GRM Minor Football League Division Three Final
Donaghmoyne 2-10 Clones 1-9
Donaghmoyne put the disappointment of last week’s championship final defeat behind them to beat Clones in the MFL Division Three Final at Cremartin on Saturday. Donaghmoyne led from start to finish against a Clones team that took 23 minutes to score, with Ciarán Martin’s goal helping them go seven clear by the change of ends. The second half was much more even, but Darren McElroy found the net with seven minutes left to keep Donaghmoyne in the driving seat and even a late onslaught wasn’t enough for Clones to change the result. Captain Niall Garland led by example for Donaghmoyne, top-scoring with six points, while Fergal Keenan, McElroy, Martin and Michael Murnaghan were also to the fore. David Freeman, whose switch to midfield midway through the first half brought Clones into the game, Niall Nolan and Colm O’Gorman were unlucky to end up on the losing side.
Donaghmoyne raced out of the starting blocks, scoring 1-4 without reply in the first 11 minutes, started by a point from a free by Darren McElroy. Niall Garland doubled his side’s lead with a point from play, before Donaghmoyne twice went close to scoring the opening goal. Joe Finnegan won a high ball in from Michael Murnaghan, only to have his shot blocked by Clones keeper Conan McGonigle, who again came to his team’s rescue just a minute later, when Ciarán Martin and Fergal Keenan had combined to create a chance for McElroy. Garland converted a 25-metre free for a foul on Joe Finnegan, before Murnaghan made it four-nil after a one-two with Keenan. Donaghmoyne won the following kick-out and worked the ball through for Martin to guide a precise shot beyond McGonigle into the corner of the net. Martin, who had started the game in excellent form, went off injured after taking a heavy knock, before Garland continued Donaghmoyne’s dominance when he sent over a free from a tight angle after a foul on McElroy. Clones finally got their first point on 23 minutes from Niall Nolan after Aaron McGovern had got on the end of a long ball from David Freeman, but Donaghmoyne pulled further clear with points from 20-metre frees by McElroy and Garland, following fouls on Joe McMahon and Keenan. David Masterson got a point back for Clones after a one-two with Freeman, before Nolan tapped over a 13-metre free for a foul on James McElwain, but Donaghmoyne still led by 1-7 to 0-3 at half-time.
Nolan linked up with Colm O’Gorman to get Clones off to a bright start in the second half with a well-taken point, but Murnaghan replied with a good score after he had exchanged passes with McElroy. Clones had a couple of chances to get the goal they needed to get back into the game, but Cian O’Connor had a shot blocked after good approach play by Freeman and McElwain, before Nolan was denied by Donaghmoyne keeper Conor Finnegan. O’Gorman set up a point for Clones sub Kevin Tighe, but Garland quickly responded after a strong run by Keenan. Freeman kicked a fine point from play before tapping over a brace of 20-metre frees for fouls on Masterson and McElwain to bring Clones to within four, but once again Garland kept Donaghmoyne in control at the end of a well-worked move involving Dean Meegan, Murnaghan and Keenan. McElroy then killed the game off when he fired home Donaghmoyne’s second goal after he had been put through by Keenan, who then made another chance for Joe Finnegan, who drilled wide from close range. Nolan gave Clones a glimmer of hope late on when he sent a cracking shot past Conor Finnegan after a Shaun Cunningham effort had been blocked, but Nolan was just off-target with another shot at goal as the clock ticked into injury-time. Freeman blazed a shot over the bar at the death, but Donaghmoyne still had four points to spare at the final whistle and it was their captain, Niall Garland, who accepted the cup from county board representative Noel Mullaney.
Donaghmoyne: C Finnegan; C Finnegan, A Callan; C Martin (1-0), S Coleman, D Meegan; S Byrne, M Murnaghan (0-2); F Keenan, N Garland (Capt., 0-6, 3f), J McMahon; J Finnegan, D McElroy (1-2, 0-2f)
Subs: J McCrossan for Martin (inj., 16 mins), T Finnegan for McMahon (32).
Clones: C McGonigle; J Rehill, D Hibbitt; J Gibson, G Brogan, C O’Gorman; A McGovern, D Masterson (0-1); C O’Connor, J McElwain, C Corr; N Nolan (1-3, 0-1f), D Freeman (Capt., 0-4, 2f).
Subs: S Cunningham for Corr (20), K Tighe (0-1) for McGovern (37), W O’Dowd for O’Connor (49).
Referee: D Hurson (Drumhowan).