Naomh Conaill crowned new Donegal champions after three-game saga with Gaoth Dobhair

Following the second Donegal SFC final replay, the Glenties side lifted the title tonight.

Gweedore's Niall MacAoidh and Naomh Conaill's Charles McGuinness compete for a high ball.
Gweedore's Niall MacAoidh and Naomh Conaill's Charles McGuinness compete for a high ball.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

Naomh Conaill 0-8

Gaoth Dobhair 0-7

Alan Foley reports from Ballybofey 

ULSTER CHAMPIONS GAOTH DOBHAIR were pipped by a disputed point from Naomh Conaill’s John O’Malley in the last minute as the Donegal SFC final trilogy came to a conclusion in dramatic fashion.

O’Malley, who had only been on the field 10 minutes, saw his shot sneak towards the angle of post and upright and Gaoth Dobhair claimed wide in the second replay. However, referee Seamus McGonagle and his umpires decided the ball had gone over. 

Gaoth Dobhair were then reduced to 13 men when Odhran McFadden-Ferry was sent to the line for a high challenge on 17-year-old Nathan Byrne, joining Eamon McGee in getting dismissed.

An altercation before half-time took place and just before the play was about to resume for the second half, McGee was red-carded for a strike on Eoin Waide, the Naomh Conaill wing-back, who was named as a substitute due to a hamstring injury, as the teams had left the field at half-time. 

For Naomh Conaill, Charles McGuinness had opened things with two frees and Ciaran Thompson added a 45 before Leo McLoone and Ethan O’Donnell were on the mark.

Martin Regan’s team shaded the first half and despite being three points up at a stage, had to be content with a 0-5 to 0-4 interval lead as Gaoth Dobhair’s Cian Mulligan and Michael Carroll doubled their own personal tallies.

After an 0-8 to 0-8 draw last Sunday week, the teams couldn’t be separated in Sunday’s replay when things once again finished all square, 0-14 to 1-11, after extra-time.

The second half began in tetchy fashion and it took 11 minutes for a score, which was immediately followed by another, with Naomh Conaill registering both – Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí and Ciaran Thompson profiting.

Carroll’s third of the night, on 48 minutes, was Gaoth Dobhair’s first second-half score. That was followed by Odhran Mac Niallais’s first score and Gaoth Dobhair were back to within striking distance, 0-7 to 0-6 down. However, when Carroll was black-cared five minutes from time, it was another blow to Mervyn O’Donnell’s team.

But Eamonn Collum levelled it up with a 59th-minute free, only for O’Malley to have the final word. It was the only thing that separated Naomh Conaill and Gaoth Dobhair after 200 minutes over three matches.

With Cavan champions Castlerahan awaiting in the quarter-final of the Ulster Club SFC this Sunday, Naomh Conaill will be weary as they make their way to Breffni Park. However, that is a problem for another day as the Dr Maguire Cup is on its way to Glenties for the fourth time.

Scorers for Gaoth Dobhair: Michael Carroll 0-3, Cian Mulligan 0-2, O MacNiallais 0-1, Eamonn Collum 0-1 (1f)

Scorers for Naomh Conaill: Charlie McGuinness 0-2 (2f), Ciaran Thompson 0-2 (45), Leo McLoone, Ethan O’Donnell, Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí and John O’Malley 0-1

Gaoth Dobhair

1 – Christopher Sweeney

2 – Gary McFadden
3 – Neil McGee
18 – Seaghan Ferry

5 – Niall Friel
6 – Dan McBride
7 – Dáire Ó Baoill

8 – Michael Carroll
9 – Eamon McGee

10 – Odhrán McFadden-Ferry
11 – Odhrán Mac Niallais
12 – Naoise Ó Baoill

13 – Cian Mulligan
14 – Kevin Cassidy
21 – Gavin McBride

Subs: James Ó Baoill for G McBride (34), Peter McGee for Ferry (51), E Collum for Carroll (55, black card)

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Naomh Conaill

1 – Stephen McGrath

2 – Ultan Doherty
3 – AJ Gallagher
4 – Kevin McGettigan

5 – Ethan O’Donnell
24 – Anthony Thompson
17 – Marty Boyle

8 – Ciaran Thompson
9 – Leo McLoone

10 – Brendan McDyer
11 – Eoghan McGettigan
12 – Eunan Doherty

13 – Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí
14 – Charles McGuinness
15 – Kieran Gallagher

Subs: Stephen Molloy for Boyle (39), Dermot Molloy for McDyer (43), Nathan Byrne for McGuinness (47), John O’Malley for Mac Ceallabhuí (50),Boyle for K Gallagher (57), Hughie Gallagher for McGettigan (60+4)

Referee: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh)

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Alan Foley

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