Stamford 3-7 By Mike Fitzpatrick
Another mouthwatering first division senior football clash finished off the day at Gaelic park on Sunday, with old rivals Donegal and Stamford coming head to head in what has now become a regular battle between two sides well able to clinch the championship.
Donegal were hot favorites last year to win the New York title, and but for a spirited performance by Kerry in the final game, they would have done so. They are now out to claim what they feel should be theirs.
Standing in joint second position now alongside Tyrone, though with a game in hand over their Ulster rivals, Donegal are certainly on course for a position in the playoffs, and barring an unmitigated disaster, they will be there come the end of the season.
Stamford, lie in fourth place on six points, by no means a certainty for playoff contention, though their talent and depth should see them through eventually. A win here, however, would have made their road to glory that much easier.
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Excuse the cliche, but this game could rally have gone either way. JP Boyle’s contribution of six points for Donegal was crucial, and added to some fabulous individual performances by the likes of Owen Cummins at the back, Niall McCreedy up front, and a fine debut from Anthony Lynch, Donegal certainly deserved their victory.
Stamford matched Donegal in certain departments during the game, but an uncharacteristic defensive error led to Donal Breslin’s goal for the Ulster side, a goal which proved to be the difference in the teams at the end of the 60 minutes.
Stamford had their own moments of fine scoring though, and efforts from Ronan O’Connor, Justin O’Halloran and Spike Martin almost did it for them.
It was to be Donegal’s day however, and although Stamford will be disappointed at having lost out on the points, they’ve still some way to go, and should well make the playoffs.
Donegal are looking good, and barring any slip ups, should certainly go a long way in this year’s championship.
Donegal: Eunan Doherty, Pat McGonagley, Owen Cummins, Mark McClafferty, Gerry Kelly, Anthony Lynch, Owen Farrell, Mick Moran (1-0), Gary Dowd, Donal Breslin (1-0), JP Boyle (0-6), Kieran Keaveney, Niall McCreedy (0-3), Kieran O’Hare (0-3), Brian Roper (0-1). Sub: Keith Murray
Stamford: James Reilly, Jimmy Lyons, Pat Coyne, Philip Wickham, Ronan O’Connor, Richie Purcell, Mark Comerford, Keith Hennessy, Ronan Mooney, Adrian Carney, Davie Phelan (0-2), Justin O’Halloran (1-0), Mike Martin (1-0), Ronan O’Connor (1-2), Jason Lawlor (0-2). Sub: Terry Mannion (0-1).