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Devenney’s heroics keep Donegal footballers in top flight

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — It was strange to have a playoff for a competition that finished six months ago, but that’s the National Football League for you.

The foot-and-mouth crisis earlier in the year played its part in the delay, but surely last Sunday’s Div. I relegation game between Donegal and Louth in Enniskillen could have been scheduled for earlier in the summer.

Despite winning by 3-12 to 1-11 and thereby ensuring themselves a place in the top flight next year, Donegal had as many as 10 regular first teamers who weren’t available for the fixture. But they did have Brendan Devenney, fresh from his exploits with the International Rules team in Australia, whose three-goal contribution made the difference between the sides.

Each of Devenney’s strikes came during the first half, and with Donegal leading by 3-5 to 0-4 at the interval, Louth’s interest was largely academic from then on. His first was a punched effort within three minutes, the second a superb shot following a Noel Hegarty assist, and the third compounded Louth’s misery just before the break.

Hurling

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In hurling, there was relief for Dublin as they retained their National League Div. I status with a resounding 5-12 to 0-15 victory over Antrim in last Sunday’s playoff game at Parnell Park. Debutant Shane O’Neill was the star of the show, with four goals, while Shane Ryan also impressed.

Club football

In club football, there was success at last for Annaghdown in the Galway county final, when they took the title for the first time since 1987 with a 1-7 to 0-8 victory over favorites Killererin in Tuam. Annaghdown managed to tame the threat of the Joyce brothers, Padraic and Tommie, although Padraic was still able to score seven of his team’s points.

Although Killererin could have snatched a result in the closing stages, they were always chasing the game once Damien Burke had calmly slotted a penalty past county goalkeeper, Alan Keane, in the fifth minute.

In Meath, Dunshaughlin put paid to any question marks over last season’s first-ever county title for the club when they retained the trophy with a 0-11 to 1-5 victory over local rivals Skryne at Navan. It was the first time Dunshaughlin had beaten Skryne in four championship meetings. Martin Reilly led the scoring with seven points.

Skryne looked to their experienced duo of Trevor Giles and John McDermott for inspiration and they appeared to be in control when Ken O’Connell drove home a goal just after the restart, but watched by county manager, Sean Boylan, who has been reappointed for a 20th season, Dunshaughlin pulled away for a deserved victory.

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