McDonagh puts Gallen on path to glory
GALLEN CS 2-11
CLONAKILTY CC 1-8
All-Ireland Vs SFC FINAL
GALLEN CS were rewarded for their perseverance as they came from behind to snatch a dramatic victory at Croke Park on Saturday.
Defending champions Clonakilty lost full-back Daniel Nythen and midfielder Kevin Cormican to injuries but still looked to have more than enough to get over the line, with forward in Cillian Cullinane in razor-sharp form.
But they were stopped from doing so by a spirited Gallen side whose live-wire centre-forward Aaron McDonagh hammered away until the breaks came.
It was all so different in the beginning as Clonakilty strode into the lead with Cullinane finding his range and they should have been further ahead but Gearoid Barry hit the post with only the 'keeper to beat.
At the other end, Gallen could find no way past Clonakilty's excellent goalkeeper Aidan Collins, who made three superb saves.
Barry scored a classy goal in the 23rd minute and when Brian Grehan screwed an injury-time penalty kick wide it looked to be all going against Gallen with Clonakilty 1-4 to 0-3 up.
But Leon Fox, Grehan and Eoghan Lowry continued to threaten as Clonakilty struggled to contain the roving McDonagh.
Gallen edged back into contention through Joe Maher frees and when McDonagh crashed to the net in the 55th minute, Gallen were one up. Before Clonakilty could respond, the Offaly men scored another 1-3 in the final minutes, with Lowry deservedly getting the second goal.
Scorers -- Gallen: A McDonagh 1-4, E Lowry 1-2 (1f), J Maher (2f), B Greehan 0-2 each, D Keenaghan 0-1. Clonakilty: C Cullinane 0-5 (2f), G Barry 1-0, F O'Connell, J Clancy, F Butler 0-1 each.
GALLEN -- D Digan; D Kelly, C Lowry, J Nally; S Wren, D Corbett, S Costello; L Fox, C Cahill; J Maher, A McDonagh, R Delaney; D Keenaghan, B Greehan, E Lowry. Subs: B Rigney for Keenaghan (63).
CLONAKILTY -- A Collins; F Butler, D Nyhan, J Barrett; C Hennessy, J Ryan, G O'Brien; K Cormican, E Hartnett; C Cullinane, G Barry, F O'Connell; M O'Donovan, J Hayes, A O'Donovan. Subs: S Sheehan for Nyhan (15), S White for F O'Connell (38), S McCarthy for A O'Donovan (42), J Clancy for Cormican (52), D McCarthy for M O'Donovan (62).
Ref -- G McCormack (Dublin).