Marty Boyle and Leo McLoone helped Naomh Conaill to semi-final victory at Healy Park
Naomh Conaill are looking forward to an Ulster Club championship final following a three point semi-final win over Monaghan champions Clontibret in Healy Park on Saturday night.
Naomh Conaill ……….. 0-12
Naomh Conaill were the better side and were in no way flattered by the three point winning margin.
They led by four points at half-time after being five up at one stage in the first half.
And they again led by six points at one stage in the second period after vintage performances from Leo McLoone, Eoghan McGettigan, Eoin Waide, Brendan McDyer, Ciaran and Anthony Thompson.
The Donegal champions, with Marty Boyle replacing Kieran Gallagher and Eoin Waide starting at centre-forward, got off to a great start.
They had a goal chance inside 40 seconds when Brendan McDyer cut through the Clontibret defence and his effort for goal came back off the butt of the upright to safety. He had done everything right and was just inches away.
Eoghan McGettigan and Conor McManus traded early points before Naomh Conaill reeled off five points without reply to lead 0-6 to 0-1 after 16 minutes.
Playing their trademark defensive game and hitting the opposition on the break Naomh Conaill were much the better side in the opening half hour.
And with the Clontibret defence struggling with the pace and direct running of Brendan McDyer, McGettigan, Eunan Doherty and Ciaran Thompson and Leo McLoone anchoring midfield the scores flowed for the blue and whites.
McGettigan added two more, one from play; Brendan McDyer, who was a real livewire in the opening half, Kevin McGettigan, Leo McLoone (who was playing like a man possessed) all scored for the Donegal champions.
Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí was given the marking job on Conor McManus and restricted the All-Star forward to one point from play.
Conor McManus responded with two pointed frees for the Monaghan champions as Naomh Conaill lost AJ Gallagher to a black card before McGettigan landed his fourth point of the half from a close-in free.
Gallagher qwas black carded after he slipped and dragged Vincent Corry to the ground. Naomh Conaill led by by four points at half-time (0-7 to 0-3) after their best first half of football so far in the season.
Ciaran Thompson extended the Naomh Conaill lead out to five points with a well struck point within two minutes of the restart.
But the Clontibret response was three points in the space of six minutes to make it a two point game by the 42 minute mark. McManus posted two of the points, both from placed balls, and Francis Hughes scored the other.
But Naomh Conaill were not going to be denied and they outscored Clontibret by four points to three in the closing ten minutes to book their place in the semi-final in two weeks’ time.
One of those was a magnificent strike from Ciaran Thompson with the outside of the left while Eoghan McGettigan continued to find the range.
NAOMH CONAILL: Stephen McGrath; Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí, AJ Gallagher, Kevin McGettigan (0-1); Ethan O’Donnell, Anthony Thompson, Ultan Doherty; Ciaran Thompson (0-3, 2f), Leo McLoone (0-1); Eunan Doherty, Eoin Waide, Marty Boyle; Brendan McDyer (0-1); Charles McGuinness, Eoghan McGettigan (0-6, 3f). Subs: Kieran Gallagher for AJ Gallagher 23, black card; Dermot Molloy for B McDyer 54; Stephen Molloy for C McGuinness 55; Dara Gallagher for E Doherty 61.
CLONTIBRET: Darren McDonnell; Conor Doyle, Conor Boyle, Liam Savage; Jack Gormley, Dessie Mone (0-1), Colum Greenan; Francis Hughes (0-1), Killian Lavelle; David Savage, Michael P O’Dowd, Brian Greenan; Pauric Boyle, Vincent Corry, Conor McManus (0-6, 5f). Subs: Ryan McGuigan for D Savage 23; Dean McDonnell for R McGuigan 50; Kieran Grennan for P Boyle 54, Darragh Hughes 0-1; for F Hughes 60.
REFEREE: Noel Mooney (Cavan)
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