THE 2021/22 Donegal League season kicked off today with games across the various areas in the Brian Mc Cormick Cup-Area Shields. Here’s a round-up of all the action.
Ballybofey United 5 Curragh Athletic 3
On Sunday afternoon Curragh Athletic were the visitors at Dreenan for the opening fixture of this season’s Brian Mc Cormick Cup-Area Shield.
They got off to the best possible start when Tim Callaghan had them ahead within five minutes of the start. The action was frantic and both sides played the ball at a lively pace.
Ballybofey United soon found their groove and when they did they laid siege to their East Donegal opponents goal. Eunan Doherty got them back on level terms when he fired a loose ball to the net after a corner-kick was only partly cleared.
Jude Patton put the hosts ahead and Damien Glackin got his first of the season to make it 3-1.
At this stage Ballybofey were well on top and made it 4-1 through Shaun Mc Gowan who headed home from a good corner-kick delivery. That’s how it stood at the break. Glackin got his second early in the second-half and it would prove to be a much needed strike.
Ballybofey became unsettled for a spell, due mainly to the losing of three men through injury and having to re-shape the team.
An own goal gave Curragh hope and Tim Callaghan’s second goal left them within two of United. But that was as good as it got for Curragh and Ballybofey went on to win the game fairly easily but not without having to thwart several Curragh attacks.
Donegal Town 4 Letterbarrow Celtic 1
Played on a glorious Sunday, Donegal Town welcomed near neighbours Letterbarrow to the Hospital Field.
Letterbarrow took the lead through a screamer from James McGrory after seven minutes but Town battled back and made it 2-1 before half time, Joe Mac and Kerrigan netting.
Into the second-half and Town scored two more through Ward and Kerrigan again. Letterbarrow were well served by James McGroary,
Des McGroarty and their keeper Griffin who made some excellent saves.
St Catherines 2 Drumkeen United 1
Both teams started off playing attractive one touch football but neither keeper was tested in the first 30 minutes.
A quick break from Drumkeen on 31 minutes saw Michael Guthrie breaking into the opposition box only to be caught from behind and fouled by Shaun Kelly and Michael neatly dispatched the resulting penalty himself to make it 0-1 at half time to the visitors.
St. Catherines came out more determined in the second half with Odhran Mc Guinness hitting the crossbar from long range and Daniel Breslin narrowly missing with a powerful header from an inswinging corner.
The pressure paid off when a deflected 25-yard free-kick from Daniel Breslin gave the visiting keeper no chance on 75 minutes and subsequently levelled the scores setting up an exciting finish.
The vocal home support hadn’t long to wait for the winner as a terrific corner from Donal McGuire put the ball on a plate for Ryan Farrell to head home at the back post.
St. Catherine’s two youngest players Alex Mc Ginley and Colin Mooney, both operating on opposite wings, had excellent games while Michael Guthrie shone brightest for the visitors. teams
Glenea United 3 Keadue Rovers 0
(No Report Received)
Glenree United 0 Gweedore United 3
The first game of the season was a hard fought one but in the end a depleted Glenree squad didn’t have enough to stage a comeback.
Gweedore got off to a flyer with a goal in the first five minutes. The second followed shortly afterwards. Gweedore were much the better team with Glenree’s only real chance of note coming from the left boot of James Tourish.
His curling free kick was well saved by the Gweedore keeper. Glenree were caught out for the third goal when a well-placed through ball found the forward and he slotted home. 0-3 is how the first half ended. Glenree came out much stronger as a team in the second- half.
They upped their performance but could not find their shooting boots. Gweedore had one real chance of note in the second-half but it was straight at the keeper.
Gweedore Celtic 2 Cranford United 1
Na Ceiltigh welcomed Cranford FC to An Screaban for the first game of the season.
Both teams started brightly, playing good passing football. Gweedore Celtic were dangerous on both wings but lacked the final ball.
On 15 minutes the visitors took the lead after a corner was headed clear only as far as Naoise Cullen who’s shot was deflected past McKelvey.
Within ten minutes Gweedore were level when Michael Roarty floated a free to the far post for Tommy Diver to head into the net.
Playing with the breeze in the second- half the home side took control and created numerous chances. The Cranford keeper made several great saves to deny Gweedore.
