The formidable mission of striving to reach the last four of the AIB Ulster Club Championship on batteries not sufficiently re-charged proved a bridge too far for Clonoe at Coalisland yesterday.
Just a week after taking possession of the Tyrone crown against a backcloth of turbulence and controversy, Damian Cassidy’s side were ultimately forced to bow the knee, literally and metaphorically, to fatigue when Donegal champions St Eunan’s sprinted away from them over the final furlong of a match that was undeniably rich in quality.
The complex machinations of the GAA’s disciplinary system, to the surprise of no-one, paved the way for Emmett Teague (32 weeks) and Colm Doris (eight weeks) to line out with Clonoe unimpeded, the appeals against their proposed suspensions handed down by the Tyrone Competitions Control Committee following their part in last week-end’s disgraceful scenes at Healy Park, Omagh having been safely lodged with the appropriate body on Friday.
Ryan O’Neill drilled in an early Clonoe goal to leave them 1-1 to 0-2 ahead.
By the 15th minute David McGinley had steered in the first of Donegal’s two goals and John Haran, Rory Kavanagh and Brendan Devanney had begun to emphasise that the experience they have amassed in the Donegal county squad was to be employed to good effect.
Indeed, Clonoe goalkeeper Mickey O’Neill pulled off two spectacular saves that helped to keep his side afloat.
After the influential Dunne had pointed, St Eunan’s put one foot firmly in the semi-finals when Kieran Sharkey squeezed home a 54th minute penalty goal and followed it with the other foot when two late points cemented their authority.
Meanwhile, appeals have been lodged with the Tyrone County Board in relation to all six suspensions handed out in the wake of a brawl which marred the county's SFC final last week.
Dromore and Clonoe were heavily punished for the disturbance which broke out at the end of normal time.
Dromore manager Noel McGinn and Clonoe defender Emmet Teague were both reported for head-butting, receiving the most severe sanctions of 72 weeks and 32 weeks respectively.
The appeals are expected to be heard this week at a specially convened meeting.