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Donegal League: Late drama forces play-off

Gweedore Celtic celebrate their late equaliser in Milford United bringing the title race to a play-off against Glenea United. Photo: Donna McBride.

BY AIDAN O’DONNELL IN MILFORD

DERBY rivals Gweedore Celtic and Glenea United will meet in a play-off for the Premier League title in the Donegal League on Sunday, May 13 at Diamond Park, Ballyare following a dramatic final day of the season yesterday afternoon.

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Reigning champions Gweedore Celtic clawed their way back from 2-0 down away to Milford United to earn a point, while Glenea came out narrow 2-1 winners away to Castlefin Celtic to finish alongside their close geographical rivals on 45 points at the top of the standings.

Milford appeared to have done Glenea a massive favour after a brace from Ciaran McGinley had Gweedore on the ropes and their hopes of consecutive league titles hanging by a thread.

Meanwhile, at Park View in Castlefin, Glenea looked well on their way to capitalising on any potential slip-up from Gweedore after Michael Barry’s early opener had Tom Coll’s side leading 1-0.

However, a sublime equaliser by Ronan Tourish pulled Castlefin, who were later consigned to a promotion/relegation play-off with Cappry Rovers, back on level terms, only for Kevin Mulhern to power home a seventy-first minute winner for Glenea.

At that stage, Glenea were well on their way to leapfrogging Gweedore but a late double from Gweedore centre-half Paul “Rua” McBride salvaged a point for Hughie Gallagher’s side.

Speaking to the Donegal News afterwards, the Gweedore boss admitted his side were far from their vintage and free-flowing best but said they would take a lot of heart from the way they battled back from two goals down to ensure a tantalising play-off with their bitter rivals in three weeks’ time.

He said: “We’re more than happy to be there, going on today’s result. It’s going to be an interesting Sunday. Hopefully, we’ll start a lot better than we did today. The boys were a bit down in the dressing room at half-time but it’s a cup final now.

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“The boys will take a lot away from today’s game and hopefully be a bit more confident now, but so will Glenea. They would’ve taken a play-off too I’m sure and it’s down to the last ninety minutes of the season.”

Meanwhile, Glenea manager Tom Coll said his players will relish the prospect of a play-off, having been the only side to inflict a league defeat on Gweedore this season.

“They are a very good side and they like to play football and I think this will be a really good game, but we have done well against them this season and I think our lads will relish this play off. We’re delighted after today to get the chance so we’ll go and give it our very best,” said Coll.

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Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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