Dungloe saw a seven point lead disappear then fought back from three down as time was running out to force a reply against Cloughaneely in a dramatic Intermediate Championship final.
By Charlie Collins at O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny.
It would have been a total injustice had Dungloe lost this game as they were much the better team.
However, two penalties and a fortunate other saved the day for an otherwise outplayed Cloughaneely. The first ten minutes produced just two points – Darren McGeever for Cloughaneely and Oisín Bonner for Dungloe – both from play and that set the tone for the opening half. We had just two more before the first water break , Jason McGee and Oisín Bonner exchanged points from frees to leave it 0-02 apiece after fifteen minutes. Dungloe took the lead for the first time in the 20th minute with a Matthew Ward point from play.
And as they took control of the game, goalkeeper Danny Rodgers kicked over a 45’, followed by a free and Daire Gallagher kicked a super point from play and the lead was four points in Dungloe’s favour, 0-06 to 0-02. Just before half-time, Gerard Walsh added another for Dungloe and they led by five at the break.
Half-time: Dungloe 0-7 – Cloughaneely 0-2
That lead moved out to nine points with points from play by Matthew and Barry Curran in the early stages of the second-half before Jason McGee pointed a free – Cloughaneely’s first score in 30 minutes. They then got a lifeline into the game when Paul Sweeney was pulled down and, after hitting the crossbar with his penalty effort, John Fitzgerald hammered home the rebound to close the gap to 0-9 to 1-03 . Jason McGee and Daniel Ward exchanged points and then we were on level terms as Cloughaneely corner-back Micheal Fitzgerald launched a high ball towards goal.
The flight of the ball deceived keeper Rodgers and finished in the net behind him – Dungloe 0-10 – Cloughaneely 2-04 and game on! Two minutes later Cloughaneely were ahead. Jason McGee was fouled in the act of shooting and John Fitzgerald hammered the ball to the roof of the net, leaving the scoreboard 3-04 to 0-10 and Dungloe in trouble. To their credit, they reacted brilliantly and fired over three points in quick succession – Danny Rodgers pointed a free, Oisín Bonner did likewise and then young Daire Gallagher held his nerve to bring them level. Both teams had half chances to win it but failed to convert and it goes to a reply next week. Dungloe will wonder how they didn’t win it, but will be glad they showed the bottle to draw it after those three goals flew into their net.
On the other hand, Cloughaneely will be disappointed they didn’t hold on after the goals.
However, on reflection they will know they are fortunate to get a second chance. It’s a funny old game!
Cloughaneely: Shaun McClafferty; Noel Sweeney, Cian McFadden, Michael Fitzgerald (1-00), Ciaran McFadden , Lee O Brien, Mark Harley , Jason McGee ( 0-03f’s ), Darren McGeever ( 0-01 ), Aidan Doohan , Darren Ferry , Conor Coyle, Blake McGarvey, Paul Sweeney and Shaun Maguire. Subs; Cillian Gallagher for McGeever (33 mins), John Fitzgerald (2-00 pens)for Ferry ( 37mins), Ciaran McGeady for Coyle (38mins), Martin Maguire for Shaun Maguire (44mins).
Dungloe: Danny Rodgers (0-03, 2f’s, 1 45’) , Jack Scally , Mark Curran, Jason McBride , Barry Curran (0-02), Conor O’Donnell, Darren Curran , Christy Green , Matthew Ward ( 0-02 ) , Dylan Sweeney , Ryan Connors , Shaun McGee , Daire Gallagher ( 0-02 ), Oisin Bonner ( 0-03/2f’s) and Gerard Walsh ( 0-01). Subs; Daniel Ward for McGee ( 42mins), Noel McBride and Aaron Ward for Conners and Scally (55mins ) , Luke Neilly for Jason McBride (55mins).
Referee; Shaun McLaughlin ( Malin ).Tags: