Saturday 27th June 2009
Down 2-10 Sligo 1-09
Down jumped out into a large lead in this Senior Football contest and then had to survive a late charge form a determined Sligo outfit that were battling to the very end. Down scored in spurts as they had three points to open the game before a Sligo minor from Conor Brady, then a brace from Robbie Moran and Pakie Downey to put them ahead by 0-05 to 0-01 0n twenty minutes.
One of the impressive items in the opening segment was Downs ability to stop Sligo reaching their half until the eighth minute. They were winning all the kick outs from the Sligo end and could have had a more substantial lead but for a series of wides. After a Trevor Boland score for Sligo in the 22nd minute, Down rattled of the last three points of the half to seemingly have a very comfortable lead.
In the first ten minutes of the second half the Mournemen extended their lead dramatically. Points from Brendan McGrourty and Robbie Moran surrounded a brace of goals from the latter player. The first when Pakie Downey finished a superb solo run with a fist pass that set Moran up, the second when Robbie reacted first to the rebound of a Brian Annett shot.
It gave his side a 2-9 to 0-02 advantage and one would assume it was over. Not Sligo. They rebounded with three points from Naill Moran, Trevor Boland and Naill Higgins. After a delay in the game when Mark Dobbin and Paul Kelly received early baths, Dobbin also had a head wound that would later require 20 stitches, Robbie Moran had Downs tenth point but also their alarmingly, last.
Sligo had a further pair of scores from Conor Brady; they preceded a Tony Woods goal when he latched onto a long ball from Trevor Boland to find the net. Now 2-10 to 1-07 momentum was driving Sligo. Paul Doyle and Naill Moran added points to leave four between the sides and with time dwindling down, Paul Doyle was fouled for a penalty.
The result of it mattered little however as the final whistle sounded. The kick was taken and Mark Kelly added to his amazing rate of penalty saves at The Mecca, he went low to deny Naill Moran. The points then to Down but certainly far to close for comfort.
Down 1 Mark Kelly 2 Brian Murray 3 Dermot Hayes 4 Gary Cornyn 5 Sean Kelly 6 James Mitchell 7 Mark Connolly 8 Shaun Munnelly (0-01) 9 Brendan McGrourty (0-01)10 Liam Farrell 11 Robbie Moran (2-03)12 Michael Sloan (0-02)13 Pakie Downey (0-03)14 Mark Dobbin 15 Barry Annett Sub Cormac Doyle Brian Annett, Ross Connolly
Sligo 1 Brian Quinlan 2 Denis Kilkenny 3 Sean Pender 4 Peter Kelly 5 Roy Henley 6 Thomas Maher 7 Colm Bryne 8 Neill Higgins (0-01) 9 Tony Woods (1-00)10 James Walsh 11 Conor Brady (0-03)12 Trevor Boland (0-02)13 Paul Kelly 14 Geariod O’Flynn 15 Naill Moran (0-02)
Man of the Match Pakie Downey (Down)
Referee Lawrence McGrath (Donegal)
Leitrim 3-16 Donegal 1-06
The teams had a point a piece to open the game but it was followed by a ten minute period of Leitrim dominance. They had three points that pushed them into the lead with John Goldrick cantering forward for the first, Mike Creegan who had replaced an injured Donal Hartnett for the second and Scott Conroy had the third. The battle between Conroy and Aiden Downes was intriguing to this point with Downes ahead. Shane Carr had an excellent point after 12 minutes for Donegal but it was followed in quick succession by four Leitrim replies.
They also had a goal chance by way of Mark Smith when he soloed in on goal and shook the net strings. It took a second for all in the stadium to realize that it was outside the post and not inside. Smith was having a pronounced effect on the game his best by far in the Leitrim shirt. It was now 0-08 to 0-02 with seven minutes left in the half. Donegal could have sat back but they decided not too. In fact their recovery started after a Leitrim break out that the Donegal forwards made extremely hard.
They battled defensively and the ball was intercepted by Eoin McNeill on the 21. He fed the ball out and CJ Molloy converted a free when Gary Dowd was fouled. After the kick out again Donegal attacked. Molloy was fouled and his quick kick found Brian O’Connor at full forward, he turned and blasted to the net. An Anton Toner point before the break gave the intentions that a recovery was on but it was not to be.
It began to rain scores on Donegal in the first minute of the second half on a glorious evening, by the fourteenth minute it was 3-12 to 1-04. A brace of points started it before the first goal arrived. Jamie Doolin found a roving Scott Conroy coming strong on the 21. His finish was top class to the top right corner. When John O’Neill ran into trouble in the left corner moments later, Madden, Creegan, Doona, Conroy, and Shane Doolin and then Jamie Doolin finished it by casually placing the ball in the net.
Following a Doona point goal number three arrived. Mark Smith finished the ball too the net after Jamie Doolin was again involved. Try as Donegal did, and they managed two points in the last ten minutes, it was easily cancelled pout by five Leitrim scores with Dan Doona having the final three.
Leitrim 1 Pa Ryan 2 Dermot Keane 3 Mark Delaney 4 Alan Foley 5 John Goldrick (0-01) 6 Shane Doolin 7 Eoin O’Neill 8 Pat Madden 9 John O’Neill (0-01)10 Mark Smith (1-01) 11 Scott Conroy (0-02)12 Jamie Doolin (2-03)13 Donal Hartnett 14 Dan Doona (0-05)15 Danny O’Sullivan Subs Mike Creegan (0-03) Tony Cullen,
Donegal 1 Eunon Doherty 2 Eoin McNeill 3 James Huvane 4 Kevin Purce 5 Tony McMahon 6 Aiden Downes 7 Shane Carr (0-01) 8 Gary Dowd (0-02)9 CJ Molloy (0-02)10 Bobby McDonald 11 Conor Bronson 12 Anton Toner (0-01)13 Brian O’Connor (1-00) 14 Justin Freil 15 Paul Brisling
Man Of the Match Jamie Doolin (Leitrim)
Referee Tommy Fahey (Waterford)