Cian Mac a'tSaoi receiving the man of the match award Picture: Martin McGlone
A devastating second half display saw Donegal champions Gaoth Dobhair overcome the challenge of Tyrone champions Ardboe in the final Paul McGirr Ulster Club Champions quarter final, keeping their opponents scoreless for the final 28 minutes.
Gaoth Dobhair 2-12
Up until that stage a gallant Ardboe who were missing their midfield colossus Michael Forbes were very much in the game, but once Gaoth Dobhair who have been out of action since they won the Donegal title in July shook off their ring rustiness there was no doubting the final outcome.
Stiofan Mac Pháidín with six points from play from midfield was their scorer in chief but it was the performance of Eamon Mac Giolla Bhríde at full back and wing backs Darragh Ó Fearraigh and Johnny Ó Dónaill who were the driving force in the Gaeltacht men’s victory.
Mac Pháidín got into his stride early with the first point before Ardboe keeper Conall Quinn pulled off a superb save to deny Aodhan Mac Gabhann a certain goal. Midfield pairing Cormac Devlin and Jack Martin who were on top for most of the first half notched three points between them to put the lough shore side ahead for the first time and only time. Fionnán Mac Giolla Chomhaill with two fine efforts and another from Mac Pháidín put Gaoth Dobhair back in front with a Martin free levelling matters just before half time as the game remained finely balanced.
Playing with the aid of a slight breeze in the second half as weather conditions deteriorated Ghaoth Dobhair stepped on the gas as the Ardboe rearguard struggled to cope with the constant bombardment from their opponents.
An Eoghan Devlin point from distance in response a Cian Mac a'tSaoi effort at the start of the half was to be Ardboe’s final score. Two points from Mac Pháidín and one from Cathal De Burca put their side three up before the two deciding moments came with minutes of each other. Raiding nan of the match Darragh Ó Fearraigh goaled after being put through by Mac Giolla Chomhaill and this was emulated shortly after with his fellow wing back Ó Dónaill getting his sides second goal from close range.
Cormac Devlin and Seadhna Hanna defended well for Ardboe but there was little they could do as Gaoth Dobhair were dominating the proceedings. Rian Ó Dochartaigh and Mac Pháidín tagged on a brace of points apiece as the Donegal lads progressed to the semi final much to the delight of joint managers John Burke and Michael Ó Fearraigh.
‘We are delighted with today’s result especially the second half performance’ commented Ó Fearraigh ‘You could see in the first half that we hadn’t played much lately and we really needed that half to settle down. I think in the second half the boys showed what they’re capable of and what Tom Beag has been working on in training all year.
“It was tough on a young Ardboe team to lose their main man and it’s never easy to come in after the highs of winning the county title last weekend but they matched us well for two thirds of the match. It was a great experience today and the lads will take great confidence from it. The whole set up in Dromore was brilliant and we look forward to the return next Saturday for the semi against a massively talented Burren team. Táimid fíor bhróduil as na gasuraí’. Gaoth Dobhair now progress to meet Down champions Burren in what promises to be a great semi-final next Saturday.
GAOTH DOBHAIR: Donal Ó Rabhartaigh, Aaron Mac Aoidh, Eamon Mac Giolla Bhríde, Séan Ó Gallachóir, Darragh Ó Fearraigh (1-0), Cian Mac a'tSaoi (0-1), Johnny Ó Dónaill (1-0), Séan Noel Mac Pháidín, Stiofan Mac Pháidín (0-6), Ronan Ó hEifearnáin, Fionnán Mac Giolla Chomhaill (0-2), Rian Ó Dochartaigh (0-2), Aodhan Mac Gabhann, Cathal De Burca (0-1), Niall Ó Doráin. Subs: Pauric Mac an Gheimhridh for De Burca, Caolan Ó Fearraigh for Mac a'tSaoi, Adam Mac Íomhar for Ó Dochartaigh, Seighean Ó Baoill for Mac Gabhann
ARDBOE: Conall Quinn, Ciaran Duffy, Darragh Devlin, Seadhna Hanna, Conan Devlin, Shea O’Hare, Jamie Quinn, Cormac Devlin (0-1), Jack Martin (0-3, 1f), Sean O’Hare, Daniel Quinn, Odhran McMurray, Fintan O’Neill, Eoghan Devlin (0-1), AJ McCann. Subs: Shea Quinn for McCann
REFEREE: Sean Laverty (Antrim)
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email firstname.lastname@example.org To contact Donegal Post, email email@example.com To contact Inish Times, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.