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Another crucial win for Four Masters

Conor Gibbons, St Eunan's closes in on Four Master's Caolan Loughney.
GAA – ALL COUNTY FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE

FOUR MASTERS 1-09
ST EUNAN’S 1-06

By Harry Walsh in Tir Chonaill Park

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FOUR Masters made it four wins out of five when they defeated reigning league champions St Eunan’s at Tir Chonaill Park yesterday afternoon.

Emyln Hughes’ team, who led by four at the break (0-06 to 0-02), were eight to the good with less than five minutes left to play and although St Eunan’s whittled that advantage back to three it was the men from Donegal Town who held on to record their sixth win of this year’s campaign.

Following a bright start to 2014 Maxi Curran’s team have slipped off the pace somewhat in recent weeks taking just five out of a possible ten points since winning the corresponding fixture by four points (2-09 to 1-08) at the end of May.

To compound their misery, the visitors finished the game with just fourteen men after corner back Ciaran Sharkey was shown a straight red card in the last minute.

Sharkey found himself embroiled in the middle of a row but with punches thrown by players from both sides he can consider himself unlucky to have been the only player singled out for censure.

Maybe it was the early start (the ball was thrown in at 12.42pm) but this game never really got going.

Conor ‘Toastie’ McMonagle opened the scoring for Four Masters after nine minutes but another quarter of an hour would pass before we saw a second score -off the boot of Michael Doherty.

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St Eunan’s didn’t bother the scorekeepers until former County player Kevin Rafferty split the uprights on 25 minutes with another point from play, from centre-back Caolan Ward, on 28 minutes, their own only score of the half.

Masters did manage a late burst themselves with scores from Peader Espey (2 frees), McMonagle and Michael Doherty leaving them 0-06 to 0-02 to the good at half-time.

Both teams made changes at the break with goalkeeper Sean Deffain and Conor Parke coming into the ‘Eunan’s team while Caolan Loughney replaced Barry Dunnion (concussion) in the Masters team.

Caolan Ward slotted over his second score of the game to reduce the deficit to three inside the opening minute of the restart before Masters netted the game’s opening goal on 33 minutes.

McMonagle bravely won possession in the middle of the park to find Peader Espey who’s superb cross field pass put Michael Doherty in behind the St Eunan’s defence and he blasted high into the net beyond Deffain’s dive.

Peader Easpey and Donnacha Gallagher exchanged frees before another raft of changes were made by both teams.

One of those substitutes, Leo McHugh, scored a fine point which, combined with another McMonagle score saw For Masters eight to the good with less than five minutes to play.

Late consolation points followed from Paddy McGowan (free) and Sean McVeigh as the game moved into injury time.

There was still time for Donnacha Gallagher to hammer home a late goal for ‘Eunan’s; a yellow card for Four Masters full-back Danny McGarrigle after Conor Gibbons appeared to be laid out on the turf and then, a minute late, the all-in row which led to Sharkey’s dismissal.

It was a frantic end to a game which failed to deliver for most of the hour.

That said, the two points on offer will be gladly added to the Four Masters tally while St Eunan’s look to rediscover the form which made their early Championship favourites – a mantle they’ve since lost to current league leaders Kilcar.

FOUR MASTERS: Ryan Haughey; Kevin Breslin, Danny McGarrigle, Darren Walsh; Conor Rooney, Barry Dunnion, John Boyle; Kevin McBrearty, Barry Monaghan; Sean O’Kennedy, Michael Doherty (1-02), Darren Doherty; Josh Lacey, Conor McMonagle (0-3), Peader Espey (0-3, frees). Subs: Caolan Loughney for Dunnion (30 mins), Leo McHugh (0-1) for O’Kennedy (41 mins), Shane Carr for M Doherty (41 mins) and Pauric Harvey for Espey (59 mins).

ST EUNAN’S: John Paul Clarke; Sean McVeigh (0-1), Mick Martin, Ciaran Sharkey; Michael Miller, Caolan Ward (0-2), David Tyrell; Kevin Rafferty (0-1), Sean Hensey; Lee McMonagle, Sean Hume, Paddy McGowan (0-1, free); Conor O’Donnell, Donnacha Gallagher (1-01, free), Conor Gibbons. Subs: Sean Deffain for Clarke and Conor Parke for Hume (30 mins), Conor O’Boyle, Oisin Carr and Conor Morrison for Tyrell, Hensey, and O’Donnell (41 mins) and Cormac Callaghan for McGowan (55 mins)

REFEREE: Shane Toolan (Aodh Ruadh).

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