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N.Y. GAA Donegal wear down Fermanagh

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mike Fitzpatrick

Donegal 3-8, Fermanagh 0-11

It was something akin to Old Timer’s Day at the Gaelic Park on Sunday. Frank Molloy made a welcome return between the sticks for Donegal, and his countyman Leslie McGettigan lined out in midfield for the northwest side in the Junior "A" tie. With Connie and Lanty Molloy on the bench for Donegal, there was certainly no lack of experience in their panel for this tie versus their Northern rivals. Donegal were expected to win the tie, but Fermanagh fought throughout before crumbling in the second half, eventually succumbing to second half goals from Dermot Boylan and Tadhg Donovan.

Fermanagh started out by far the better side with Ronan McCabe surprising Donegal with a couple of quickfire points to give his side an early lead. Darren Docherty hit another for Fermanagh, and Donegal were beginning to look a little unsettled. Liam Gallagher opened Donegal’s account with a well-struck point, followed by a Tadhg Donovan effort which sailed effortlessly over the bar, and though early in the game, Donegal started a mini comeback. Fermanagh did not let up however. More points from Sean Melly, Rory Judge, McCabe and Philip Mallon gave Fermanagh a seemingly healthy four-point lead going into the interval. Donegal had replied thanks to a Sean McGinlay point in the midst of Fermanagh’s four point streak.

The second period opened on a more even keel. Donegal, having rearranged their formation a little, bringing on the New York panelist, Gary Dowd, who up until then had been literally bursting to get on to the field of play. Dowd immediately saw action, coming close with a number of efforts, and his tireless running and combative instincts will surely be seen as an encouraging sign for the New York side. Donegal began to strike back, and scores were registered thanks to McGinlay and Conor Ward. McCabe struck another for Fermanagh, but Tadhg Donovan made the most of a defensive error and slammed the ball home for an equalizing goal, to put the skids under Fermanagh’s brave attempt at undermining this Donegal side. Marty McGlade and McCabe hit a point each late in the second half for Fermanagh, but this was just after Dermot Boylan had taken advantage of some dreadful defending and scored a soccer style goal, dribbling the ball past Gerry Hughes and tapping it into the empty net.

Fermanagh had the tie within their reaches at various stages of the game, particularly in the first half when they had a 4-point lead. Some abominable mistakes in the Fermanagh box though threw the game away, and were it not for these errors, Fermanagh could well have pulled off the surprise of the day. Tadhg Donovan hit another goal for his side’s third to kill off any late Fermanagh attempts at victory.

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Donegal: Frank Molloy, Patrick McGill, Mark McLafferty, PJ Colgan, Raymond Kane, Owen Farrell, Liam Gallagher (0-1), Enda Lohan, Leslie McGettigan, Sean McGinlay (0-3), Sean McMorrow, Tadhg O’Donovan (2-1), Conor Ward (0-2), Dermot Boylan (1-1), Anton Diver. Subs: Connie Molloy, Gary Dowd, Barry McAndrews.

Fermanagh: Gerry Hughes, Eamonn Cassidy, Ciaran Lee, Gene Mulligan, Noel McGovern, Paul McGuirk, Aidan Barry, Brian Jackson, Sean Melly (0-1), Paul Daly, Philip Mallon (0-1), Darren Docherty (0-1), Ronan McCabe (0-6), Rory Judge (0-1), Marty McGlade (0-1). Subs: Darren Boyle, Barry Carney.

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