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Glenswilly are undone by super Saints

By Chris McNulty

Patient St Eunan's wrestled back their Donegal SFC title from their neighbours Glenswilly yesterday as the Letterkenny side won Dr Maguire for the 14th time.

Maxi Curran's team was spurred on by a man of the match display from John Haran, playing in his 12th final.

Haran turns 38 tomorrow, but rolled back the years here with an inspirational display in combat with All-Stars Neil Gallagher and Michael Murphy.

The build-up to the final was dogged by controversy as Naomh Conaill lodged an objection after being beaten by Glenswilly in last weekend's semi-final. Ciaran Bonner was black carded late in that game, having already been booked, but a sub was permitted and replacement Oisin Crawford kicked one of two late points.

Both county and provincial committees rejected the appeal, leaving Glenswilly free to defend their title.

But their grip was loosened on a day when they managed just one point from play ­­­­­- that a magnificent score off the outside of Brian Farrelly's right boot in the 27th minute - while St Eunan's managed to have a composed look about them.

Gary McFadden opened the scoring for Glenswilly, but St Eunan's assumed control with Conall Dunne scoring three and Conor Gibbons landing another in between times.

In the final five minutes of the opening period, Glenswilly hit back. Murphy (free) and Farrelly brought them back into it and a wonderful free from the left sideline by Murphy evened the scales.

St Eunan's led by the minimum at the break as Gibbons finished off a fine move involving Caolan Ward and Darragh Mulgrew for a 0-5 to 0-4 interval advantage.

Eunan's lost former Donegal midfielder Kevin Rafferty after only 10 minutes, with the player in Letterkenny Hospital for an x-ray on an eye injury by the time Rory Kavanagh was hoisting the silverware.

The second half was a nervous affair, but Eunan's did enough to stay ahead. A superb score from the tightest of angles by dual player Sean McVeigh put two between them, but Glenswilly remained in the slipstream thanks to a McFadden free.

Eamon Doherty was a fringe member of the Donegal squad in 2014, but he was far from the periphery.

A surging run from deep by Doherty drew a foul and Dunne pointed the resulting free before Conor Parke managed to get forward for a well-taken score. Murphy, from a '45, reduced the arrears, but the champions had left themselves with too much to do.

A long, hopeful, ball searching for Murphy was launched by Ruairi Crawford, but captain Kavanagh fetched high. On the counter-attack, Eunan's were awarded a free and Dunne converted the clincher.

Belfast Telegraph

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