Murray to head home.
Lagan pressed hard for an equaliser and went close when Ciaran Quinn was just wide from a free.
Lagan then went close from a long throw in but Ballybofey scrambled clear.
Cranford United 2 Drumkeen United 1
Cranford got a vital win at home against Drumkeen. The game was played in a high tempo with both sides having chances early.
Chris Carr had a couple of frees just over the bar for Cranford and Drumkeen had a few half chances.
James Lee McBride put Cranford ahead after 25 minutes when he closed down the Drumkeen defender and got his reward as he slotted it into the bottom corner with his left foot.
Drumkeen almost replied straight away after a mix up in the box Chris Duffy cleared off the line and the Drumkeen winger’s second effort rattled the post.
Drumkeen were reduced to 10 men soon after for a poor challenge but Cranford’s one-man advantage didn’t last long as Seamus Carr was sent off for Cranford five minutes later.
Cranford went two up after 60 minutes when Danny McBride slotted home making an instant impact when coming off the bench.
Lee Guthrie got one back for Drumkeen with 15 minutes to go but Cranford saw the game out.
Donegal Physiotherapy & Performance Centre Division Two
Kerrykeel ’71 3 Gweedore United 0
(No Report Submitted)
Letterbarrow Celtic 1 Deele Harps 0
A finely balanced game in windy conditions in Tymeen started with both teams pressing hard for a goal.
Letterbarrow were rewarded when they changed formation with Daniel Meehan scoring a rocket of a strike. Letterbarrow held on and performed strongly throughout the second half to secure all three points
Raphoe Town 2 Whitestrand United 1
A cracking late goal from Christy Bogle secured all three points for Raphoe Town in a hard-fought game at Deele College which the visitors will feel they should have taken something from.
The home side took an early lead, DJ Kelly maintaining his excellent goalscoring form when he turned home after Whitestrand failed to clear a free-kick from Paddy Gallagher.
It was pretty even after that in the first half, but it took Raphoe a long time to get going in the second half and they found themselves pegged back just five minutes after the re-start. A long ball forward was volleyed towards the Raphoe goal forcing Roy Duffy into a spectacular save but as it came back into play, referee Martin Hunter spotted a foul. Kevin Loughrey stepped up to convert the penalty, slotting down the middle of the goal.
Whitestrand had the momentum then without really creating too many chances, Stephen Craig marshalling the Raphoe defence well and making some excellent tackles.
As the game wore on Raphoe began to press for a winner. Strong running from Dylan Brolly and DJ Kelly was causing problems for the visitors and it took a fine save from Paddy Kelly to deny Paddy Gallagher, the Whitestrand keeper diving smartly to his left to stop Gallagher’s low drive.
It looked as if both sides would have to be content with a draw until deep into injury time when Raphoe forced a series of corners and when Paddy Gallagher’s cross was cleared as far as Christy Bogle he let fly with a cracking effort into the top corner to prompt huge celebrations from the Raphoe bench.
A hard-fought game with both teams battling to the end but while the visitors will be bitterly disappointed not to have taken at least a point, the Raphoe lads will be delighted to keep their promotion hunt on track.