AIB Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship
Dunloy 0-7 Dungloe 1-11
Saturday 12 November
Brendan McTaggart reports from Fr McGuigan Park, Ahoghill
For 30 minutes on Saturday afternoon, Dunloy dared to dream. Three points ahead at the short whistle having controlled much of the first half, the Cuchullains were well placed to cause an upset against the Donegal champions.
But the turnaround in the second half was bewildering. Dungloe dominated the middle third and put Dunloy under huge pressure. That three point lead was gone after just over five minutes.
Two controversial red cards for the Cuchullains and a major from substitute Damien McGowan ensured Dungloe powered to victory in the closing stages.
With a strong wind blowing mainly across the pitch, it was the Donegal men who made a bright start. Danny Rodgers leaving his position between the sticks to kick the opening score from a ’45 while Daire Gallagher doubled their score to leave them two clear after three minutes. That would be their last score for 20 minutes however as Dunloy grew into the game.
Playing quick ball into the forwards, their opening score from Nigel Elliott was quickly added to by Conal Cunning’s first of the game. Coby would give Dunloy the lead for the first time in the game in the 9th minute, his second of the match and a familiar pattern of play. Molloy with the assist and Coby coming out in front and evading the Dungloe challenges.
Frees apiece from Coby and Molloy took Dunloy into a three point lead before Dungloe scored their first from play. Rodgers long range free dropping short and Dunloy scrambled. Eoin McFerran looked like he was fouled as Dungloe pressed by the ball fell to Barry Curran who split the uprights with his first of the match.
Dunloy continued to control the game and after a period of possession they worked the angle for Keelan Molloy to fire his second point of the game and give them a three point lead at the short whistle.
It was the minimum the Cuchullains deserved for their first half efforts. Dungloe struggled with the movement of the Dunloy attack while the Cuchullains were winning more than their share of ball in the middle third.
The second half belonged to the Donegal champions however. They upped their intensity and physicality while playing with power and precision in attack. The Dunloy lead was eradicated inside six minutes with Sweeney, Barry Curran and Daniel Ward (free) bringing the Donegal men back on terms.
Dunloy were under huge pressure and looking to ride out the Dungloe storm. While Dungloe were dominant, Dunloy were defending well and putting them under pressure where possible. The Donegal men had just retaken the lead in the 49th minute when the referee took centre stage. Substitute Caolan Gillan seeing red for an innocuous challenge. Referee Anthony Marron saw things differently, deeming Gillan to have landed on top of the Dungloe player with intent and issuing a red card.
The Cuchullains barely had time to reorganise when they were dealt another hammer blow. Conor Kinsella involved in an off the ball incident with Daire Gallagher. There didn’t look to be much in the incident, both players ending up on the turf at different times but Marron issued Kinsella a second yellow card having consulted with his umpires and the Dungloe man walked free.
The closing minutes belonged to the Donegal men, making the numerical advantage count, Two points within 60 seconds from Sweeney and Barry Curran was followed by the only goal of the game. A long ball from Sweeney was deflected into the path of Daniel Ward who played Damien McGowan through on goal. He made no mistake to fire beyond Chrissy Brogan in the Dunloy goal to ultimately seal their place in the next round.
Sweeney’s fourth point of the half was followed closely by Daire Gallagher’s second free to leave it 1-8 without reply for Dungloe and giving them an eight point lead in the last minute of the hour.
Dunloy looked for goals with a number of frees dropping on the edge of the square but all they could show for their efforts was a free from substitute Anthony Smith.
Dungloe progress as Dunloy faltered in the second half. Not the ending of the season they would have wanted in the big ball but the vast majority of the squad cast their minds towards the Ulster Club hurling final in three weeks time.
Dunloy: Chrissy Brogan; James Scally, Aaron Crawford, Conor Kinsella; Oran Quinn, Kevin McQuillan, Anton McGrath; Ryan McGarry, Eoin McFerran; Nigel Elliott, Eoin Gillan, Chrissy McMahon; Conal Cunning, Keelan Molloy, Seaan Elliott
Subs: Ciaran McQuillan for A McGrath (22); Caolan Gillan for C McMahon (HT); Michael Smith for E Gillan (42); Anthony Smith for E McFerran (56)
Scorers: C Cunning 0-3 (1f); K Molloy 0-2 (1f); N Elliott 0-1; A Smith 0-1 (1f)
Dungloe: Danny Rodgers; Jason McBride, Chrissy Greene, Gerard Walsh; Mark Curran, Conor O’Donnell, Karl Magee; Darren Curran, Barry Curran; Dyan Sweeney, Daire Gallagher, Matthew Ward; Ryan Brennan, Daniel Ward, Aaron Ward
Subs: Damien McGowan for M Ward (45); Jordan Saville for J McBride (57); Noel McBride for M Curran (57); Darren O’Donnell for D Sweeney (57); Rory McLaughlin for D Gallagher (60); Ciaran Sharkey for D Ward (60)
Scorers: D Sweeney 0-4; B Curran 0-3; D McGowan 1-00; D Gallagher 0-2 (2f); D Ward 0-1 (1f); D Rodgers 0-1 (1’45)
Referee: Anthony Marron (Monaghan)