Naomh Conaill ease to victory despite late Killybegs surge

Naomh Conaill never in any danger in Group B opener

Naomh Conaill v Killybegs

Hugh McFadden about to set up an attack during Sunday's game in Glenties

There is no substitute for experience, power and panache as those grizzled Glenties gladiators showed in a comprehensive win over youthful Killybegs on Sunday.

Naomh Conaill  . . . 1-15

Killybegs  . . . 1-9 

And the final six points margin actually flatters the Fishermen as the winners seemed to switch off when they led by 1-14 to 0-5 with ten minutes to go.

But a late John Ban Gallagher goal only put a slight gloss on this pretty one-sided affair where Glenties also hit nine wides.

Killybegs came to the recently flooded Davy Memorial Park with all the hope and exuberance of youth, let by the ebullient Hugh McFadden.

But they would need to have loads of things going right for them for a shock result.

That was a huge question to ask of a team fielding nine U-22’s. 

And their already strong squad has been bolstered by the fact that their mercurial speed machine Eoghan McGettigan has come back much stronger from his experience under Declan Bonner.

It was always going to be a huge task for a Killybegs side who have improved immensely under the coaching nous of the eternally vocal Rory Gallagher.

They needed to have a good start to have any chance of an upset and they had a pretty encouraging start - edging into a 0-2 to 0-0 lead after just five minutes.

Michael Statham arced over a fine left-footed point to get them off the mark with the lively Mickey Gallagher doubling that lead.

But they were not to score again for 20 minutes, as a vastly superior Glenties gradually asserted themselves.

It took the home side a while to settle, but they looked ominous when they did.

Anthony Thompson steadied nerves with a fine point on the 14th and full forward Charles McGuinness levelled matters from a free two minutes later.

It was all Glenties at this stage with Hugh McFaddne under a lot of pressure for Killybegs.

Jeaic MacCeallbhui and Eoghan McGettigan put the home side two points up by the 20th minute, but they had also posted three wides in the same period.

Anthony Thompson, Ciaran Thompson and Charles McGuinness eased Glenties into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead by the 25th minute.

On a breakaway Hugh McFadden pointed from a free and Mickey Gallagher made the score 0-7 to 0-4 four minutes from the break.

The home side continued to be wasteful and hit three more wides but nailed two points from McGuinness and McGettigan to go in ahead by 0-9 to 0-4 at the break.

But they will be less happy with the second half and especially the final quarter when a late Killybegs revival saw the winners outscored by 1-5 to 0-1.

But the foundations had been well laid by the 5th minute when substitute Kieran Gallagher shovelled an Anthony Thompson attempt at a point to the net to put Glenties into a 1-14 to 0-5 lead.

The brilliant Brendan McDyer had hit three superb points early in the second half to push Glenties well clear.

However, Killybegs were not finished yet and a John Ban effort ended up in the Glenties net in the 22nd minute.

The Fishermen had the final few scores from McFadden and Paul Cunningham to put a slightly flattering complexion on matters.  

NAOMH CONAILL: Stephen McGrath; Hughie Gallagher, A J Gallagher, Ultan Doherty; Ethan O’Donnell, Anthony Thompson (0-2) Eoin Waide; Ciaran Thompson (0-1), Jeaic Mac Ceallbhui (0-1); Marty Boyle, Eoghan McGettigan (0-2), Brendan McDyer (0-4); Dermot Molloy, Charles McGuinness (0-4, 3f) Leo McLoone (0-1). Subs: Kieran Gallagher (1-0) for Marty Boyle (h-time), Seamus Corcoran for Ethan O’Donnell, Nathan Byrne for Dermot Molloy (54), Ethan O’Donnell for Eoin Waide (61). 

KILLYBEGS: Kevin Martin; Cilian Gildea, Ciaran Conaghan, Paul McGinley; John Ban Gallagher (1-0) Jack McSherry, Ryan Carr; Hugh McFadden (0-2f), Christpher Murrin; Michael Statham (0-1), Daniel Breslin, Mickey Gallagher (0-3); Ryan Cunningham, Paul Cunningham (0-2), Conor Cunningham.

Subs: Eavan Broderick for Conor Cunningham, Shaun Gorrell (0-1) for Michael Statham.

Referee: Robbie O’Donnell (Naomh Muire)

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