Milford's Rory O'Donnell rises above Stuart Johnston of St Naul's at Moyle View. Photo Bob Perry
Early goals from Shane Conneely and Martin Breslin in Milford and a brilliant first half laid the foundations for St Naul’s to reach a first ever Donegal SFC quarter-final.
St Naul’s 2-16
In only their second year back in the top bracket, St Naul’s put on a scintillating showing at Moyle View, with 10 different scorers over the hour and were safe enough in the ascendency 12 up at half-time just to see it out afterwards.
Conneely was on hand to poke home from close range on three minutes when Lorcan Friel failed to gather a long-range free from Peadar Mogan that was dropping short.
That put the Mountcharles side 1-1 to 0-0 in front and then on 13 minutes Mogan played in Breslin on the run to tuck past Shane Gallagher in the Milford goal for a smooth second.
At 2-3 to 0-3 in front in the first quarter, things were falling into place for St Naul’s just as they’d have dreamed the night beforehand. Two wins from their opening three fixtures meant they were in a solid enough position, one that was further cemented with a 2-4 to 0-3 lead at the water-break.
Milford at that stage had mustered only three Keane Barrett frees, whilst St Naul’s had six different scorers - with Thomas White, Ian Campbell, Mogan and Stephen Griffin adding to their goals.
Friel’s 17th minute point was Milford’s first from play, only for it to be overshadowed by a brilliant Mogan score a minute later from out the left.
St Naul’s, in the second quarter, were flying, with points from a Griffin free, a sweet Conneely effort and Daniel Meehan and Barry Griffin joining the party making for a 2-10 to 0-4 half-time lead. Andrew Gallagher and Brendan McCready’s St Naul’s had kicked six in a row.
Three Milford points - two Kane Barrett frees and one from Christopher Barrett - marked a much improved Milford spell, with the visitors only managing one score from Mogan, in the 46th minute, in quarter three. It was 2-11 to 0-7 when the water bottles were flung out again.
With the sting gone out of it, Kane Barrett’s quickly-taken free struck the base of the St Naul’s post. Meehan, Cathal Lowther and Mogan added points at the other end. Milford’s chance to grab a goal was thwarted by Brendan McCole in the last minute, saving on the line from Rory O’Donnell.
Milford: Shaun Gallagher; Shay Durning, Peter Curran, Eoin O’Donnell; Ronan Docherty, TJ Evesson, Gavin Grier; Ryan McMahon, Lorcan Friel (0-1); Rory O’Donnell, Christopher Barrett (0-1), Paddy Ferry (0-1); Tony McNamee, Kane Barrett (0-5, 5f), Dylan Dorrian (0-1). Subs: Matthew Stewart for Dovherty (58)
St Naul’s: Gavin Mulreany; John Relihan, Barry Griffin (0-1), Brendan McCole; Diarmuid Gallagher, Kyle Cambell, Thomas White (0-2); Stuart Johnston (0-1), Stephen Griffin (0-3, 2f); Martin Breslin (1-0), Shane Connelly (1-1), Michael Coughlan; Daniel Meehan (0-2) Peadar Mogan (0-4, 2f), Ian Campbell (0-1). Subs: Cathal Lowther (0-1) for K Campbell (7), Daniel Brennan for I Campell (47), Joseph Campbell for Conneely (51), Lee McCabe for Meehan (54).
Referee: Enda McFeely (St Mary’s, Convoy)
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