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Late rally forces Gaoth Dobhair to play it again

Heat on: Gaoth Dobhair’s Odhran McFadden-Ferry takes on Naomh Conaill’s Jack McConnell yesterday
Heat on: Gaoth Dobhair’s Odhran McFadden-Ferry takes on Naomh Conaill’s Jack McConnell yesterday

By Chris McNulty

Ulster champions Gaoth Dobhair have to go to a replay in the Donegal SFC after finishing all square with Naomh Conaill.

Late points by Eoghan McGettigan and Ciaran Thompson earned Naomh Conaill another go after a 0-8 to 0-8 stalemate.

Naomh Conaill, appearing in a third successive final, but searching for a first title since 2015, led 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time.

Brendan McDyer, a veteran of the 2005 final - the last replayed final and the occasion of Naomh Conaill's first triumph - kicked the Glenties men in front on 25 minutes.

Earlier, Gaoth Dobhair had begun with a purpose and Odhran McFadden-Ferry drew a strong save from the Naomh Conaill goalkeeper Stephen McGrath after only eight minutes.

McGettigan's third free of part one put his team in front at the changeover.

Charles McGuinness, a nephew of ex-Donegal manager Jim, pushed the lead a little further out, but Naomh Conaill didn't score for 23 minutes thereafter.

Eamonn Collum chipped wide with a goal chance for the champions after captain Niall Friel levelled things up.

Neil McGee's determination helped Gaoth Dobhair to lead again and sub Gavin McBride landed a beauty from distance.

McBride's point was Gaoth Dobhair's last and Naomh Conaill forced a replay through a sweetly-struck '45 by their captain, Ciaran Thompson, three minutes from the end.

Indeed, Naomh Conaill might have sneaked over the line, but Dermot Molloy was off-target with a last-ditch snap shot.

In Monaghan, Clontibret dethroned Scotstown and denied them a five-in-a-row as Conor McManus inspired a 1-14 to 0-11 win in Clones.

McManus hit five first-half points as Clontibret led 0-9 to 0-3 at half-time and the Monaghan captain arched over just after the re-start.

Killian Lavelle and Pauric Boyle opened up a 10-point gap and Scotstown were visibly shellshocked.

Any doubts that might have been were lifted when Ryan McGuigan netted the only goal of the game as Clontibret took their first title since 2014.

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