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Impressive Naomh Conaill defeat Glenswilly

AJ Gallagher, Naomh Conaill, fists the ball away from Barry Molloy, Glenswilly in the middle of the field.

NAOMH CONAILL   1-17 GLENSWILLY      0-06

REPORT BY CHRIS MCNULTY 

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NAOMH Conaill continued their unbeaten start to the 2012 Division 1 season yesterday with a useful win over Glenswilly in Glenties.

The fourteen-point win wouldn’t have at all flattered the current holders of the Division 1 title, with an encouraging display from their forwards that saw a grand total of 1-14 posted from play.

The lively Leon Thompson is back from a tough period marred by injuries and kept up his good form by hitting 1-2 and having a second goal ruled out for a square ball, while the evergreen Johnny McLoone looks as fit as ever, contributing five points to the hosts’ impressive tally.

Thompson’s 29th minute goal had Naomh Conaill eight up at half-time (1-9 to 0-4) and Glenswilly couldn’t summons a response, though their hand was considerably dented by some notable absentees.

A further eight points were posted in the second-half dominated by Martin Doherty’s side as they cruised to another two points.

The opening chapter belonged to Glenswilly, however. They raced into an early three-point advantage, but the early happenings weren’t a prelude for what was to come – and it quickly became apparent that the boys in blue were shifting nicely up the gears.

Glenswilly might have began with ten of the side that started in lastOctober’s county final, but with county stars Michael Murphy and Neil Gallagher absent due to injury and Ciaran Bonner since departed for pastures new the champions were shorn three of their most influential figures.

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It seemed something of a shadow Glenswilly in places, but Manus McFadden’s men started magnificently and were three up by the fifth minute.

Aidan McDevitt swept over 50 seconds in with an effort that momentarily looked like it would deceive Naomh Conaill ‘keeper Stephen McGrath, before dropping narrowly over the crossbar. Joe Gibbons batted down the resulting kick-out and Oisin Crawford teed up Colm Farrell to double the lead before a superb Glenswilly move was finished by Keelan McFadden.

That was as good as it got for Glenswilly, though. Johnny McLoone, Dermot Molloy and Seamus Corcoran restored parity and Daragh Gallagher hit the lead score on 16 minutes.

The sides were level thanks to a Gary McFadden free, but it was only briefly. Despite being without the likes of Leo McLoone and Marty Boyle from their starting line-up and with Brendan McDyre injured, the home team took charge – and by the changeover were comfortably controlling things.

Johnny McLoone, with a lovely curling effort, had them ahead again and the former county player was on the mark again after Leon Thompson struck.

Indeed, the margin could have been greater but for a disallowed Naomh Conaill goal in the 21st minute. Molloy fed Daragh Gallagher, whose shot came off the post with Leon Thompson finishing to the net, only for the strike to be ruled out for a square ball infringement.

After a successful motion to GAA Congress at the weekend, the controversial square ball rule will be no more in 2013. In any case, it matter not as Naomh Conaill superiority was confirmed with a splendid goal late in the half, about which there could be no question.

Daragh Gallagher and Molloy had prised the lead onto five points when Thompson scorched his way through the Glenswilly rearguard, squeezing between two defenders before tapping home from close-range.

That made it an eight-point deficit for Glenswilly for part two, but by the midway point of the second-half the mountain had only grown.

A free from Gary McFadden reduced the gap slightly, but a majestic strike by the in-form Thompson out on the right flank kick-started Martin Doherty’s men again.

Molloy, McLoone and Gallagher all found their ranges to put the home side eleven up and with Molloy and sub Aaron Thompson extending it again the lady with the weight issues could be heard clearing the vocal chords by the time Keelan McFadden clipped over Glenswilly’s sixth point after a 22-minute scoreless period. McLoone – with his fifth of the afternoon – and Aaron Thompson hit two late points to cap off a 14-point win for Naomh Conaill.

Defeat leaves the reigning county champions winless after two games, but with two wins and a draw from their three, Naomh Conaill enter this weekend’s double round of games with confidence brimming.

Naomh Conaill: Stephen McGrath; Jason Campbell, Johnny Bonner, Stephen Molloy; Cathal Ellis, Thomas Donoghue, Eoin Waide; Martin Regan, AJ Gallagher; Anthony Thompson, Seamus Corcoran (0-1), Dermot Molloy (0-4, 1f); Johnny McLoone (0-5), Daragh Gallagher (0-3, 1f, 1 ’45), Leon Thompson (1-2). Subs: James Doherty for Waide (42 mins); Aaron Thompson (0-2) for Corcoran (47 mins); Marty Boyle for AJ Gallagher (48 mins); Dominic Bonner for Ellis (54 mins); Ciaran Thompson for L.Thompson (54 mins).

Glenswilly: Philip O’Donnell; Brian ‘Shorty’ McDaid, Eamon Ward, Rory McDaid; Joe Gibbons, James Pat McDaid, Ruairi Crawford; Barry Molloy, Aidan McDevitt (0-1); Darren McGinley, Gary McFadden (0-2, 2f), Colm Farrell (0-1); Oisin Crawford, Keelan McFadden (0-2), Gerard McGrenra. Subs: Brian Farrelly for Farrell (25 mins); Peadar Toner for McGrenra (48 mins); Ciaran Molloy for McDevitt (56 mins).

Referee: Hugo Wallace (Burt).

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