BY CHRIS MCNULTY
CHRISTY Toye says Sunday’s late show against Naomh Conaill can inspire St Michael’s to climb their way away from relegation trouble in Division 1.
Points in added time by Martin McElhinney and Andrew Kelly eked out what could be a vital two points for Tony Wilkinson’s side.
Just five points separate fifth-placed Ardara and ninth placed Glenswilly with St Michael’s one of those sides in between.
St Michael’s snatched defeated right out of victory’s jaws. Just when John O’Malley looked to have teed up a win for the Glenties men, St Michael’s pounced in the dying seconds to claim the win.
“It is a big two points for us,” said Toye, whose influence on the game was clear.
“If we had lost that today we’d have been badly struggling heading into the last half-a-dozen games.
“Hopefully that win will help get the boys’ confidence up. It would have been very deflating to get a good performance and not win.
“We have lost a few games like that where the performance has been alright, but where we’ve come out on the wrong side by a point or two.
“That should be a very important win. We’ll want to be safe by the time the Championship comes around.”
It was a nip-and-tuck encounter, with never more than a point between the sides.
Toye scored a magnificent point late in the first half to give St Michael’s the lead at the break. It wasn’t until those two late scores that the wrapped up the win.
Toye said: “We showed a lot of character to win that one. We had to dig deep and it should be a good confidence booster. Wins like that cane help build the character up even further.
“It was tough. Naomh Conaill are up there and they’ve a good system in place. They’re hard to break down.”
St Michael’s looked to have been denied a point by an umpire who waved a Michael Langan effort from a free wide when it seemed to have crept inside the upright. “It was over, surely,” Toye said. “It got the blood up and we pushed on a bit.”
With Colm McFadden resting a minor hamstring strain and the team sheet missing the likes of Stephen Black, Stephen Doak, Brian McLaughlin, Lee Carr and Daniel McLaughlin, St Michael’s can be encouraged that they’ve those men to welcome back.
Toye said: “We have a few young fellas coming in there, the two Langans (Michael and Oisin) and Chris McElhinney. They’re great options to have and we have more cover now. Those boys are coming in and adding to training too.
“The way it’s set up now, with the Championship held for a bit, we can blood young lads in the team for a few months in the League before the Championship.
“If the Championship was earlier in the year you’d just be throwing in last year’s team and having the young fellas for ten minutes here and there. That helps to get competition for places.”
Toye is set to play his 50th Championship game for Donegal on July 20th when Donegal take on Monaghan in the Ulster final at Clones.
He said: “Figures like that are for looking back on in time. It’s probably a good sign of longevity.”