Fáilte chuig gaa.ie - suíomh oifigiúil CLG



Donegal SFC Final: Fourth title in five years for Naomh Conaill

Naomh Conaill's Ethan O'Donnell celebrates at MacCumhaill Park. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Naomh Conaill's Ethan O'Donnell celebrates at MacCumhaill Park. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Donegal SFC Final

Naomh Conaill 1-16 Gaoth Dobhair 1-8

By Chris McNulty at MacCumhaill Park

For the fourth time in five years, Naomh Conaill are kings of Donegal after powering to a facile win over Gaoth Dobhair.

Charles McGuinness netted the 46th minute goal that keeps the Dr Maguire Cup at Davy Brennan Memorial Park for another 12 months.

So often in recent years, Naomh Conaill have defied those who suggest - perhaps, even wished - that their reign of dominance was coming to a close.

Here, they were never in any difficulty, cruising to victory after roaring into an early five-point lead in their seventh successive appearance in the Donegal SFC final.

The goal arrowed 16 minutes into the second half when McGuinness - nephew of the recently returned Donegal manager Jim - climbed to bat home after man of the match Ethan O’Donnell unselfishly floated the ball to the far post.

Naomh Conaill’s recent run of four wins in the last five years began with a 0-8 to 0-7 win over Gaoth Dobhair, whom they dethroned as Ulster and Donegal that champions after an epic three-game joust.

Since returning from defeat to Gaoth Dobhair in the 2018 final, Naomh Conaill have lost just one game in the Donegal championship - the 2021 final against St Eunan’s.

A pointer to the longevity of some of this Naomh Conaill group arrived prior to their quarter-final win over Kilcar. Marty Boyle, Stephen McGrath, Anthony Thompson, Leo McLoone and Eoin Waide were each given a presentation to mark their 100th appearances in club championship football.

After John O’Malley - scorer of a controversial late winner in the 2019 marathon - converted a pair of early frees, Odhran Doherty arrowed over a delicious point in the ninth minute to set a tone. Doherty might’ve been under intense pressure from two Gaoth Dobhair defenders, but he curled over in style.

The watching Jim McGuinness - so instrumental in his native Naomh Conaill’s breakthrough Donegal SFC win in 2005 - was surely nodding in approval.

Not a minute later, Brendan McDyer floated over from the shadows of the main stand and the scoreboard operator hadn’t time to leave down the remote when Anthony Thompson burst forward to get in on the act and open up a five-point lead.

By the time Michéal Roarty got Gaoth Dobhair off the mark in the 12th minute, the margin was already beginning to feel a little on the wide side.

Ciaran Thompson scored two in a minute, one off each foot, and the captain Ultan Doherty fisted over neatly as the early procession continued.

Gaoth Dobhair’s afternoon worsened again further when, just before half-time, Cian McEntee was black carded for a foul on O’Donnell, who appeared almost omni-present at times in the first half.

Naomh Conaill were 0-9 to 0-2 ahead at the short whistle when Gaoth Dobhair faced a mountain as steep as Errigal.

An Ethan Harkin free reduced Gaoth Dobhair’s arrears to six points six minute into the second half, Naomh Conaill responded with three points inside a deadly two-minute spell with Charles McGuinness, O’Malley and Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui on target. McGuinness slotted over after recycling when corner-back Jason Campbell saw a shot on goal blocked down.

The curtain could’ve been pulled when McGuinness struck gold and Eunan Doherty became the 10th Naomh Conaill man on the scoreboard.

Fergal Delaney, on the pitch just a matter of moments, fired in a Gaoth Dobhair goal in the 57th minute.

Naomh Conaill were full value - and more - for the eight-point margin.

Scorers for Naomh Conaill: Charles McGuinness 1-2; Ciaran Thompson, John O’Malley (2f) 0-3; Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui 0-2; Odhran Doherty, Brendan McDyer, Anthony Thompson, Ultan Doherty, Eunan Doherty, Keelan McGill 0- 1 each

Scorers for Gaoth Dobhair: Fergal Delaney 1-0; Michael Carroll (2f) 0-3; Michéal Roarty, Daire Ó Baoill, Ethan Harkin (f), Kieran Gillespie, Neasan Mac Giolla Bhride 0-1 each.

Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Jason Campbell, AJ Gallagher, Ultan Doherty; Kevin McGettigan, Anthony Thompson, Ethan O’Donnell; Leo McLoone, Ciaran Thompson; Brendan McDyer, Odhran Doherty, Eunan Doherty; Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui, Charles McGuinness, John O’Malley.

Subs: Eoin Waide for Campbell (44), Keelan McGill for McDyer (51), Logan Quinn for McGettigan (56), Seamus Corcoran for O’Malley (58), Mark McDevitt for Mac Ceallabhui (60).

Gaoth Dobhair: Daithi Roberts; Aidan Breathnach, Neil McGee, Gary McFadden; Niall Friel, Seaghan Ferry, Michéal Roarty; Daire Ó Baoill, Domhnall Mac Giolla Bhride; Michael Carroll, Odhran Mac Niallais, James Ó Baoill; Ethan Harkin, Eamon McGee, Cian McEntee.

Subs: Stephen ‘Donna’ McFadden for Ferry (HT), Kieran Gillespie for McEntee (38), Cathal de Burca for Roarty, Neasan Mac Giolla Bhride for J Ó Baoill (both 51), Fergal Delaney for Breathnach (54).

Referee: Enda McFeely (St Mary’s, Convoy).