By Connie Kelly
McAnespies 3-4, Donegal 1-9
McAnespies pull one out of the fire in a classic with Donegal with a last-minute goal by Paddy Stones on a score of 3-4 to 1-9 .This had to be a heartbreaker for Donegal, leading by two with only seconds on the clock.
McAnespies got off to a flying start when Ross Hainsworth broke through after the throw-in and his shot rebounded off the crossbar only to be collected by Nigel Regan, who buried it in the back of the net.
Conor McKeever and Kevin Heaney sent the next two balls wide before Heaney converted a lovely point. Three more wides for McAnespies before Hainsworth pointed on a pass from Regan and after 12 minutes of play they were ahead by 1-2 to 0-0.
Michael McGinty put Donegal on the board with a fine point and then Regan and McKeever went wide for McAnespies. When Eugene McKenna had trouble clearing his line, Donegal were unlucky not to have a goal on the play. On the next play, Michael Ward’s shot came off the crossbar and with Donegal right back in this game, Gary Gormley had their second point. Nigel Regan extended McAnespies lead 1-3 to 0-2 before McGinty put one over for Donegal to leave the halftime score 1-3 to 0-3.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
In the opening minute of the second half, Donegal’s Paul Friel had the sides level at 1-3. McKeever retook the lead for McAnespies a minute later and Michael Ward had the sides level three minutes into the half. Donegal were now applying the pressure. Paul Friel’s goal did not count and with both teams playing some very hard and good football, defense was the name of the game. Donegal were awarded three frees in a row and managed to convert one for their first lead of the game. McAnespies had a quick free and Mark Hutchinson made the most of the pass, beating goalie Jonathan Burns for a goal and a two-point lead. Ricky Rush and McGinty tied it up for Donegal and with seven minutes remaining it was anyone’s game.
McAnespies had a few chances wasted with off-the-mark shooting. Sub Martin Bonner snatched a one-point lead for Donegal and when Sean Cassidy sent over one with very little time on the clock, it looked like Donegal would prevail, but Stones made amends for some late misses when he bore down on goal with an unstoppable shot to the back of the net.
Best for Donegal were, in the backs, Fergal McCrane and Owen Bradley, Sean Cassidy and Michael McGinty in the center, and up front, Seamus McKenna, Paul Friel, Gary Gormley and Domnic McGlinchey.
Best for McAnespies were Martin Slowey, Kevin Heaney, Ross Hainsworth, Paddy McCusker, Mark Hutchinson and game winner Paddy Stones.
Galway made it a double over Cork in senior and junior hurling.
In the Junior game, Galway continued their winning form from last year, when they made it all the way to the North American final. With a four-point lead after 30 minutes, they extended the lead in the second half with some well-taken points to run out winners by 2-17 to 3-5.
In the Senior hurling game, it was the weather that was the spoiler. A downpour in the second half and bone-chilling temperatures sent the spectators running for cover. In the opening half, Cork got off to a good start with a quick goal when Rory Dwyer found Robbie O’Mahony with a pass that beat goalie Brian Daly. Dwyer added one from a free, but it was Galway picked up the pace in this game. Owen Fergus had Galway on the board, Johnny Murray made it two for Galway. Rory Dwyer kept Cork’s hopes alive with a second point from a free, but back came Galway’s Fergus and Murray with a point each. Murray would tie the game at 1-2 to 0-5 after 17 minutes of play.
Dwyer had Cork ahead a minute later. Right back came Murray to tie it again. Vinny Franks had a good point for Galway and Murray added two from frees. Dwyer closed out the half for Cork with a point from a free to leave it 0-9 to 1-4.
The second half saw Galway’s Mattie Forde hit a purple patch with three well-taken points from play. Cork’s Rory Dwyer did likewise with three points of his own. Jim Howard, who had a good game for Cork, knocked one over, but Galway’s Owen Fergus dealt Cork a killer blow with a well-taken goal 15 minutes into the half. Then the flood gates opened and neither team could score for the last 13 minutes of the game.