Sunday 4 December 2016

Trillick dig deep to thwart Naomh Conaill comeback

Ulster Club SFC quarter-final Trillick 2-9 Naomh Conaill 1-11

Chris McNulty

Published 02/11/2015 | 02:30

Trillick's Richard Donnelly, Trillick, in action against Ciaran Thompson and Aaron Thompson, Naomh Conaill, during their AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Football Championship Quarter-Finals
Trillick's Richard Donnelly, Trillick, in action against Ciaran Thompson and Aaron Thompson, Naomh Conaill, during their AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Football Championship Quarter-Finals
Ciaran Thompson, Naomh Conaill, in action against Trillick's Eoin Gormley at Ballybofey, Donegal yesterday
Trillick's Niall Donnelly in action against Eunan Doherty, Naomh Conaill, during their AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Football Championship Quarter-Finals

Trillick held on for dear life to defeat Donegal champions Naomh Conaill at Ballybofey.

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The Tyrone kingpins had first-half goals by Niall Gormley and Daire Gallagher to thank as they just about staved off a second-half comeback by the Glenties team.

Naomh Conaill played almost 50 minutes with 14 men after Donegal ace Anthony Thompson was shown a straight red card by referee Noel Mooney when he appeared to lead with his head on Prionsias O'Kane.

Five second-half points by half-time substitute Daragh Gallagher hauled Martin Regan's side into contention, but Gallagher saw a late free trail to the left and wide with a final chance to force extra time.

Suspended

Naomh Conaill also lost Dermot Molloy to injury and lined out without Donegal minor Eoghan McGettigan, suspended following his red card in the Donegal final win over St Eunan's.

Naomh Conaill entered the game as favourites, but their hopes of advancing, five years after they lost to Crossmaglen in the final, were dealt a hammer blow early on.

Trillick had a dream start with their opening goal arriving on just three minutes - and it had more than a tad of good fortune about it.

Lee Brennan's free bounced off the upright but fell into the path of the waiting Gormley, who fired low past goalkeeper Stephen McGrath.

Frees from Brendan McDyer and John O'Malley reduced the arrears, but Trillick took a big step towards the win with a deadly finish to the first half.

Captain Mattie Donnelly bagged their first score in over ten minutes before Brennan wonderfully turned away from Kevin McGettigan to land a magnificent curling effort with his left boot.

In added time at the end of the first period, Trillick struck their second goal.

Full-back Ruairi Kelly was involved in a brilliant move that concluded with him feeding Gallagher, who slotted home.

Former Donegal player Daragh Gallagher - usually a starter for Naomh Conaill - was sprung from the bench and he hauled his team back into it with five points.

Naomh Conaill were right back in it when Ciaran Thompson powered in for a 36th-minute goal, finished superbly after a strong run. With 12 minutes to go Naomh Conaill levelled it up, but Gormley, Brennan and Richard Donnelly steadied the wobbles for Trillick.

Gallagher set up a grandstand finish with his fifth score but, after Leon Thompson was fouled by Stephen O'Donnell, Gallagher was just off target and Naomh Conaill's Ulster hopes faded with his kick.

Scorers - Trillick: N Gormley 1-2, L Brennan 0-4 (2fs), D Gallagher 1-0, R Donnelly 0-2, M Donnelly 0-1. Naomh Conaill: D Gallagher 0-5 (4fs), C Thompson 1-0, B McDyer 0-2, L Thompson, D Molloy (f), J McLoone, J O'Malley (f) 0-1 each

Naomh Conaill - S McGrath; Aaron Thompson, AJ Gallagher, K McGettigan; M Boyle, Anthony Thompson, E Waide; C Thompson, L McLoone; E O'Donnell, D Molloy, E Doherty; J O'Malley, L Thompson, B McDyer. Subs: C Ellis for Molloy (15), J McLoone for O'Donnell (20), D Gallagher for AJ Gallagher (h-t), S Corcoran for O'Malley (53), E O'Donnell for McDyer (53), B McDyer for Doherty (59).

Trillick - J Maguire; S O'Donnell, R Kelly, D Kelly; N Donnelly, R Brennan, D McDonnell; R Donnelly, E Gormley; S Kelly, M Donnelly, P O'Kane; N Gormley, L Brennan, D Gallagher. Subs: S Gormley for E Gormley (45), F Donnelly for McDonnell (49).

Ref - N Mooney (Cavan).

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