ON THEIR 99th birthday, reigning county Naomh Conaill began the defence of the Dr Maguire with a thumping win over Milford in Glenties this afternoon.
Naomh Conaill 3-20 Milford 0-6
With the details of their centenary plans circulating for this weekend next year, a blistering start, where the hosts had a 1-3 to 0-0 lead before even four minutes was played, laid the foundation stones. It was pretty relentless from then on. For Milford, it brought back chilling memories of their 5-22 to 0-11 hammering at St Eunan’s hands in last year’s Donegal SFC quarter-final.
At half-time this afternoon, it was 2-13 to 0-3 for Naomh Conaill, with Dermot Molloy and Charles McGuinness the goalscorers. Eunan Doherty added a third in the second half, by which time the contest was long-since over.
Molloy smashed a fourth minute belter past Sean Gallagher after a lay-off from McGuinness – who was a handful at No 14 – opted not to mark the ball following Ethan O’Donnell’s searching ball in.
With Ciaran Thompson and Eoghan McGettigan keeping the scoreboard ticking over, the second goal came on 17 minutes following a flowing move. McGuinness punched in front close range after another fine move that saw Ciaran Thompson break from the middle of the field and McGettigan with the final pass.
Milford were struggling to even get into the Naomh Conaill half but finally scored following a decent break from Darragh Black. Cathal McGettigan and Luke Barrett added free, but it was like a cork trying to stop a tsunami.
Naomh Conaill had the likes of Leo McLoone, John O’Malley, Brendan McDyer, Kieran Gallagher, Seamus Corcoran, Dara Gallagher and Aaron Thompson in reserve.
The second half began in more pedestrian fashion with Naomh Conaill taking the foot off the burners. Points followed from Molloy, McGuinness and Ciaran Thompson before Eunan Doherty planted a well-taken 48thminute goal for a 3-17 to 0-4 lead.
Milford’s misery was complete when Cathal McGettigan dragged a 51st minute penalty wide after Ryan McMahon was adjudged to have been fouled, with the locals claiming the award was soft at best. Lorcan Friel was dismissed late on when he added a back to his previous yellow a minute from time.
Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath, Ultan Doherty, AJ Gallagher, Kevin McGettigan; Ethan O’Donnell, Anthony Thompson (0-1), Eoin Waide; Ciaran Thompson (0-5, 2f, 45), Nathan Byrne; Eunan Doherty (1-1), Eoghan McGettigan (0-3), Marty Boyle; Charles McGuinness (1-5, 3f), Jeaic Mac Ceallbhui (0-1), Dermot Molloy (1-3). Subs: Odhran Doherty for Waide (37), Seamus Corcoran for Boyle (39), Jason Campbell for Gallagher (44), Leo McLoone for Byrne (45), Keelan McGill for O’Donnell (56)
Milford: Sean Gallagher; Peter Curran, Paddy Peoples, Gavin Grier; Darragh Black (0-1), Ronan Docherty, Ryan McMahon; Lorcan Friel, Rory O’Donnell; Luke Barrett (0-1, 1f), Christopher Barrett, Cathal McGettigan (0-2, 2f); Conor McHugh, Kane Barrett (0-2, 1f), Matthew McLaughlin. Subs: Shay Durning for McLaughlin (36), Martin Doyle for C Barrett (43), Shane McNamee for Friel (48), Friel for Docherty (55)
Referee: Greg McGroary (Four Masters)