Naomh Conaill survive late Castlerahan fight back to reach Ulster semis
Cavan champions can’t quite reel in Donegal counterparts in Breffni Park thriller
Brendan McDyer helped his Naomh Conaill side into the Ulster semis. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho
Castlerahan 0-11 Naomh Conaill 1-11
Castlerahan’s brave effort to upset the odds came unstuck in a gripping Ulster Club SFC last eight clash at Kingspan Breffni.
The Cavan champions looked dead and buried when trailing by 0-6 to 1-10 with 42 minutes on the clock but, instead, put in a storming finish which just fell short.
Both sides were profligate in the first half and spurned two gilt-edged goal chances apiece.
It was a case of third time lucky for the Glenties men in the 25th minute when Charlie McGuinness and Ciaran Thompson combined sweetly in a tight space for the latter to slide the ball under the advancing Leahy which saw Naomh Conaill lead by 0-5 to 1-5 at the interval.
The Donegal champions appeared to be cruising when sub Dermot Molloy made it 1-10 to 0-6 after 42 minutes, but their hosts came storming back to make a real fight of it.
Despite having sub Gavin Daly red carded (60 min), Castlerahan continued to reel in their opponents and a brace of points from Cormac Daly made it a two point game.
In a helter-skelter climax, the Naomh Conaill sealed a date with Clontibret in the semi-finals with a gem from county star Anthony Thompson.
Castlerahan: J Leahy; S Cooney (0-1), K McEnroe, E O’Connell; S O’Reilly, O Kiernan, F Reilly; Pauric Smith, C Daly (0-4); K Cosgrave (0-3, one free), B Ennis (0-1), Paul Smith; O O’Connell, R Flanagan, E Flanagan (0-1). Subs: C Mackey for S O’Reilly (32 min); G Daly for K McEnroe (41); S Brady (0-1) for B Ennis (43); F Flanagan for Pauric Smith (52).
Naomh Conaill: S McGrath; U Doherty, AJ Gallagher, K McGettigan; E O’Donnell, A Thompson (0-3), E Waide; C Thompson (1-2, one ‘45, one free), L McLoone (0-1); B McDyer (0-1), M Boyle, E Doherty; J McKelvey (0-1), C McGuinness (0-2, one free), K Gallagher. Subs: D Molloy (0-1) for C McGuinness (36 min); S Molloy for M Boyle (42); N Byrne for E O’Donnell (48); J O’Malley for B McDyer (51); H Gallagher for E Waide (55); M Boyle for C Gallagher (60).
Referee: C Branagan (Down)