Cloughaneely defeated Buncrana at the Donegal GAA Centre to set up an Intermediate final clash with Dungloe
Cloughaneely 2-11 Buncrana 0-11
A snap goal on the break from Cloughaneely’s Aidan Doohan was the key score in this contest between two of the most physically powerful sides in Donegal football at the Convoy GAA Training Centre.
Doohan was left unattended deep inside the Buncrana defence and was expertly picked out by Blake McGarvey and he finished cooly to the net to put the winners into a 2-9 to 0-8 lead 12 minutes into the second half.
This was a most crucial score as it gave the winners, who were playing into a big breeze a valuable cushion to see out this game.
Buncrana, who threw on ex county star Darach O’Connor, in the second half, tried hard to get back on track.
And it took a superb save from Cloughaneely keeper Shaun McClafferty to deny “Jigger’s” goal bound shot and turn the ball around the post for a 45 a minute before Doohan’s clinical strike.
That was a six point turnaround and there was no real way back for Buncrana for whom Caolan McGonagle and Peter McLaughlin battled hard but never looked like toppling a composed and experienced Cloughaneely defence.
The winners, who have supped sorrow in the last two county finals against St Naul’s and Aodh Ruadh will be hoping to make it third time lucky when they tangle with neighbours Dungloe in the final.
Jason McGee, Sean McGuire, Paul Sweeney, Darren McGeever and Aidan Doohan were very prominent for the winners.
Cloughaneely had the benefit of a considerable breeze and were quickly off the mark with a well struck effort from county star Jason McGee, who held off three defenders before arcing over a fine point in the second minute.
It got even better for them two minutes later when a long route one ball to Paul Sweeney hung in the air.
Buncrana keeper Sean Parker seemed to hesitate briefly and the burly Sweeeny punched the ball to the net.
It was all Cloughaneely at this stage as Darren Ferry made full use of the breeze to land a superb point from all of 45 metres.
Sweeney added another point as early visions of a potential route briefly surfaced.
But young Ben Bradley settled some Inishowen nerves when he took a mark and confidently hit a fine point to get Buncrana off the mark in the 14th minute.
Buncrana were improving and big Peter McLaughlin was beginning to win some ball at midfield as John Campobell added a pointed free in the 17th minute as the Gaeltcht men led by 1-3 to 0-2 at the first water break.
Ferry added to that tally with yet another long- range effort and Ciaran Mcfadden also pointed to open up a six- points lead and things were looked bleak for Buncrana.
But their big physical men were beginning to assert themselves and they slowly clawed their way back into contention.
Campbell converted another free but Sweeney added another point for Cloughaneely.
Veteran Oisin O’Flaherty led the way when he charged up from the half back line to land an inspirational point.
John Campbell landed a free for an improving Buncrana while Paul Sweeney replied for the winners.
His side had a great chance of a goal but Cloughaneely keeper Shaun McClafferty tipped Adrian Doherty’s piledriver over the bar.
The winners were well worth their 1-7 to 0-5 half time lead.
And they had two vital scores on the break when Darren McGeever and Aidan Doohan who increased the lead by two points to 1-9 to 0-7.
But once Doohan’s goal went in there was no real other outcome to this match as Cloughaneely closed out the game in fine style.
Buncrana will rue those missed chances that could have yielded priceless goals, but there was no doubting who were the deserving winners.
And now they will be hoping the banish the bile of those two bitte final defeats.
Cloughaneely: Shaun McClafferty; Noel Sweeney, Cian McFadden, Michael Fitzgerald; Lee O’Brien, Ciaran McFadden, Conor Coyle; Jason McGee (0-43f), Darren McGeever (0-1) Aidan Doohan (1-1), Mark Harley, Sean McGuire; Blake McGarvey, Paul Sweeney (1-3) Darren Ferry (0-2). Sub Ciaran McGeady for Conor Coyle (56) Cillian Gallagher for Sean McGuire (48), Ciaran Scanlon for Darren McGeever (56), Martin McGuire for Aidan Doohan (59)
Buncrana: Sean Parker; JP McKenna, Bruce Waldron, Sean Doherty; Oisin O’Flaherty, William McLaughlin, Oisin Crawford; Peter McLaughlin, Caolan McGonagle (0-3f); Aedan Stokes, Ben Bradley (0-21f) John Campbell (0-3f); Adrian Doherty (0-1) Stephen Doherty, Oisin Hegarty, Subs; D O’Connor (0-2) for Stephen Doherty (h-time) Noel McLaughlin for JP McKenna, Adrian McColgan for William McLaughlin (47).
Val Murray (Aodh Ruadh)