Thompson goal helps suck life out of Clontibret challenge
Naomh Conaill 2-12
Ulster Club sfc
Naomh ConaIll from Donegal powered their way to the semi-final with a commanding performance in MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey.
They were two points down entering the final six minutes of the first half, but four unanswered scores plus two more within 70 seconds of the restart put them in control.
While Clontibret got back to within a point on two occasions in the third quarter, a goal from Leon Thompson on 44 minutes sent Naomh Conaill on their way.
Thompson was on fire from the start, while Dermot Molloy, once he found the range, was clinical with his finishing.
Just as he did against Kingscourt, captain Anthony Thompson led by example, driving forward from centre-back. Once the home side got their second-half goal, they were able to double-team Conor McManus, who carried the main threat for the Monaghan men.
"This team has great spirit. We didn't start well, but we never panicked and the front men did very well," said skipper Thompson.
Paul McElroy in the Clontibret goal kept his side in the contest in the opening half, making three great saves, including a penalty.
McManus had Clontibret two points ahead inside four minutes before Leon Thompson pulled a point back for the home side.
Naomh Conaill had a great chance to go ahead on 11 minutes when Leon Thompson put Dara Gallagher through and 'keeper McElroy was penalised for a foot block, but from the spot he made amends by saving a weakly struck effort from Anthony Thompson.
McManus added another free for Clontibret before Leon Thompson, had a second Naomh Conaill point.
It was in the last 10 minutes that the home side really came into the contest with Molloy hitting three points and Leo McLoone chipping in to leave Naomh Conaill ahead by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break.
Two more quick-fire points in just over a minute after the restart had Naomh Conaill in control. McManus kept Clontibret in touch until a mistake by Martin Corey allowed Leon Thompson in to sidefoot home on 44 minutes.
They were never in trouble after that and Molloy's goal in added-time completed Clontibret's misery.
Scorers -- Naomh Conaill: D Molloy 1-5 (0-2f, 0-1 '45), L Thompson 1-3, E Waide, J McLoone, L McLoone, D Gallagher (0-1f) 0-1 each. Clontibret: C McManus 0-7 (0-5f), A Rooney, V Corey 0-1 each.
Naomh Conaill -- S McGrath; T Donoghue, J Bonner, C Boyle; M Boyle, A Thompson, E Waide; M Regan, J McLoone; B McDyre, L McLoone, D Gallagher; J O'Malley, D Molloy, L Thompson. Subs: S Corcoran for O'Malley (54), D Bonner for Boyle (59), C McNelis for L Thompson (59).
Clontibret -- P McElroy; C Duffy, C Greenan, M Corey; D Mooney, JP Mone, C Boyle; P McGuigan, E Greenan; A Rooney, R Gorman, D Mone; F Mone, V Corey, C McManus. Subs: D Savage for C Greenan (29), P Boyle for Savage (43), O McGuigan for Gorman (59), S Mulligan for F Mone (59).
Ref -- M Sludden (Tyrone).