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Niall Friel, Gaoth Dobhair, and Kevin McGettigan, Naomh Conaill, in action during the Donegal SFC Final replay.
Niall Friel, Gaoth Dobhair, and Kevin McGettigan, Naomh Conaill, in action during the Donegal SFC Final replay.

Donegal SFC replay: Naomh Conaill and Gaoth Dobhair draw again

Donegal SFC Final replay

GAOTH DOBHAIR 0-14 NAOMH CONAILL 1-11 (after extra-time)

By Alan Foley at MacCumhaill Park

The Donegal SFC has developed into something of a marathon as in the replay at Ballybofey, Gaoth Dobhair and Naomh Conaill couldn’t be separated again – even after extra-time.

The teams will meet for a third time on Wednesday night, when penalties will be the last resort to see who lifts the Dr Maguire Cup.

Naomh Conaill were three points down in extra-time and looked, finally, beaten, only to rally to move one in front entering injury time in extra-time. However, a patchwork Gaoth Dobhair managed to scrape a second replay from a match they looked like winning when Seaghan Ferry levelled in the 82ndminute.

It seemed so long beforehand since the first half.

The first time Martin Regan’s team went long, they got rewarded. Brendan McDyer laid the ball in and, as it dropped, Eunan Doherty was pulled and referee Jimmy White signalled for a penalty.

Charlie McGuinness sent Christopher Sweeney the wrong way in the 10thminute. It was the first score of the contest, with Gaoth Dobhair having kicked four wides beforehand, and showed the economy shown by Naomh Conaill.

At 1-1 to 0-1, the underdogs’ bark could be heard. Gaoth Dobhair came into it with Odhran MacNiallais and Cian Mulligan scoring, although the team from the Gaeltacht breathed a sigh of relief when Kieran Gallagher just missed a booming ball into their square.

Naomh Conaill’s point late in the half came from Eunan Doherty, who blazed over when a 45 fell short. At the break, though, it was 0-6 to 1-2 for Gaoth Dobhair, thanks to injury time scores from Eamon McGee and Mulligan.

Eamonn Collum doubled the Gaoth Dobhair advantage. But Naomh Conaill came right back to level with a point from Ciaran Thompson and then a free from Eoghan McGettigan on 35 minutes, 1-4 to 0-7.

As things ebbed and flowed, chances were continually missed at both ends, although Michael Carroll had his cue chalked to put Gaoth Dobhair one up on 46 minutes.

Gaoth Dobhair sat in and let Naomh Conaill play in front of them as the sands of time continued to thin. Ciaran Thompson, from an acute angle, on the right, levelled it up. It was Naomh Conaill who were pushing for the winner but couldn’t work a chance nor buy a free. Full-time: Gaoth Dobhair 0-9 Naomh Conaill 1-6.

Gaoth Dobhair were awarded a penalty in the second minute of extra-time when Marty Boyle was adjudged to have touched the ball on the ground in the square. MacNiallais put McGrath the wrong way from the spot, but it sailed over the crossbar on 62 minutes. However, not to be undone, from the next play the mercurial forward scored a peach to put Gaoth Dobhair 0-11 to 1-7 in front.

At half-time in extra-time it was Gaoth Dobhair in front, 0-13 to 1-8.

Again, Naomh Conaill wouldn’t lie down and within four minutes of the restart were back on terms, with a fantastic Ciaran Thompson effort followed by a score from Eunan Doherty.

Naomh Conaill were now the driving force and five minutes from time, Ethan O’Donnell punched over from distance as Neil McGee had punched away a dropping ball. It looked as though it was going to be Naomh Conaill’s day, only for Ferry to tie it up in dramatic fashion.

Scorers for Gaoth Dobhair: Odhrán Mac Niallais 0-6 (2fs, 1 pen) Cian Mulligan 0-2, Michael Carroll, Eamon McGee, James Boyle, Dáire Ó Baoill, Seaghan Ferry 0-1 each.

Scorers for Naomh Conaill: Charlie McGuinness 1-0 (pen), Ciaran Thompson 0-2 (1f), Eoghan McGettigan 0-2 (2fs), Eunan Doherty 0-2, Dermot Molloy 0-2, Ethan O'Donnell, Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui 0-1 each.

GAOTH DOBHAIR: Christopher Sweeney; Gary McFadden, Neil McGee, Seaghan Ferry; Niall Friel, Dan McBride, James Ó Baoill; Michael Carroll, Eamon McGee; Daire Ó Baoill, Odhrán Mac Niallais, Naoise Ó Baoill; Cian Mulligan, Kevin Cassidy, Gavin McBride.

Subs: Eamonn Collum for G McBride (23), Peter McGee for D McBride (45), Ethan Harkin for Collum (60), G McBride and D Mc Bride for Harkin and P McGee (extra-time).

NAOMH CONAILL: Stephen McGrath; Ultan Doherty, AJ Gallagher, Kevin McGettigan; Ethan O’Donnell, Anthony Thompson, Eoin Waide; Ciaran Thompson, Leo McLoone; Brendan McDyer, Eoghan McGettigan, Eunan Doherty; Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí, Charles McGuinness, Kieran Gallagher.

Subs: Marty Boyle for Gallagher (40), Dermot Molloy (0-2) for Waide (45), Nathan Byrne for Gallagher (46, black card), Dara Gallagher for McGuinness (53), Gallagher for McDyer (extra-time), McDyer for Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí (half-time, extra-time), John O’Malley for D Gallagher (78), Aaron Thompson for U Doherty (80).

REFEREE: Jimmy White (Killybegs).

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