An impressive Carndonagh were today crowned U21 C champions despite a late surge from Convoy.
By Gerry McLaughlin
St Mary’s Convoy 2-5
But, don’t be fooled by the score-line for a second!
For this was a game that 14-man Carndonagh seemed to be controlling very well.
That was until two late goals from battling Convoy made the score line more respectable which is greatly to their credit as they looked to be very much out of the game for long periods in the second half.
The winners were leading by 1-8 to 0-3 with ten minutes to go.
This was despite losing wingback Anthony Doherty to a straight red card after an incident with Convoy’s towering midfielder, Liam Toye, in the 43rd minute.
The winner’s struck for the crucial score in the 40th minute when Carn centre forward Christy McDaid intercepted a poor Convoy clearance.
He spotted Convoy keeper Mark Gordon off his line and his measured chip nestled in the Convoy net.
McDaid’s clever effort put his side into a 1-6 to 0-3 lead and it looked like a real killer blow to Convoy.
Cian Burke and O’Donnell pushed the lead out to 1-8 to 0-3 lead, before that dramatic late comeback from plucky Convoy who tried hard but were just not able to penetrate a well drilled Carn side
But two late goals from the impressive dual star Jason McDaid and Rory Craig set up a heart stopping finish.
And when Matthew Coyle hit a great point for Convoy, the lead was cut to a mere point in extra time as Carn led by 1-9 to 2-5.
But Val Murray’s whistle went on the Carn kick-out, signalling great celebrations in the Inishowen camp.
The game got off to a cracking pace and Carndonagh looked more menacing as raiding wing back Lorcan Bradley hoofed over a great point from an acute angle in the 3rd minute.
Both sides were very well set up defensively with Convoy very conscious of Carn’s county senior play and dangerman, Conor O’Donnell, who was playing on the 40.
At the other end Carn team captain Cormac Monagle was picking up Convoy’s marksman Joe McGill.
Scores were at a premium as both sides probed and prodded like a dentist looking for a weak cavity before O’Donnell exploded gloriously into action with a superb left footed effort that drew some gasps of admiration from the crowd in the 6th minute.
Undaunted, Convoy quickly responded with a pointed free from centre back Conall McDermott to leave Carn leading by 0-2 t 0-1
Exchanges were tight, but Convoy did have a chance for goal when Matthew Coyle speared his way through the Carn defence at an angle on the right wing, but fisted narrowly wide and there was an option for him inside.
At the other end, Carn’s lightning corner forward Sean O’Donnell broke through but his shot for goal was brilliantly deflected onto the crossbar by Convoy keeper, Gordon.
Coyle broke through again,but he collided with one of his own men as the pace never flagged.
Carn’s Darren Donaghy then made it 0-3 to 0-1 with a fine effort after a swift move.
But Convoy stayed in touch with a sweetly struck free from Joe McGill almost from the sideline as O’Donnell missed a free for Carn as they led by 0-3 to 0-2 at the break.
Half-time: Carndonagh 0-3 – Convoy 0-2.
McGill levelled matters on the resumption with a well struck free-but that was to be their last score for almost 20 minutes as Carn eased in front with points from O’Donnell and the long and lean Christy McDaid.
McDaid’s goal, however, was a game changer.
But just when all seemed lost for Convoy, a long ball in found McDaid who dispatched the ball to the net in the 23rd minute.
O’Donnell chipped in with Carn’s final point before that late second goal that came when Rory Craig got on the end of a high breaking ball, and a point from brave Convoy which was just not enough.
A deserved victory for Carn who looked the better- balanced side throughout, and for whom O’Donnell showed flashes of real class.
Donal Doherty and Christy McDaid were strong physical presences as well along with centre back Cian Doherty.
For Convoy, Joe McGill, Ciaran Dolan and McDaid tried hard and almost carved out a draw.
Carndonagh: Kyle Harkin; Cormac Monagle, Rory Lynch, Adam McLaughlin; Lorcan Bradley (0-1), Cian Doherty, Anthony Doherty; Will Quinn, Donal Doherty; Christy Diver (0-1), Christy McDaid (1-1), Cian Burke (0-1); Sean O’Donnell (0-1), Conor O’Donnell (0-32f), Darren Donaghy (0-1);
Subs: Darragh McCormick for Darren Donaghy (h-time), Fionn McClure for Christy McDaid (52).
Convoy: Mark Gordon; Eanna McDermott, John Moore, Rory Craig (1-0); Jordan Gallagher, Conall McDermott(0-1f), Matthew Coyle (0-1); Liam Toye, Conor Bonner; Oran O’Donnell, Ciaran Dolan (0-1), Oisin Guthrie; Jason McDaid, Cathal Browne, Joseph McGill (0-2f). Subs; Niall Sweeney for Oisin Guthrie (37)
Referee: Val Murray (Aodh Ruadh)