KEVIN KEALY’S goal, 11 minutes from the end, saw St Eunan’s turn the tables on Sean MacCumhaills to reach the Donegal SHC final.
St Eunan’s 1-11 Sean MacCumhaills 1-8
By Charlie Collins at Sean MacCumhaill Park
St Eunan’s had been behind all evening until that moment when Kealy struck goal.
Beaten finalists in 2002 and 2017, St Eunan’s – who were SHC winners back in 1972 – returned to the decider after outscoring MacCumhaills 1-6 to 0-5 in the second half.
MacCumhaills led by the minimum at half-time, but Sean McVeigh – who had a penalty saved by Dylan Lafferty late in the first half – struck twice and Kealy another as Eunan’s inched back.
The decisive score came when sub James Hartnett forced an error from the MacCumhaills rearguard. The ball was worked across to Kealy, who made no mistake with a cracking finish.
Hartnett added a point and, suddenly, St Eunan’s led by four.
MacCumhaills sent on young Donegal football ace Oisin Gallen at half-time, but it wasn’t enough to inspire a win for the Finnsiders.
Ciaran Matthewson (2) and Fintan Griffin gave MacCumhaills the early advantage and it was the 15th minute before Conor O’Grady broke St Eunan’s early duck.
O’Grady hit four of St Eunan’s five first-half points, with Ryan Hilferty on the mark with the other.
Seven minutes before half-time, MacCumhaills broke clear and veteran attacker Paddy Hannigan rose high to fetch a drive into the danger area. Hannigan turned and slammed to the net from an acute angle.
In added time at the end of the first half, the experienced Eugene Organ was fouled and St Eunan’s awarded a penalty. However, McVeigh’s effort was brilliantly saved by MacCumhaills ‘keeper Laverty.
That save preserved the MacCumhaills advantage with the Twin Towns men 1-3 to 0-5 ahead.
Soon, though, the pendulum would change and it’s St Eunan’s who move in to meet Setanta in the final.
St Eunan’s: Cian Hennessy; Brian McIntyre, Jack Matthews, Conor Parke; Ryan Hilferty (0-1), Steven Doherty, Conor O’Grady (0-4, 2f); Colm Flood, Cormac Finn; Sean Halvey, Seán McVeigh (0-3, 2f), Conor O’Donnell; Thomas Hartnett, Eugene Organ, Kevin Kealy (1-2). Subs: James Hartnett (0-1) for T.Hartnett (42), Conor Kelly for Halvey (46).
Sean MacCumhaills: Dylan Laverty; John A Chambers, Justin McGhee, Aaron McAuley; Bernard McMenamin, Lee Henderson, Chad McSorley; Ciaran Matthewson (0-6, 4f), Conor Griffin; Gavin Browne, Paddy Hannigan (1-1), Conor Gallagher; Robbie Geoghegan, Fintan Griffin (0-1), Sean Curran. Subs: Oisin Gallen for Geoghegan (half-time), Conor Foy for McAuley (48), Barry McGranaghan for Curran (50),Tags: