Stephen O'Donnell clears a Donegal Town FC attack during the Donegal League Div 1 game in Donegal Town on Sunday. Photo Thomas Gallagher INDD 200217 Donegal v Cappry TG4
Donegal Town - Cappry Rovers - 20/02/17
McLaughlin’s late strike earns Cappry a precious point
Brendan McLaughlin saved the day for Cappry Rovers and earned his team a share of the points in the top of the table clash with Donegal Town in the Temple Domestic Division One League.
Donegal Town 1
Cappry Rovers 1
In a cracking contest played at the Hospital Field in Donegal Town, McLaughlin scored in the 89th minute to tie up the game after a frantic closing 15 minutes.
Conor McMonagle had given the locals the lead 17 minutes earlier when he drove past Conor McBride in the Cappry goals after Stephen Graham’s shot from outside the box was blocked by a defender.
Up to that both sides had chances but they were few and far between in a game in which two well marshalled defences gave very little away.
Darren McGowan and Darren O’Leary were rock solid at the centre of the Cappry defence .Danny McGarrigle and Stephen Rodden were in equally miserly mood at the other end for Donegal Town.
With five points between the sides at the top of the table, Cappry, ahead with four games remaining the game, will be happier with the result.
Donegal applied early pressure and had a couple of goal chances in the opening four minutes. McMonagle was over the top with what must go down as a chance inside the first minute. And Declan Brown grazed McBride’s right hand post three minutes later.
However, with Paddy McNulty strong in the air around the middle third and Alan Gethins and Gerard Melaugh raiding on the flanks, Cappry settled.
And for a time they dominated the game and forced three corners before Gethins went close on the quarter hour mark with the visitors’ first clear chance.
Cappry more or less dominated the remainder of the half with Donegal Town confined to sporadic raids. On one of those raids Joe McIntyre, who caused the Cappry defence problems right through the game, went close on 24 minutes to break the deadlock.
But he just pulled his effort wide after good approach play and a neat pass from Daniel McHugh.
The sides were level at half-time and of the two managers, Paul McHugh of Donegal Town would have been the happy to get his side to the dressing room for a chat.
Donegal did up their game on the resumption and in a reversal of the first half, it was the locals who applied the pressure.
McMonagle had an early chance which tailed wide and
McIntyre drew a brilliant save from Conor McBride from a free way out on the right hand side.
But the young Cappry keeper was equal to it and he turned away from going into the top right corner.
McGrory and Daniel McHugh also tested McBride with stinging efforts from long range as Donegal Town went in pursuit of the breakthrough score.
McMonagle scored shortly after for the 1-0 lead. But this seemed to be the cue for Cappry to up their game again as they chased the equaliser.
Seamus Doherty, the Cappry manager made a number of changes. Just before McMonagle’s goal, he introduced Tyrone inter-county full-back Ronan McNamee to the middle of the field.
And shortly after the goal another of the current Tyrone panel Ronan McHugh was also brought in.
With Donegal sitting back defending in numbers Cappry mounted wave after wave of attack and Eamon McGinley, the Donegal Town keeper earned his keep with a number of tidy saves.
And second half substitute Stephen Curren cleared off the line before McLaughlin turned in a crowded goal mouth to squeeze the ball past McGinley for the equaliser.
The result means that Cappry remain five points clear of Donegal Town who are in second place with three games remaining.
DONEGAL TOWN; Eamon McGinley; Brighton (Stephen Curneen h/t), Danny McGarrigle, Stephen Rodden, Declan Brown, Raymie McGrory, Ben Sweeney, Stephen Graham, Daniel McHugh, Conor McMonagle, Joe McIntyre.
CAPPRY ROVERS: Conor McBride; Aaron Kelly, Darren McGowan, Darren O’Leary, Gavin Reilly; Stephen McDermott (Ronan McNamee 63), Alan Gethins (Leo Gallagher 91), Patrick McNulty, Gerard Melaugh (Ronan McHugh 76), Calvin Bradley, Brendan McLaughlin.
REFEREE: James Malseed.
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