LETTERKENNY GAELS will contest their first ever Junior Championship final next weekend after the Glebe men overcame Na Rossa in the second of today’s semi-finals.
Letterkenny Gaels 1-13 Na Rossa 0-9
By Chris McNulty at O’Donnell Park
Gaels, 23 years after their formation in 1996, will go up against Buncrana in next week’s decider following a seven-point win at O’Donnell Park.
Gaels were firm favourites this afternoon against a courageous Na Rossa, who again had the Donegal senior football manager, Declan Bonner, in goal.
Sean McBrearty’s Gaels just had too much in the tank and led from start to finish to seal a comfortable passage into the decider.
Conor McBrearty netted a goal late in the half on a day when he hit 1-7 for the winners, who were never in trouble.
Gaels began like an express train with a McBrearty brace book-ending points by Ronan Frain and Shay Doherty.
It was the 16th minute before John Paul McCready tucked over from a free to get Na Rossa on the board.
Six minutes later, Odhrán Gallagher landed a free for Na Rossa’s only other score of the opening half.
In between times, McBrearty converted a pair of frees to maintain the dominance of the Letterkenny outfit.
Gaels had a goal chance on 19 minutes when the lively Ciaran Kilfeather surged through, but he fired wide form the left side.
However, four minutes before half time, McBrearty burst through and his shot beat Bonner, who was powerless to stop his shot. McBrearty’s shot had too much sting and when the full-forward arched over a free, it was 1-7 to 0-2 in his team’s favour at the short whistle.
The mercury rose as they parted ways for the interval and the refreshments helped settle the tempers.
Last weekend, Na Rossa’s determination saw them record an extra-time win over Urris, with Bonner making a vital double-save in the extra period.
Just a few weeks ago, a club meeting heard how Na Rossa were in danger of being unable to field, but an away win at Carndonagh had the necks craning in their direction for better reasons.
Odhrán Molloy, one of the Dooey heroes last weekend, kicked two points at the start of part two as Na Rossa attempted a come back.
Christian Bonner hit a superb score, after Conor McCahill and Eugene Bonner made inroads in the downpour, but the gap was just too much.
Frain’s third of the day, off the outside of his right foot, put eight in it and he added another soon after.
Letterkenny Gaels: Shane Graham; Darren Hunter, Ciaran Lynch, Sean McDonagh; Shay Doherty (0-1), Brian Diver, Anthony Diver; Ciaran Cannon, Liam Doherty; Diarmaid Ó Cathail, Ronan Frain (0-4), Paddy Doherty (0-1); Ciaran Kilfeather, Conor McBrearty (1-7, 6f), Brendan O’Brien. Subs: Conor Browne for Kilfeather (41), Aaron Stewart for Lynch (48), Odhrán McMacken for O’Brien (52), John Doran for S.Doherty (59).
Na Rossa: Declan Bonner; Jamie McCready, Daniel Melly, Sean McMonagle; Eamonn Bonner, John McDyre, Christian Bonner (0-2, 1f); Eugene Molloy, Donal Trimble; Aidan McHugh, Conor McCahill, Conor Bonner; John Paul McCready (0-1f), Odhrán Molloy (0-5, 4f), Odhran Gallagher (0-1f). Subs: John Paul Breslin for Gallagher (half-time), Keelin Devenney for Conor Bonner (48), Odhran Gallagher for McHugh (52), Peter Gallagher for J.McCready (57).
Referee: Val Murray (Aodh Ruadh).Tags: