St Mary’s, Convoy  too strong for Na Dúnaibh in Junior Championship final

St Mary’s, Convoy  too strong for Na Dúnaibh in Junior Championship final

St Mary's Convoy celebrate Junior success Picture: Geraldine Diver

St Mary’s,Convoy are Donegal Junior football champions once again following this afternoon’s final win over Downings, at a very wet MacCumhaill Park.

St Mary’s …………..3-10

Na Dúnaibh …………. 1-3

The win ends a fifteen year barren harvest for St Mary’s who had lost the last three semi-finals. 

As the 13-point winning margin suggests there was no great argument about it. The champions were the better team against an experienced and seasoned Na Dúnaibh side who were champions last in 2016.  

The wet conditions suited the bigger and physically stronger Convoy men. MacCumhaill Park passed a late pitch inspection due to the heavy overnight and morning rain. It also rained continuously throughout the game.  

St Mary’s, after a nervous opening couple of minutes, got off to the better start and led 0-4 to 0-1 at the first water break. Joe McGill hit three points from placed balls and one a superb strike from all of 40 metres close to the sideline on the stand side of the field. Paddy Dolan stroked over the other from just outside the D. 

Johnny McGroddy on three minutes raised the Downings’ white flag from close on 40 metres after he had been fouled. 

Johnny McGroddy’s searing pace proved an early handful for  St Mary’s. But the tenacity of John Doherty and a well organised defence system meant McGroddy and Na Dúnaibh had little to show for their early efforts.

St Mary’s, physically stronger and bigger, settled and once they overcame the early nerves they began to exert their influence and won the crucial frees to set up the scoring opportunities. 

Two goals in quick succession, inside two minutes turned the tie very much in favour of St Mary’s, as they opened up an eight point lead, 2-4 to 0-2.  

Paul O’Leary flashed the first past John McGroddy after John Toye dispossessed a Na Dúnaibh defender. That was on 20 minutes and two minutes later McGroddy was plucking the ball out of the back of his net for a second time.

Packie Mailey rose highest in the Na Dúnaibh goalmouth to flick a long range centre from his midfielder partner Raymond McNamee for goal number two.

With  confidence high, St Mary’s Joe McGill and Mailey added to their tally 

And they had one hand on the Dr McCloskey Cup, as they led 2-9 to 0-3, with a little over 12 minutes gone in the new half. 

In the deteriorating conditions the game really fizzled out in the second half. And with Na Dúnaibh heads down Joe McGill and Packie Mailey added points for the winners and Johnny McGroddy converted a close in free for Downings. This was Na Dúnaibh only point of the second half.

Na Dúnaibh finished the game with 14 men after Caolan McGroddy picked up a late black card. 

The pulse of the game also rose in the closing minutes as referee Eugene McHale awarded two late penalties. Johnny McGroddy converted for Na Dúnaibh on the hour mark and Joe Gill brought his tally for the day when he converted from the spot, deep in injury time. 

NAOMH MHUIRE: Liam Mailey; Dean Bonner; John A Kee, Michael Patton; Ronan Donnellan, John Doherty, Bryan McNamee; Raymond McNamee, Packie Mailey (1-1); Paddy Dolan (0-2,2f), Laurence McMullan, Paul O’Leary (1-1); Joseph McGill (1-6,1-0 pen, 6f), John Toye, Peter Blake. Subs: Conor McDermott for R Donnellan, Anthony Browne for P O’Leary 38; Thomas McHugh for J Toye 53; Keelan Gillen for P Blake 55; Liam Toye for P Mailey 59.   

NA DÚNAIBH: John McGroddy; Max Davis, Oisin Boyce, Ben McNutt; Paddy McGinty, Alan Pasoma, Kevin Doherty; Ronan Gallagher, Caolan McGroddy, Johnny McGroddy (1-2,1 2f), Lorcan Connor (0-1); Gary McClafferty, Sean Boyce, Kyle McFadden. Subs: Danny McBride for S Boyce 23; Eric Roberts for K McFadden 32; Finghin McClafferty for P McGinty 45; Naoise Cullen for J L McBride 49; Hugo Davis for M Davis, 54.     

REFEREE: Eugene McHale (Bundoran)

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