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Report: Kevin Whyte goal powers St Columba’s to Markey Cup semi-finals

O'Neill's

ST COLUMBA’S, GLENTIES 1-13 EAST TYRONE 0-07

BY CHRIS MCNULTY IN CONVOY

ST COLUMBA’S of Glenties cruised through to the semi-finals of the Markey Cup thanks to a nine-point win over East Tyrone at the Donegal GAA Training Centre in Convoy on Friday.

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Kevin Whyte’s goal two minutes into the second half was the score that pushed the Glenties students too far out of reach for East Tyrone to make a comeback.

Whyte crashed home to the roof of the from close range, giving Jack Campbell little chance of making a save and from there it was a stroll.

On the same pitch a fortnight previously, St Columba’s were out-smarted in the Donegal senior schools final by Colaiste na Carraige, but in wintry conditions on Friday they were much too strong for East Tyrone.

Four frees from Daniel O’Neill had helped to keep East Tyrone within striking distance, with St Columba’s having only three points to spare at the interval, when they led 0-8 to 0-5.

White’s goal, however, wiped away any doubts that lingered.

St Columba’s started brightly and raced into a five-point lead by the tenth minute. The lively Ethan O’Donnell was on the scoresheet twice, with Adam McHugh, Odhrán Molloy and Kevin McGettigan clipping over to lay down the marker.

A pair of frees from O’Neill opened the account of East Tyrone, but they were dealt a hammer blow when midfielder Sean Day was black carded in the 17th minute.

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Conor McCahill and a Charles McGuinness free saw St Columba’s open up a five-point lead.

McGuinness tested the reflexes of the goalkeeper, but Campbell was equal to his advances as he flung himself to his right to get a strong hand to the Naomh Conaill man’s effort.

O’Neill’s frees kept East Tyrone in tune, with Whyte and Ryan Morrow swapping points to keep the game on by the close of the opening half-an-hour.

White blasted to the net emphatically two minutes after the re-start and it would become a one-way street for much of the second half.

O’Donnell brilliantly teed up Conor Bonner for a score before landing a neat point himself off his left boot soon after. When Whyte raced in there was a real danger of a second goal by the Ardara man, but a late intervention saw the midfielder settle for a point that opened up the nine-point margin.

Corner-back Shea O’Neill and Aidan O’Brien stemmed the flow, but St Columba’s sub Evan Spence should have hit a goal when he got through in the 47th minute only for Campbell to save in a one-on-one scenario.

O’Donnell curled over a delightful point and sub Stefan Boyle landed another in stoppage time for the game’s final score with St Columba’s now looking ahead to a semi-final against Virginia College from Cavan when they can expect to welcome back defender John McDyre, who sat this one out because of a knee injury.

ST COLUMBA’S, GLENTIES: Ryan McGonagle; Stephen Moore, Joe Melly, John Ross Molloy; Conor McCahill (0-1), Kevin McGettigan (0-1), Sean McMonagle; Kevin Whyte (1-2), Shane O’Donnell; Ethan O’Donnell (0-4), Conor Bonner (0-1), Adam McHugh (0-1); Odhrán Molloy (0-1), Charles McGuinness (0-1, 1f), Christian Bonner. Subs: J.D Boyle for McMonagle (44 mins), Evan Spence for McGuinness (47 mins), Stefan Boyle (0-1) for Christian Bonner (48 mins), Liam Sweeney for Conor Bonner (55 mins), Cian Breslin for O’Donnell (59 mins).

EAST TYRONE: Jack Campbell; Caoimhín Donnelly, Bernard O’Neill, Shea O’Neill (0-1); Conor Loughran, Michael Morgan, Matthew Campbell; Sean Day, Conor Mullen; Caolan Devlin, Aidan O’Brien (0-1), Ryan Morrow (0-1); Daniel O’Neill (0-4, 4f), Naoise Martin, Chea O’Neill. Subs: Gavin Graham for B.O’Neill (10 mins), Ryan Magee for Day (black card, 17 mins).

REFEREE: Alan Nash (Derry).

County Board now searching for a replacement.

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