Fresh from winning promotion to Division Two, Letterkenny Gaels got their Junior A Championship campaign off to a good start with a five point win over Naomh Padraig, Muff at Pairc na nGael on Sunday afternoon.
Letterkenny Gaels . . . 1-11
Naomh Padraig . . . 1-6
Played in incessant rain, these teams served up a close contest with the young Naomh Padraig side proving a difficult test for their opponents.
Naomh Padraig are in a play-off for promotion from Division Four, so they still have plenty to look forward to this season.
And they got off to a flyer in this championship clash when they found the net seconds into the game. A high dropping ball into the danger area was dropped by a Gaels defender and the ball ended up in the net.
To be fair to Letterkenny, their response was good and points from Conor McBrearty, Cormac Cannon and Brian Diver got them back on track.
The sides were level when Gaels were awarded a penalty. McBrearty appeared to be fouled just as he shot on goal and the same player picked himself up to fire to the net from the penalty.
It was the big moment of the game and Naomh Padraig could point to a very similar challenge that went unpunished when they were pressing for a late score of their own towards the finish.
There were five points between the sides at half time with Gaels leading 1-7 to 1-2.
But Naomh Padraig regrouped and scores from Joseph McCauley and Jonathan Toye ensured they would stay in touch.
Gaels weren’t helped when defender Kevin Kilkenny was shown a black card. But they kicked a couple of good scores to maintain their advantage on the scoreboard.
Going into the closing stages, Naomh Padraig continued to press and a Kevin Doherty score was just rewards for another period of pressure.
But two well taken late scores from Conor Walker and Ronan Frain saw Gaels over the line.
Letterkenny Gaels: Ryan Graham; Kevin Kilkenny, Conor Browne, Ray Quinn; Diarmuid Cahill, Darren Hunter, Brian Diver; Patrick Doherty, Ciaran Lynch; Sean McDonagh, Cormac Cannon, Conor Walker; Odhran McMacken, Conor McBrearty, Ronan Frain. Subs used; Kevin Langan, Dan Gallagher.
Naomh Padraig: Oran McCauley; Dylan McCallion, Dermot Keaveney, Patrick McGroddy; Rory Hirrell, Caolan Harkin, Jason McCallion; Drew McKinney, Eunan Keaveney; Joseph McCauley, Kevin Doherty, Oisin McCool; Caolan McColgan, Lee Barr, Jonathan Toye; Subs used: Cathal McColgan, Evan Craig, Mark Doherty.
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