Lee Henderson of MacCumhaills stands over a placed ball against Dungloe at Hibernian Park in Burt
Seán MacCumhaills booked their place in the IHC final with a comprehensive win over a tenacious Dungloe side played in Burt on Friday evening.
Sean MacCumhaill’s 3-16
In a mostly balanced game in the first half both sides were always in reach of each other with every score proving priceless in the opening 25 minute before a blitz of MacCumhaills scores would add a cushion going in at half-time.
MacCumhaills ran out winners when both teams met earlier in the SHC group stages, winning 3-21 to 4-7 but with a place in the IHC final at stake there was always going to be an added bite and pressure in the air around Hibernian Park for this clash. However, Anthony Patton scored two goals for the team from the Twin Towns.
Lee Henderson, the MacCumhaills captain hit seven points - six of which were frees - and proved ever dependable on set piece duty and opened the game’s scoring within a minute of referee Aidan McAleer’s whistle.
Dungloe was presented with a goal opportunity in one of their earliest raids on the MacCumhaills defence shortly after but corner-back John Anthony Chambers rode the barrage of challenges to avert the danger and launch his side on the counterattack.
Dungloe’s persistence was producing chances but they had three wides registered before they opened their own account for the evening on 12 minutes when corner-back Sean O’Donnell pointed from play. Jamie De Ward from play and another Henderson free put MacCumhaills in front again but had to withstand sustained pressure from their opponents soon after.
Brendan Boyle deep from out the right wing and a Thomas Hartnett free levelled things up however they saw a chance of a lead pass by when Richie Ryan’s effort on goal was thwarted by MacCumhaills keeper Del Laverty.
MacCumhaills restored their lead immediately with a sweet strike from Barry McGranaghan and another De Ward point from play. Dungloe took the lead briefly when James Hartnett goaled for the Rosses side. MacCumhaills drew level from a Henderson free after McGranaghan was fouled for his hardworking efforts at centre-half forward were causing trouble to Dungloe.
MacCumhaills found another gear to slot into shortly after and a brace of points from the always precise Henderson were rapidly followed with two goals for the Twin Town’s side. The first came from Gavin Browne after Anthony Patton’s never give up battling attitude won possession against the odds and set up Browne.
Dungloe replied with a point from midfielder James McCole but any attempt to reel the deficit in was dealt a blow when goal maker turned goal scorer Patton sent his side in on a commanding lead at the break 2-8 to 1-4 up.
MacCumhaills started the second half in the same rich vein of scoring form as they ended the first half with Patton firing low and hard to raise his second green flag of the game and tagged a point on also shortly after.
Thomas Hartnett put over a free and Richie Ryan converted a 65’ but MacCumhaills still led with a 10-point lead at this stage. PJ Browne hit four scores in the second half and traded a score with Patrick Loughmann but Dungloe would have to wait for their next score.
In a well contested second half which threatened to boil over at times frees were abundant for both sides with another two from Henderson further edging his side towards the final. Dungloe had another chance at goal when Thomas Hartnett smartly worked his free to Odhran McGonagle but Laverty was equal to the task in the MacCumhaills goal when called upon.
Three points from PJ Browne (two frees) finished the scoring out for the eventual winners with a brace of scores from Thomas Hartnett taking his tally to 0-4 for the day but it was to be MacCumhaills evening and spot in the final against Carndonagh.
Seán MacCumhaills scorers: Lee Henderson 0-7, 6f; Anthony Patton 2-1; PJ Browne 0-4, 2f; Jamie De Ward 0-3, Gavin Browne 1-0; Barry McGranaghan 0-1.
Dungloe scorers: Thomas Hartnett 0-4, 4f; James Hartnett 1-0; Sean O’Donnell, Brendan Boyle, James McCole, Patrick Loughman 0-1 each; Richie Ryan 0-1, 65.
Seán MacCumhaills: Del Laverty, Eoghan Wright, Christopher Gallagher, John Anthony Chambers, Aaron Toner, Conor Griffin, Orin McDermott, Kevin Kenny, Fintan Griffin, Gavin Browne, Barry McGranaghan, Lee Henderson; Anthony Patton, PJ Browne, Jamie DeWard
Dungloe: Ronan Mulligan, Eamonn McGarvey, Damien O’Sullivan, Sean O’Donnell, Cillian Bonner, Odhran McGonagle, Patrick Loughman, James McCole, Thomas Hartnett, Brendan Boyle, James Hartnett, Christian Bonner, Conor Diver, Richie Ryan, Shaun McGee
Referee: Aidan McAleer (Naomh Padraig UC)
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