The keeper was finally beaten when Michael Doherty found Cian Mc Bride with a diagonal ball and his first-time shot hit the back of the net.
Cranford tried to get back into the game but the home defence stood firm.
Fanad United 2 Bonagee United 3
Kerrykeel ’71 F.C. 1 Swilly Rovers 3
Swilly claimed the three points in the opening game of the Brian McCormick Cup with the ‘71 missing several key players.
Kerrykeel went in front on 20 minutes when Matthew Stewart did well down the right and crossed for John Heraghty to fire home.
Swilly drew level on the stroke of half-time when Kyle Black finished brilliantly after a great move involving Marty McDaid to give Shane Sandilands no chance.
The second-half was a tight affair with both teams battling hard. Swilly went in front on seventy minutes when Marty McDaid headed home.
Kerrykeel pushed for an equaliser with Mc Ateer hitting the crossbar and Jamie Lee Blaney pulling off a great save to deny McAteer again with five minutes to go.
Deep into injury time Swilly caught Kerrykeel on the break and scored their third to wrap up the three points.
Milford United 1 Letterkenny Rovers 1
Milford United and Letterkenny Rovers played out a well contested draw in perfect conditions at Moyle View Park.
Letterkenny began strong with their best effort coming when Adam Yisau hit the post and Milford always looked good on the counter-attack with their best chance coming when Mark Wilson was one on one with the keeper but a poor final touch pushed the ball too close to the keeper who made the save.
Milford opened the scoring on 53 minutes when Darren McLaughlin rattled home following good work by PJ Hagan.
Letterkenny equalised on 61 minutes when Nathan Plumb tapped home after a break on the right with the impressive Adam Yisau beating two men to see his shot saved and rebound to Plumb.
Both teams fought hard for an equaliser but a share of the spoils was a fair result with both camps happy with a point.
Whitestrand United 0 Rathmullan Celtic 0
(No report received)
KIldrum Tigers 0 Drumoghill FC 0
(No report received)
Lagan Harps 3 Convoy Arsenal 4
There were dramatic starts and finishes to this high scoring encounter.
Convoy raced into a two goal lead in the first five minutes. First JP Malley was left unmarked to head in a corner.
Then when Lagan gave the ball away up field Mark Griffin beat the full-back before firing home from out wide.
They went 3-0 up on 30 minutes when Joe Mc Gill got too much room and rifled home from the edge of the area.
Lagan got a lifeline on thirty-five minutes when Ross Hamlyn converted a penalty. Lagan came more into in the second- half but Convoy continued to create chances. JP Malley struck the post much to Lagan’s good fortune.
When Mark Griffin made it 4-1 it looked all over. Damien Nelis went close and Barney McMenamin forced a good save from Matthew Gallagher as Lagan fought back.
Lagan were awarded a second penalty which Ciaran Quinn converted on eighty minutes.
Travis Crawford then volleyed home a Ronan Carlin corner on ninety minutes to set up a dramatic finale. Barney McMenamin then headed just over for Lagan in their final attack.
Raphoe Town 2 Deele Harps 0
An early goal from striker DJ Kelly set Raphoe on their way to victory in this local derby played at Raphoe’s new grounds at Drumineney, but the game was in the balance until the late stages of the second-half when Raphoe finally sealed the win with a goal from Keelin Bogle.
The home side took the lead inside two minutes when DJ Kelly steered home and that set up a fine opening period for Raphoe who had by far the best of things in the opening stages.
However, despite pressing hard to add to their tally, they found the Deele defence hard to breach and the closest they came to grabbing a second came when Keelin Bogle ran through and hammered a shot past David Arthur, only to see the shot come back off the inside of the post.
At the other end Aaron Hepburn was rarely tested but Deele should have been level mid-way through the first half but somehow managed to waste a clear-cut chance, blazing over the bar from close range.
It was a much different affair in the second-half as Deele pressed for an equaliser and when Raphoe went down to ten men with over 30 minutes left to play, it seemed as if things might turn.
However the few chances Deele carved out were well saved by Aaron Hepburn, while Raphoe were always dangerous on the break and created plenty of chances of their own.
Raphoe sealed the win with about ten minutes left to play when Keelin Bogle stole in at the back post to head home from close range and Deele had no answer after that as the home team held out for a deserved victory.