BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: Gaoth Dobhair and Naomh Conaill serve up an epic encounter

BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: Gaoth Dobhair and Naomh Conaill serve up an epic encounter

Full marks to Gaoth Dobhair and Naomh Conaill for Sunday’s county final replay. Let me begin by stating it was a much better game than the drawn game the week before.

Fair play, the two teams went at it hammer and tongues from Jimmy White’s first whistle to his last in extra-time. It was the type of game that nobody deserved to lose and nobody deserved to win either; a draw was a fair result.

I have often seen it, the worst thing is to get an early goal. Naomh Conaill got it on Sunday and they struggled for a long time after to hit their next score.

The game really ebbed and flowed. Naomh Conaill came back twice from behind when they looked gone and yet it was Gaoth Dobhair who had to draw at the end.

As for the replay it is really hard to call. There is very little between the teams and it is going to be the usual who gets the lucky break, the rub of the green and maybe a referee’s call that will eventually come out on top in the end.

Overall it was a good game and though the crowd was down 1,300 on the previous week there was a good atmosphere and I have to say I really enjoyed it. It was a tough, hard game but played in a good spirit and was well refereed by Jimmy White and it was a really good advertisement for the game in the county.

Odhrán Mac Niallais was man of the match and the best player on the field even though he drove a penalty over the bar.

He got a run for his money for the award from Ciaran Thompson, who also had a very good game for Naomh Conaill.

Ciaran’s brother Anthony also had a good steady game while Ethan O’Donnell also had a fine game and the Brick Molloy kicked two good points and made an impact.

Dáire Ó Baoill was not as effective while Eamon McGee and Kevin Cassidy played a bit below the previous week. Eamon spent all last week in New York which would not be the best preparation for a county final.

Likewise Kevin Cassidy was in Castlebar with the Underdogs on Saturday night. It would not have been the best way to prepare for a big game.

I also heard a number of the Gaoth Dobhair boys were at a Glasgow Celtic game during the week too.

After Odhrán Mac Niallais, Michael Carroll had a fine game and was Gaoth Dobhair’s next best player.

Looking forward to the replay, first and foremost; hopefully it is another good game. And as for who will win that is the six million dollar question and is really difficult to call.

But it is a game I’m really looking forward to. The winners, whenever they emerge, will have very little time to prepare for the Ulster club championship, which is very unfortunate. They are away to the Cavan champions, Castlerahan, next Sunday.

Meanwhile good luck to St Nauls and Buncrana, who are also out in Ulster next weekend.

Mention of Ulster hard look to Naomh Muire and Termon Ladies, who lost in Ulster on Sunday.

Finally, for those of you in the south of the county and in West Fermanagh that are doing your shopping early for Christmas, Gerry McLaughlin’s publication Fermanagh Greats would make a great stocking filler.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack

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