Raidio na Gaeltachta Club Championship
Raidio na Gaeltachta senior football championship
Killybegs force play-off
After just coming up short in their previous championship encounter in Pearse Memorial Park, Killybegs deservedly overcame Ardara on Sunday to force the tie to a third and final play-off encounter.
The sleeping giant of Donegal club football hasn't progressed past the first hurdle of the club championship since 2002. But the weekend's win at their new home, the Eamonn Byrne Memorial Park, will have rejuvenated spirits in the port town.
The hosts exploded out of the blocks and were soon 0-5 to 0-1 to the good courtesy of Conal Molloy, Kevin Martin (3) and Mark Boyle. Midfielder Kenneth Doherty finally opened Ardara's account on ten minutes, before the visitors reduced the deficit to three thanks to inside forward Stephen Gildea.
However, Peter McGinley's men restored their five point cushion once again when Conal Molloy grabbed a quick fire double eight minutes from the interval. With the rain pouring in from the Atlantic, Killybegs continued to punish Ardara. And in the process chalked up another three scores before the half time whistle. Molloy, Christopher Murrin and Paul McGinley put their side into double figures for the afternoon as they led by 0-10 to 0-3.
To make matters worse for Patrick Gallagher's side, their skipper Damien Diver was shown a red card along the end line, amidst confusion as to what crime the former Donegal player had actually committed. Killybegs continued where they left off following the restart as Jason Noctor stretched the difference out to eight.
Martin and Gildea traded frees as Killybegs kept Ardara on the periphery. The visitors then replied with two white flags as Conor Classon and Gildea cleared the cross bar to make it a six point game. Francis Diver soon chopped that back to five. And that's when Ardara were finally presented with the live line they craved. Diver was upended inside the box by the Fishermen's netminder Anthony O'Hara. And from the resulting spot kick, Gildea found the corner of the net with six minutes remaining on the watch.
This is where McGinley's men showed their steely determination not to cave. And despite their fragile championship pedigree of late - the hosts simply dusted themselves off and responded in the best possible fashion. Pauric Gallagher and Molloy lofted over to ease concerns along the line. In the dying seconds Killybegs were also reduced to fourteen men when Murrin was flashed a second yellow card. But it mattered little, as both sides turn their attention to their play-off encounter - with Dungloe awaiting the winners in the quarter finals.
Killybegs: Anthony O'Hara; Ronan Boyle: Barry Cannon: David Conwell; Jason Noctor (0-1): Shane Boyle: Christopher Murrin: Ciaran Tully: Daniel Breslin; Mark Boyle (01): Shane Molloy: Pauric Gallagher (0-1); Kevin Martin (0-4): Conal Molloy (0-5): Paul McGinely (0-1).
Subs: Enda Murphy for Tully, Tully for M Boyle.
Ardara: Declan Gallagher; Kevin Breslin: Declan Gavigan: Paddy McGrath; Kevin Byrne: Damien Diver: Stephen Boyle; Kenneth Doherty (0-1): Francis Diver (01); Conor Classon (0-1): Kevin Gallagher: Peter McNelis; Peter McHugh: Jimmy O'Connell: Stephen Gildea (1-4).
Subs: Oisin O'Donnell for S Boyle, Kieran Breslin for K Gallagher, Michael Doherty for McNelis, McNelis for McHugh.
Referee: Trevor McBrearty (Kilcar).