Darragh Mulgrew, St Eunan's and Ciaran Thompson, Naomh Conaill, during the Donegal SFC Final.
Darragh Mulgrew, St Eunan's and Ciaran Thompson, Naomh Conaill, during the Donegal SFC Final.

Donegal SFC Final: Eunan's dethrone Naomh Conaill


Donegal SFC Final

ST EUNAN'S 1-11 NAOMH CONAILL 0-4

By Chris McNulty at MacCumhaill Park

St Eunan's of Letterkenny are toasting their 15th Donegal SFC title after dethroning the champions Naomh Conaill in Ballybofey.

Eoin McGeehin's goal sent Rory Kavanagh's team on their way to an odds-upsetting win.

St Eunan's had ten points to spare – and there were few in attenance who would've argued with the margin.

A superb third quarter – during which the winners kicked five points – kicked St Eunan's for home and Naomh Conaill's frustrations were added to with Eunan Doherty and Charles McGuinness both sent off for second bookings..

The goal arrived in the 24th minute. Kieran Tobin fetched possession from a Naomh Conaill kick-out, offloaded for Peter McEniff, whose ball in found McGeehin in space.

With the ball in flight, goal predator McGeehin had his target in sight and the diminutive forward lashed past Stephen McGrath.

St Eunan's had held possession for a full two minutes after Shane O'Donnell curled them into a 0-2 to 0-1 lead after the waterbreak.

When goalkeeper Shaun Patton saw his long-range free flash wide through a crowd in the large parallellogram, the gasps still hung in the air when McGrath's kick-out was won by Tobin and the afternoon begun to take its shape.

Naomh Conaill goalkeeper McGrath – the hero of the night in the penalty shoot-out win over Kilcar in the 2020 final, played just three months ago – saved from Shane O'Donnell when St Eunan's cut through in the 10th minute.

Aaron Deeney fed Conor O'Donnell snr in behind and his off-load invited Shane O'Donnell's shot, but McGrath saved.

There had been a brief sniff of a goal when St Eunan's corner-forward Eoin McGeehin elected to fist over the game's opening point in the fourth minute.

Ciaran Thompson nailed a wonderful free in the 14th minute to get Naomh Conaill off the mark, the captain's curling effort from just in front of the terrace sailing over.

A second Thompson free, in the 27th minute, was all that Naomh Conaill could muster until Leo McLoone pointed with the final attack of part one.

A superb score off the outside of Niall O'Donnell's boot from 45 metres saw St Eunan's lead 1-3 to 0-3 at half-time.

Points from Shaun Patton and Tobin extended the St Eunan's lead and the Naomh Conaill alarms were sounding when Doherty was sent off in the 40th minute.

Niall O'Donnell and Padraig McGettigan kicked superb scores from wide possesison either side Conor O'Donnell point to stretch the lead.

Kieran Tobin, who has had a superb championship in the black and amber, was on target before Ciaran Thompson ended a 24-minute scoreless spell for Naomh Conaill.

Naomh Conaill hadn't tasted defeat since an Ulster final loss to Kilcoo in 2019, a sequence of 25 games.

There could be no complaints here as St Eunan's left celebrating their fifteenth Donegal SFC title.

St Eunan's: Shaun Patton (0-1, 1 '45); Peter Devine, Caolan Ward, Aaron Deeney; Kieran Tobin (0-2), Conor O'Donnell snr (0-1), Peter McEniff; Darragh Mulgrew, Kevin Kealy; Eoin Dowling, Shane O'Donnell (0-2), Sean McVeigh; Padraig McGettigan (0-1), Niall O'Donnell (0-3), Eoin McGeehin (1-1).

Subs: Conor O'Donnell jnr for McGeehin (46), Eamonn Doherty for Deeney (46), Sean McGettigan for Kealy (53), Anthony Gallagher for McEniff (59), Ronan McGeehin for P..McGettigan (60+2).

Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Ultan Doherty, Jason Campbell, Kevin McGettigan; Ethan O'Donnell, Anthony Thompson, Eoin Waide; Leo McLoone (0-1), Ciaran Thompson (0-3, 2f); Eunan Doherty, Odhran Doherty, Marty Boyle; Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui, Charles McGuinness, Kieran Gallagher.

Subs: Brendan McDyer for Boyle (38), Keelan McGill for Gallagher, Dermot Molloy for U.Doherty (40), Nathan Byrne for Waide (46), John O'Malley for O.Doherty (60+2).

Referee: Enda McFeely