Downings will line out in tomorrow’s junior final at the county Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta finals in Gaoth Dobhair as Danny McBride’s goal propelled them to victory over Naomh Conaill.
Downings 1-10 Naomh Conaill 1-6
By Chris McNulty at Magheragallon
McBride’s goal, in the 14th minute, helped fire the reigning All-Ireland Junior Gaeltacht champions into the decider at Magheragallon.
Sub Eoin Boyle took a pass from former Donegal player Leon Thompson in the 46th minute to reduce the margin to six points. Boyle tucked home from close range after Thompson and Leo Dunphy created the opening.
Downings roared clear when McBride found the top corner of Jordan O’Donnell’s net. McBride’s finish, off his left foot, gave the Naomh Conaill ‘keeper little chance of making a save.
Early points by Kevin Doherty and James Lee McBride had put Downings off the mark and it took a fine save by O’Donnell to prevent Doherty from batting home a goal.
A Gary McClafferty free extended the Downings lead out to six points midway through the half.
Downings lost out to Gaeil Fhánada in last year’s county final, but they went into dreamland a month later when, on home soil, Allen Pasoma struck a late goal as they turned the tables on Fanad in the All-Ireland final.
Naomh Conaill had three goal chances in a manic 90-second spell for the Glenties men, but Downings managed to survive the onslaught and it was the 30th minute before Joe Kennedy broke Naomh Conaill’s duck.
Midfielder Jamie Cranley shot off the inside of a post before Manus McDyre was denied by a block and Shay McDevitt clipped wide.
By the interval, Downings were 1-8 to 0-1 to the good and in added Johnny McGroddy, the Downings goalkeeper, saved well from Odhrán Doherty.
O’Donnell denied Oisin Boyce after Boyle reduced the arrears at the other end, but McClafferty restored the six-point lead from the rebound.
Naomh Conaill did mount a commendable comeback, but Downings – despite scoring only two points in the second half – had the spadework done.
Downings: Johnny McGroddy; Max Davis, Ben McNutt, Shane McTeage; Pauric McGinty, Danny McBride (1-1), James McBride; James Lee McBride (0-1), Shane Boyce (0-1); Keelan McGroddy, Gary McClafferty (0-4, 3f), Kevin Doherty (0-2); Eric Roberts, Oisin Boyce (0-1), Allen Pasoma. Subs: Lorcan Connor for Doherty (41), Anthony Boyce for J.McBride (51), Chris Carr for J.L McBride (53), Conor Boyce for Roberts (57).
Naomh Conaill: Jordan O’Donnell; Cian Doherty (0-1), Sean Roarty, Kevin Gavigan; Dermot Ward, Seamus Ellis, Odhrán Doherty (0-2); Jamie Cranley, Tony Byrne; Manus McDyre, Jamie McHugh, Shay McDevitt; Joe Kennedy (0-1), Leo Dunphy (0-2, 1f), Leon Thompson. Subs: Eoin Boyle (1-0) for Gavigan (half-time), Jack Flannery for McDyre (57).
Referee: Kevin McGinley (Naomh Columba).Tags: