Tones had the better of the opening half, and they had the opportunity to open up a four-point lead when they were awarded a penalty after Luke Flynn was hauled down as he prepared to shoot.
However, Marty Clarke saw his penalty saved by Donegal goalkeeper Eamon McCarney, and Tones were punished for their miss as Donegal worked the ball down the field for Ciaran Thompson to land a point and level the score at 0-2 apiece.
Tones continued to dominate, and by the time Michael Argue curled over a beautiful point the Dorchester men were four points to the good. It was tit-for-that from there until the break, and another over from Argue ensured Tones enjoyed the half-time lead, 0-10 to 0-07.
The close nature of the game continued upon the restart with Ryan Murray and Argue both
scoring points for Donegal and Tones, respectively, inside the opening 60 seconds.
Argue was having an exceptional game at midfield for Tones, and an impressive point by him from over 40 metres out gave Tones a four-point lead.
Donegal enjoyed a purple patch in the middle period of the second half and three points from Stephen Griffin (two frees) left just the minimum between the teams with 15 minutes remaining, 0-13 to 0-12.
Tones were in desperate need of a point to get them back on track, and Gary Brilly obliged with a fine effort off his right boot. And Charles McCarthy followed that up to put the Tones three ahead with just under ten minutes remaining.
A Griffin free cut Donegal’s deficit to two, and then Murray split the posts to leave the game delicately poised heading into the last five minutes.
Donegal equalised in the 58th minute when Thompson held his nerve to find the target, but Tones responded brilliantly as they got the ball to full-forward McCarthy who blasted to the net from close range.
Tones had Cillian Clarke sent off for a second yellow card late on, and Donegal had a couple of close-range frees in stoppage time. However, the Tir Chonaill men just couldn’t breach the Tones defence, and, in truth, the Banshee Boys were worthy of the victory.
Wolfe Tones: C Hynes, K Clarke, D McConnon, S Higgins, K Cleere, G Scanlon, M Argue, L Flynn, M O’Brien, G Brilly, D McVeery, M Farrell, C McCarthy.
Donegal: E McCarney, M Canny, C McCarron, S Doherty, C Healy, J O’Connor, M Smyth, S McDonagh, R Murray, C Thompson, D McLaughlin, S Griffin, S Boyle.
Connemara Gaels 3-14 Christopher’s 1-13
Christopher’s exited the Senior Football Championship on Saturday evening in Canton as a seven-point defeat to Connemara Gaels extinguished any hope they had of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the competition.
Christopher’s, the 2009 Senior champions, had the better of the opening stages in what was a very competitive first half. Gaels got on the scoreboard through a Colman Mulkerrins point after two minutes, but the men in red and black responded with overs from Kevin McAllister (2), Shane Leahy and Luke Connolly to lead by 0-4 to 0-1 by the 12th minute.
Gaels almost grabbed the first goal of the game when Collie Harkin’s clever shot snuck past Christopher’s goalkeeper Paudie Kenneally only for full-back John Spillane to get back and make a tremendous last-ditch clearance.
But Gaels were on top by that stage and points from Noel Graham, Dave McCormack and Ian Burke made it level pegging by the 20th minute.
A converted ’45 by Burke gave the Westerners a slender advantage, but it didn’t last long as Connolly drilled a penalty to the net to put Christopher’s in the ascendency once again.
However, a goal a minute before the short whistle ensured Gaels went in 1-7 to 1-5 ahead the break. The major came from the boot of Harkin, with goalkeeper Kenneally unable to deal with both the power of the shot and the visual impairment caused by a blindingly low sun.
Gaels extended their lead in the early stages of the second half, with a hat-trick of points from the effervescent Ruairi Corrigan putting the Connemara men in control.
Christopher’s continued to persevere, and a sublime point off the outside of his right boot from Connolly reduced the deficit to just two points.
Gaels were making a habit of scoring at crucial junctures and a goal from Burke, via the underside of the crossbar, nipped the Christopher’s comeback in the bud.
Christopher’s spent much of the latter stages camped inside Gaels’ half. Connolly had two excellent attempts on goal repelled, but on the whole the red and black just didn’t have the killer instinct to prevail.
The winners put together a number of fluid handpassing moves, and it was yet another one of them that led to their third goal with half-forward Graham punching to the net.
Gaels finished the game with 12 men after Mulkerrins was dismissed following a second yellow card. It made no difference to the result, though, as defending champions Gaels marched confidently into the play-offs.
Connemara Gaels: E Connolly, J Donohoe, S Connelly, P McNicholas, C Daly, C Mulkerrins, D McCormack, C Jones, C Harkin, N Graham, R Corrigan, I Burke, C McCormack.
Christopher’s: P Kenneally, E O’Mahoney, J McGuire, J Spillane, C Murphy, D
Culhane, D Kenneally, B Coughlan, E Kiely, L Connolly, K McAllister, B Shanahan, S Leahy.
Aidan McAnespie’s coasted to a 14-point victory in the Senior Football Championship over a Galway side that looked every inch a side that had not made the play-offs.
The tone for this fixture was set very early on, as Macs were already 3-1 to 0-0 in front by the time five minutes had passed.
Macs’ captain Collie Donnelly was first to hit the net with a neat left-footed finish, and his effort was followed by three-pointers from Peter Mallon and Michael Quinn.
Mallon had another goal opportunity, but he may have been abiding by the mercy rule as he fisted over for the South Boston side’s first point of the game. It was the tenth minute before Galway got up and running, and it took a free from Gary Kelly to get them off the mark.
Macs eased off the gas a little as the half progressed, but they still managed to build up a 3-9 to 0-3 lead before the half-time whistle was blown. Donnelly, Mallon and Quinn all added to their individual tallies.
The second half was a more even affair, with Macs using the healthy lead they had to give some substitutes a decent amount of game time ahead of the business end of the season.
The men in red and white didn’t manage to add to their goal tally, but they did continue to pop over points. Caolan O’Boyle accounted for Macs’ first point of the half, and even full-back Niall Gallen got in on the act.
There was at least one bright moment for Galway when Dermot Judge found the net just before the final whistle was blown.
It was an experience Galway will want to quickly forget, but McAnespie’s will know that the tests will be significantly tougher in the coming weeks.
Aidan McAnespie’s: P Coakley, C McGurk, N Gallen, S McAleer, D Lally, D Wrynn, C Donnelly, C O’Boyle, M Quinn, G O’Neill, M Campion, P Mallon, L Boland.
Galway: M O’Connor, D Redmond, T Morrissey, G Patterson, M Ryan, D Judge, C Fitzmorris, T Ryan, E Alford, G Kelly, I Collins, K Cummins, P McGovern.