Carndonagh take Markey in late rushMarch 15, 2018
CARNDONAGH CS 3-8 ST COLUMBA’S, STRANORLAR 1-10
FROM CHRIS MCNULTY IN LETTERKENNY
Two goals in the dying moments of a gripping contest saw Carndonagh Community School win the Danske Bank Markey Cup for the first time.
Carndonagh CS trailed for much of the contest, but a 53rd minute goal by Jonny Toye lit the touch paper for the Inishowen men. Substitute Toye surged through and an attempt to stroke the ball over the bar deceived Cian Gallen, the St Columba’s goalkeeper, dropping into the far corner.
There was more than a hint of good fortune about the goal, but there had been nothing lucky about Toy’s build-up play and a point by Ciaran Doherty, who might well have gone for goal, put Carndonagh in front for the first time since the 12th minute – and on their way to the historic triumph.
By now, the finishing post was in sight and, with darkness descending, they got in for the coup de grace as Conor O’Donnell – who scored 1-6 on an excellent display – finished a move started by Lee McLaughlin to bring glory to Carndonagh CS.
“We got the luck we were missing in the last couple of years,” O’Donnell said.
“We were getting it tight in the first half, but we did well. We knew we could come back in the second half. We were a bit impatient at times, but we came good and it paid off.
“We have talked about an Ulster final for so long now. It’s just unbelievable to win it.”
St Columba’s scored just three times in the second half and were undone late in the evening when Carn struck gold with a classy goal by Lee McLaughlin, who weaved his way past a couple of challenges before delightfully finishing past Cian Gallen.
A Conor O’Donnell free put Carndonagh 1-1 to 0-2 in front with McLaughlin having earlier fisted onto the crossbar from an acute angle after the possibilities opened in front of him.
The next seven minutes belonged to St Columba’s, a purple patch yielding 1-5. A trio of excellent Joseph McGill points lifted the Stranorlar representatives and a raking, curling effort by Bogan bent just inside to put them five in front.
St Columba’s got in for a goal on 16 minutes as Corrie-Lee Bogan powered into the bottom corner after Conor Bonner and Gallen had been denied.
A brace of O’Donnell frees and a tidy Brendan Doherty point had Carndonagh within four, but Gallen’s free, with the final kick of the half, put St Columba’s 1-7 to 1-4 ahead at the changeover.Â
O’Donnell clipped over two frees after the re-start, but they were sandwiched between scores by Jamie Keegan and Paddy Dolan as St Columba’s, now with the breeze swirling into their nostrils, preserved their advantage.
But Carndonagh – with a dozen of the Coláistí Inis Eoghain squad who played in the MacLarnon Cup – didn’t wilt and staged a thrilling comeback.
O’Donnell’s scoring and the influence of their replacements were key for Carndonagh, who also saw Luke Mullins – grandson of Dublin great Brian Mullins – superbly curb the influence of Gallen on a historic afternoon.
CARNDONAGH CS: D McCallion; S Byrne, L Mullins, U Doherty; B Doherty (0-1), D Doherty, D Donaghy; O McGonagle, G McDaid; L McLaughlin, C O’Donnell (1-6, 6f), O Hession; L Bradley, D Houghton, M Friel.
SUBS: A Doherty for U.Doherty (16), C Doherty (0-1) for Friel (23), J Toye (1-0) for Bradley (40), F McClure for Hession (51).
ST COLUMBA’S COLLEGE, STRANORLAR: C Gallen; A Gillooley, C Foy, C Patton; J Moore, L Gavian, J Boyle; P Dolan (0-1f), C McSorley (0-2); J McGill (0-3), O Gallen (0-2, 1f), J Keegan (0-1); C Bonner, C.L Bogan (1-1), D McMenamin.
SUBS: M Doherty for Bonner (41), J Burke for McMenamin (60).
REFEREE: S Curran (Derry).