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Report: Glenswilly reach Ulster senior club final

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GLENSWILLY 3-09 ROSLEA 2-08

Report by Chris McNulty at Healy Park

WITH them it is never straightforward, but the bottom line is all that matters to Glenswilly.

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History has been made and yet more history could await the Foxhall side in December.

Gary McDaid’s side will contest the Ulster senior club final in two weeks’ time after overcoming Fermanagh kingpins Roslea in an exciting, nervous semi-final at Healy Park.

Colin Kelly netted a brace of goals to sandwich a Michael Murphy strike as the Glen march into the biggest game in the club’s history.

Kelly and Murphy hit the first-half goals that had them ahead, 2-5 to 0-5, when the sides could exhale for the interval.

Roslea piled everything they could on top of the Glenswilly goalmouth.

Even though Seamus Quigley netted a penalty and full-back Conor Mulligan had a long-range effort drop over the unfortunate Philip O’Donnell to the net, Roslea’s challenge didn’t ignite.

Much like St Gall’s found in the quarter-final, Glenswilly are a frustrating bunch to play against. Roslea were guilty of taking on some terrible options, especially during that second-half, but there must go credit to Glenswilly.

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Even if it was by no means a performance from their top drawer, it was a typically-gritty Glenswilly display.

Efficiency has been the name of their game all the way in Championship football this year – and they forced Roslea into several costly blunders.

In the opening three minutes of part two, Roslea kicked three wides. Having looked like they’d made an exit Peter McGinnity’s side were handed a return ticket with Quigley and Mulligan netting, but Glenswilly finished as they’d started.

The Glenmen got themselves a dream start with a goal after just ninety seconds. Kealan McFadden got the deftest of fingertips to set Darren McGinley on his way.

McGinley found Kelly, who scorched past his man and, although goalkeeper Sean Boyle got a touch, momentum just about took his shot to the back of the net.

Quigley had popped over an earlier free for Roslea and the big full-forward was the clear outlet for the Fermanagh champions throughout.

The problem for the Erne side, however, was the absence of a plan B, with Quigley finding himself getting a touch of claustrophobia anytime those raking

Hail Marys were delivered his way.

Quigley was always a threat, but he found himself well shackled by Glenswilly’s packed rearguard.

With Brian McDaid operating in front of him and Eamon Ward a sticking plaster on the hair’s of his neck, Quigley wasn’t getting much in the way of space.

That said, he did manage to hit four of his team’s five points in the opening half.

Roslea were held scoreless between Quigley’s second point, in the third minute, and their next a free by the same player.

Roslea weren’t without chances in that spell.

O’Donnell saved superbly to thwart the advances of Niall Cosgrove in the seventh minute and the Glenswilly custodian was out bravely to put his paws on a long ball into his area soon afterwards.

While Roslea were going through something of a barren spell, Glenswilly chugged along nicely and hit 1-4 in succession.

Murphy clipped over a free and then turned provider for the lively McGinley to get on the scoresheet to put a goal between them in the eleventh minute.

A sweeping move led by Neil Gallagher was polished off by a point from Ciaran Bonner, before Kelly was fouled by Conor Quigley for a free pointed by Gary McFadden.

In the 20th minute, Glenswilly hit a golden moment. Kealan McFadden was put away by McGinley. His pace too him deep into Roslea territory.

Just as it seemed as if he’d have a pop, he off-loaded to Colin Kelly, whose palmed effort across goal was met by Murphy and an emphatic finish into the top corner put eight between them.

Quigley, twice, and James McMahon reeled in the arrears for Roslea, but Murphy had the final say of the opening half, his free putting he Foxhall side 2-5 to 0-5 in front at the short whistle.

It could have been a greater margin only for Conor Quigley booting clear after Glenswilly captain James Pat McDaid got forward for a shot that beat Boyle, only for the blushes to be spared by his corner-back.

Kevin Cosgrove and Gary McFadden swapped points and Glenswilly’s third goal arrived in the 42nd minute.

Murphy stepped up for a free just beyond the ’45. As it sailed through the darkening sky, Kelly managed to get a touch to divert it beyond Boyle to the net.

Eight points up, Glenswilly could have been forgiven for believing they were home and hosed.

But very quickly they had to shake themselves into action.

Joe Gibbons fouled Niall Cosgrove and Quigley drove home the penalty, before O’Donnell misjudged the flight of Mulligan’s delivery and the full-back could scarcely believe his luck as the green flag went up.

This Glenswilly team has been through the mill with heartaches – and the goal had echoes of the late, late goal by Inniskeen that denied Glenswilly an Ulster Intermediate title in 2005.

When the going got tough with Glenswilly only ahead by two, Glenswilly’s tough got going.

Gibbons was magnificent in this regard, with a tigerish performance that personified the determination within his team.

Instead of succumbing, Glenswilly kicked on and Gibbons set them on their way with a rare point ten minutes from the end.

A massive point from Kelly, whose return this year has been a real boost for Glenswilly, followed before McFadden found the range off his right boot.

Dermie Reilly made for a nervous conclusion while Seamus Quigley had hearts in mouths when he got on the end of a long ball in by Niall Cassidy. Time seemed to stand still as Quigley batted across the goal face.

With the game in their grasp, having led all the way from Kelly’s goal, Glenswilly weren’t letting it slip.

Scoreless in the second half, Murphy was like the orchestra conductor around midfield, his influence still alive, while Gallagher again grew as the game wore on and, bar that madcap couple of moments for the Roslea goals, the defence could hold the heads high, though they’ll be reminded of several mistakes by McDaid ahead of their meeting with Ballinderry.

Very quickly, McDaid prised his players away from the delirious celebrations and took them to a huddle in a quieter corner of Healy Park.

There remains a job to be done; one more step of the ladder to be negotiated.

St Joseph’s, a Bundoran-Ballyshannon amalgamation, won the Ulster Club in 1975, before it became an officially-recognised competition.

No Donegal club has topped the province’s pile since. Glenswilly will be underdogs, but betting against them would surely be ill-advised.

GLENSWILLY: Philip O’Donnell; Brian McDaid, Eamon Ward, James Pat McDaid; Joe Gibbons (0-1), John McFadden, Ruairi Crawford; Neil Gallagher, Michael Murphy (1-2, 2f); Gary McFadden (0-3, 2f), Ciaran Bonner (0-1), Darren McGinley (0-1); Caolan Kelly, Colin Kelly (2-1), Kealan McFadden. Subs: Brian Farrelly for McGinley (52 mins), Cathal Gallagher for Colin Kelly (55 mins), Ryan Diver for K.McFadden (59 mins), Barry Molloy for Gibbons (60 mins).

ROSLEA: Sean Boyle; Niall McMahon, Conor Mulligan (1-0), Conor Quigley; Marty Beagan, Niall Cassidy, James McMahon (0-1); Kevin Cosgrove (0-1), James Sherry; Niall Cosgrove, Shane McMahon, Peter Lynch (0-1); Marty Renfrew, Seamus Quigley (1-4, 1-0pen, 2f), Sean Quigley. Subs: Dermie Reilly (0-1) for N.McMahon (25 mins), Conor Sherlock for S.McMahon (44 mins), Shane Lynch for J.McMahon (55 mins).

REFEREE: Ciaran Branigan (Down).

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