Milford footballers will sleep a little easier tonight following today's six point win over Dungloe in their crunch relegation play-off final this afternoon in Donnell Park.
The result means Milford will play in the senior championship next season while it also brought an end to Dungloe's 33 year run in the county’s premier championship.
And followers of the famous red and white jerseys can have little complaint, they were well beaten by a stronger and more physical Milford side.
In their defence Dungloe have been dogged by injury this season. Experienced defender Darren Curran suffered a cruciate injury in the group stages; midfielder Matthew Ward missed the game with a broken collar bone and his brother Daniel did nor start and was only introduced for the second half due to a hamstring injury.
Ward, scorer of 28 points in Dungloe’s five championship games, was clearly hampered by the injury and struggled to make an impact and did not score.
Rory O’Donnell scored the goal that separated the sides at the half-time break and proved to be the game’s decisive score. O’Donnell netted in first half injury time shortly after Caolan Ward with his second point of the half tied up the game at 0-3 each.
Ward had opened the scoring inside two minutes as Dungloe took the game to the Milford men.
And captain Mark Curran was denied a goal chance with a top drawer save from Sean Gallagher in the Milford goals. Gallagher stood his ground to deny Curran from five metres.
That was on five minutes and two minutes later the sides were level after the towering Rory O’Donnell powered forward to split the post for a super individual point.
Cathal McGettigan doubled Milford’s lead shortly after with a close-in free and they were two up by the 20 minute mark.
Dungloe did finish the half strong with Noel McBride and Caolan Ward points to tie up the game by the half hour mark.
And just when it looked like they were going into the break on level terms they were rocked with the O’Donnell goal.
The big midfielder raced onto Ronan Docherty’s cross to fire past Danny Rodgers for a 1-3 to 0-3 lead.
Ronan Docherty extended the Milford lead with a fine point on the resumption.
Dungloe, courtesy of strikes from Daire Gallagher, Caolan Ward and Noel McBride, twice reduced the margin to two in the second period. .
But with Kane and Christopher Barrett finding the range, Milford were three up again, 1-6 to 0-6, by the second water break.
With Dungloe forced to go for it the cracks began to appear at the back and with Kane Barrett upping his game Milford were on their way with a little over ten minutes remaining.
While a lot of heads were down the Rosses men did battle to the finish and they were rewarded with late points from Mark Curran, Ryan Connors and Danny Rodgers.
But Kane Barrett had the final say with two injury time points for a six point win.
DUNGLOE: Danny Rodgers (0-1,f); Jack Scally, Chris Greene, Jason McBride; Caolan Ward (0-3), Mark Curran (0-1), Barry Curran; Noel McBride (0-1,f), Shaun Wallace; Dylan Boyle, Daire Gallagher (0-1), David McCarron; Ryan Connors (0-1) , Sean McGee (0-1), Conor O’Donnell. Subs: Daniel Ward for Dylan Boyle h/t; Christopher Boyle for J Scally 32; Adam McCafferty for D Gallagher 42.
MILFORD: Sean Gallagher; Conor Coll, Peter Curran, T J Evesson; Ronan Docherty (0-1), Gavin Grier, Dylan Dorrian; Ryan McMahon, Rory O’Donnell (1-1); Luke Barrett, Christopher Barrett (0-1)), Cathal McGettigan (0-2,f,fm); Darragh Black., Kane Barrett (0-6,2f), Matthew McLaughlin. Subs: Conor McHugh for G Grier 39; Martin Doyle (0-1) for M McLaughlin 46. Padraig Curley for D Black, 51.
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