Thompson puts Naomh Conaill on Ulster map
Naomh Conaill manager Cathal Corey will be pitting his wits against a team from his home county Tyrone in the semi-final of the Ulster Club Championship after a convincing victory for the Donegal side against Clontibret in MacCumhaill Park.
In what was one of the best ever performances from a Donegal side in the Ulster club, a goal from Leon Thompson midway through the second half put Naomh Conaill through to their first ever club semi-final.
Naomh Conail, who will play Coalisland in their semi-final, were slow out of the blocks but were denied three goals in the opening half, one of them from the penalty spot with Paul McElroy saving from Anthony Thompson.
A late scoring burst saw them lead by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break and they doubled that lead within a minute of the restart.
Conor McManus carried the biggest threat for the Monaghan men and he hit four of their five first half points.
But the forward threat from Naomh Conaill was obvious from the first quarter onwards with Leon Thompson, in particular, causing havoc in the Clontibret last line.
McManus hauled Clontibret back within a point in the second half but a big mistake by Martin Corey, as he failed to hold onto a Brendan McDyre centre, allowed Leon Thompson the simple task of side footing home the first goal of the game.
Naomh Conaill were never troubled after that, with Dara Gallagher firing over from near the sideline and Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy capped a fine team performance with the late second goal.
Anthony Thompson again led by example for the winners, who are now entering new territory as their only other foray into Ulster was in 2005 when they lost away to Mayobridge in their first outing.
“It was a magnificent team display and probably our best of the year,” said Conaill manager Cathal Corey.
“We may have started slowly but even when Anthony (Thompson) missed the penalty, the heads never went down.
“It was a great team performance from back to front.
“It’s a magnificent feeling and this will be a great boost for Donegal football.”
Naomh Conaill: S McGrath, T Donoghue, J Bonner, C Boyle, M Boyle, A Thompson, E Waide (0-1), M Regan, J McLoone (0-1), B McDyre, L McLoone (0-1), D Gallagher (0-1,F), J O'Malley, D Molloy (1-5,2f,45), L Thompson (1-2). Subs: S Corcoran (for O'Malley 54), D Bonner (for Boyle), C McNelis (for L Thompson, both 59).
Clontibret: P McElroy, C Duffy, C Greenan, M Corey, D Mooney, JP Mone, C Boyle, P McGuigan, E Greenan, A Rooney (0-1), R Gorman, D Mone,; F Mone, V Corey (0-1), C McManus (0-7,5f). Subs: D Savage (for C Greenan 29), P Boyle (for Savage 43), O McGuigan (for Gorman), S Mulligan (for F Mone, both 59).
Referee: M Sludden (Tyrone)