Killybegs 4-14 v 5-16 Naomh Conaill ( after extra-time ) Naomh Conaill came from eight points down with five minutes of normal time remaining to force extra-time and then went on to win by five in what was a cracking Under 21 semi-final at Eamonn Byrne Park in Killybegs. Killybegs Led by six points at half-time 2-07 to 2-01 after an entertaining opening period. Naomh Conaill got a great start when they were awarded a penalty in the second minute for a lift off the ground and Eoghan McGettigan converted. Killybegs hit back quickly with three points from Ryan Cunningham , Shaun Gorrell and Michael Statham and then the excellent Gorrell hammered the ball to the net in the tenth minute to leave it 1-03 to 1-00 . Cunningham added another point and as the visitors responded Killybegs keeper made a fine save to deny Odhran Doherty as the full-back ventured forward in the 17th minute. McGettigan recorded Naomh Conaill’s first point in the 24th minute to leave it 1-04 to 1-01 but Killybegs pressed the go button again , Ryan Cunningham drilled home the game’s second penalty in the 27th minute and Shaun Gorrell added two points with Seamus Og Byrne added another in between those and suddenly it was 2-07 to 1-01 to the home side . Naomh Conaill needed something and they got it in first-half injury-time when full forward Danny Gallagher got his fist to Eoghan McGettigan’s long ball into the danger area to leave six between them at the break 2-07 to 2-01 and work for the visitors to do in the second-half. That work was made harder one minute into the second-half when Oran McGuinness scored home Killybeg’s fourth goal , his 45 flying all the way to the net to leave nine points in it. Michael Statham added another point and Naomh Conaill looked in big trouble at 3-08 to 2-01 down . Logan Quinn and Caolan McGonagle added points for the visitors , Shaun Gorrell replied for Killybegs but Paul McGuinness and Nathan Byrne points left it 3-09 to 2-05 in the 44th minute. Daniel O Keeney and Nathan Byrne exchanged points and then up came Naomh Conaill full-back again to join the attack and he hammered home a super goal to leave just four in it and the visitors back in the game at 3-10 to 3-06. However yet again when threatened the home team showed great resolve and in the 50th minute the excellent Ryan Cunningham raced through to slot home their fourth goal and followed it with a point from a free and the lead was out to eight points 4-11 to 3-06. But this game was far from over as Naomh Conaill did what Naomh Conaill do with a remarkable final seven minutes including injury-time as they scored 1-05 without reply to force extra-time. Danny Gallagher got his second goal of the game , Nathan Byrne and Joseph Shankey-Smith added normal time points and then Byrne scored three points in three minutes of injury-time to send the game to extra-time on a final score of 4-11 to 4-11 , incredible stuff from both teams but surely the momentum with Naomh Conaill. Ryan Cunningham pointed from a free but Danny Gallagher slotted home his hat-trick goal as Naomh Conaill led for the first time in the game. Points from Cunningham and sub Callum Quinn meant it was still level at the break in extra-time 4-14 to 5-11. However Naomh Conaill had fought back to often to let this one go and so it was as they added five points without reply in the second-half of extra-time to win by that total 5-16 to 4-14 is this epic battle between two excellent teams that gave everything they both had. Eoghan MCGettigan and Paul McGuinness got two apiece and Nathan Byrne who had been outstanding added a fifth to send Naomh Conaill into a final meeting with the holders St.Eunans in two weeks time . Great credit to both teams for their efforts in this outstanding game of football. KILLYBEGS ; Corey Byrne , Michael O Callaghan , Seamus Og Byrne (0-1) , Eoin McGinty , Niall Campbell , Ryan Carr , Timmy Gorrell , Jack McSharry , Michael Statham ( 0-02 ), Rory Coyler , Oran McGuinness ( 1-0/45) , Charlie Breslin , Ryan Cunningham (2-05/3f’s ), Shaun Gorrell (1-04), Daniel O Keeney ( 0-01 ). NAOMH CONAILL ; Jordan O Donnell , Cian Doherty , Odhran Doherty (1-00),Sean Roarty , Conor Roarty , Keelan McGill , Edward Moss , Kieran Gallagher , Logan Quinn ( 0-01), Paul McGuinness ( 0-03), Eoghan McGettigan ( 1-03) , Nathan Byrne (0-07),Joseph Shankey-Smith( 0-01), Danny Gallagher (3-00 ), Caolan McMonagle(0-01). SUBS ; REFEREE ; Marc Brown
Naomh Conaill Under 21’s Comeback to reach Final
Author of 'Boxing In Donegal: A History (2021)' - the definitive history of the sport in County Donegal - and 'Relentless: A Race Through Time', the 2019 memoir of former Irish Athletics Team Manager Patsy McGonagle. From St Johnston and now based in Letterkenny, Chris was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.