John Mitchels' Niall Carroll in action earlier in the championship. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Anglo Printers Junior Football Quarter Final
JOHN MITCHELS 1-15
CUCHULAINN GAELS 0-04
John Mitchels had no room for sentiment as they put Cuchulainn Gaels to the sword on a night the Omeath based side made history in by playing in their first Junior Championship knockout game in Darver.
Mitchels had their goalkeeper David Anderson to thank with three outstanding saves at the right time to thwart the underdogs best efforts. The last save was possibly the best save at the end of the game to deny Chris McQuaid but the penalty was the most poignant.
With Cuchulainn working so hard to stay in the game at the latter end of the first half, they were handed a lifeline when Michéal McCabe was fouled for a penalty and up stepped Raymond Phillips to take the pressure kick.
Anderson held his ground and saved with his knees and the opposition’s deflation could be felt all around the centre of Excellence. In the opening quarter Anderson made himself big to stop Jordan Loye. Gaels needed to take any of those chances to have a chance.
To make matters worse, Mitchel's in contrast were very accurate going forward in the last of the Junior Quarter finals. Gareth Kane’s goal just before halftime killed the game off as a contest, especially due to the toll the misses took on Paul Sharkey’s plucky Cuchulainn Gaels outfit.
A competitive opening quarter saw Michéal McCabe land two points but John Gallagher, Carl Courtney, Gareth Kane and the outstanding Trevor Matthews all opened their accounts.
Having sized up their opponents, Gerry Gallagher and Des Halpenny’s side upped the gears in the run to half time. Despite the penalty scare, Mitchels were able to stop themselves being turned over and attack down the flanks better through Mark Gorman and Matthews.
Inevitably Matthews would find John Gallagher inside time after time and Gallagher’s mark typified that. McCabe then added another free to leave four in it and there was a feeling that this game could be close as a result.
However Gareth Kane removed any doubts by blasting to the net after being teed up nicely by midfielder Courtney to make it 1-7 to 0-3 at the turn. An air of inevitability was felt at that half time break.
Jordan Loye showed character to come back after his earlier goal chance to land the first score of the second half but it would prove to be Cuchulainn’s only score of the second half.
John Gallagher then rattled off three scores in a row. Gallagher nailed a ’45 and with that confidence there after he bore right down the heart of the Gaels defence to twice point and push the game well and beyond their fellow Division 3B side.
Having gotten to this stage by playing only one game in the group stages, the Mitchels looked to their bench to get some game time. The two Coyle’s Robbie and Steven came in with telling impacts along with Leigh Ross.
Coyle would find the target with a free and Mark Gorman would be rewarded for a steady display with the final point of the game. The men from Ballybailie made the semi final stages last season and they will look to go beyond that stage this season against Na Piarsaigh next time out.
JOHN MITCHELS: David Anderson; Anthony Coyle, Niall Carroll, Aaron Kane; Mark Gorman (0-1), Emmett Farrell, Conor Reilly; Carl Courtney (0-2), James Clarke; Andrew Bingham, Trevor Matthews (0-3), Kevin Gallagher; John Bingham; John Gallagher (0-6, 0-1 45’, 0-1 mark), Gareth Kane (1-2). Subs Leigh Ross for Reilly (HT), Steven Coyle for Gareth Kane (44), Michael Quinn for Anthony Coyle (46), Robbie Coyle (0-1 free) for Kevin Gallagher (50), Stephen Bingham for John Gallagher (57).
CUCHULAINN GAELS: Ciaran Connolly; Brendan McKeown, Calum Fearon, Peter Morgan; John Morgan, Martin Hynes, Seamus McCabe; Micheál McCabe (0-3, 0-2 frees), Francis O’Hagan; Jordan Loye (0-1), Eoin McDonald, Brendan O’Hagan; Cian McDonald, David Reilly, Raymond Phillips. Subs: JP Elmore for E McDonald, E McDonald for Elmore, Marty Ward, Chris McQuaid.
REFEREE: Brian Brady (Kilkerley Emmets)
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.