Odhrán Mac Niallais showed his undoubted quality again orchestrating everything and hitting six points to deny a brave Bundoran in an enjoyable encounter in Gaelic Park.
Bundoran 3-10 Gaoth Dobhair 2-15
By Noel Carr at Gaelic Park
Both sides were short plenty of regulars but this didn’t take away from the match in any way.
Gaoth Dobhair hit the first score after six minutes from Mac Niallais after a cagey opening. Michael McEniff soon equalised and Daragh Hoey had Bundoran ahead.
Cian Mulligan effort split the posts to level matters again.
A brilliant solo effort from Oisin Walsh saw him crashing an unstoppable effort past Gavin Sweeney.
Two further points from Shane McGowan and Walsh left five between the sides on 24 minutes.
Gaoth Dobhair finished the half strongly with points from Ethan Harkin and Niall Friel with a Cian McEniff free in reply.
Bundoran led 1-5 to 0-5 at half-time.
Mervyn O’Donnell’s team talk had the desired effect and within seven minutes of the restart the visitors went from three down to three up with Mulligan and Mac Niallais hitting points and Conor McCafferty finishing a typical Gaoth Dobhair team goal with multiple passes to the Bundoran net.
James Boyle hit a super point from defence and a further Mac Niallais free left five between the sides on 40 minutes.
At this stage one expected the Ulster Champions to coast to victory but a brilliant turnover by Paul Murphy saw him hit an excellent fist pass to Matthew Duffy who blasted past Sweeney to breath new belief into the home side.
Another Hoey point left the bare minimum between the sides.
Kevin Cassidy eventually found his range and Mac Niallais added another to settle the nerves of the men in green.
A Johnny Boyle effort was soon cancelled out by Harkin and Cassidy again to leave four between the teams with eight minutes left on the clock.
Cian McEniff split the posts but once again Mac Niallais replied from a placed ball.
Two further long-range efforts from Michael McEniff left two between the sides.
In a frantic finish both sides found the net. First, Dan McBride finished a trademark move to palm to the net and then almost immediately a foul on Hoey saw Christopher Keaney dispatch the resultant penalty.
As the natives believed that a shock was still on the cards their hopes were soon extinguished as referee Shane Toolan blew the final whistle having played 90 seconds of added on time.
Considering that there was several subs and a stoppage for a head injury to Paul Murphy one could understand the home sides frustration.
Bundoran: Conor Carty; Matthew Duffy (1-0), Diarmuid McCaughey, Adam Gallagher; Oisin Walsh (1-1), Paul Murphy, Johnny Boyle (0-1); Michael McEniff (0-3), Niall Carr; Timmy Goverov, Daragh Hoey (0-2), Shane McGowan (0-1); James Stewart, Cian McEniff (0-2, 1f), Brian McHenry. Subs: Christy Keaney (1-0pen) for Stewart (41), Peter McGonigle for Goverov (56).
Gaoth Dobhair: Gavin Sweeney; James Boyle (0-1), Gary McFadden, Christopher McFadden; Niall Friel (0-1), Dan McBride (1-0), Conor McCafferty (1-0); Ronan Mac Niallais, Michael Carroll; Ethan Harkin (1-3), Odhrán Mac Niallais (0-6, 4f), James Carroll; Cian Mulligan (0-2), Kevin Cassidy (0-2), Conor Boyle. Subs: Naoise Ó Baoill for Carroll (11), Seaghan Ferry for McCafferty (53).
Referee: Shane Toolan (Aodh Ruadh)Tags: