TERMON 0-11 AODH RUADH 1-07
By Chris McNulty in Ballybofey
THE Termon club has had to grieve for quite a bit lately – but football finally made them smile again on Wednesday night.
Substitute Daireann Gibson’s late point gave them victory in the Donegal IFC final at soaking Ballybofey, handing them a welcome slice of solace after a pained couple of months for the Burn Road club.
Andrew Duffy would have been playing at wing-back on Wednesday night, but for his tragic death in September when he drowned in Dublin on the night of Donegal’s All-Ireland semi-final win over Cork in August.
Duffy was at the heart of this victory, however. His number 7 jersey has been retired for the season and ‘AD’ was stitched into the left breast of the players’ jerseys in a moving tribute to their team-mate.
Christy Connaghan superbly arched over a 40m free off the ground in testing conditions to level the tie and when Gibson superbly drilled over the winner two minutes from the end it finally allowed them to experience some joy – just two days after Elaine Winston, wife of club mentor and player Francie Friel, was buried after her death on Saturday, aged just 31.
Poignantly, Francie lifted the Cathal McLaughlin Cup along with the team’s captain and goalkeeper, the Donegal panelist Michael Boyle, who paid a touching tribute in his acceptance speech.
“Andrew Duffy was a massive loss to his family, to his community and especially to the senior team in Termon,” said an emotional Boyle.
“I know that he is in the thoughts of all the boys whenever we go out to play. I want to pay my respects to him.
“There is another person who passed away at the weekend – Elaine Winston – who we cannot forget.
“She was a massive Donegal supporter, she was a massive St Eunan’s supporter and she was a massive Termon supporter. The man she was married to has been the heart and soul of this club this last couple of years and I want to pay massive respect to Francie Friel. Only a man like himself would be here after the time he has gone through this last month.
“We dedicate this win and this season to Andrew Duffy and Elaine Winston.”
Times have been trying – but on Wednesday night Termon wanted football to do its talking.
Termon burst from the traps with Connaghan’s point after just 27 seconds paved the way for an early onslaught, with Johnny McCafferty and Marty Sweeney also on the mark.
The tide turned, however, in the ninth minute when Aodh Ruad got in for a goal that levelled the tie.
From a deft lob in by veteran Brian Roper, Barry Mulligan pulled the ball from the clouds and cracked past Michael Boyle in style.
Aodh Ruadh moved three ahead, with quick-fire points by David Dolan and a brace from Michael Ward only for Termon to hit back with McCafferty and Connaghan on the mark. Connaghan might well have been celebrating a goal on another night. Having been set away by Aidan Sweeney’s sideline kick, Connaghan lit away from his marker to steal into a goalscoring position – only for Aodh Ruadh custodian Peter Boyle to superbly turn his effort over the crossbar.
Mulligan and Aidan Sweeney traded points, but Termon drew level by the interval with Paddy McDaid curling over deep in first half stoppage time after Aidan Sweeney rattled the crossbar seconds earlier.
Three times, Aodh Ruadh inched ahead in a cagey part two, with Ward, Dolan and sub Diarmuid McInerney on the mark, but each time Termon levelled with Sean O’Donnell and James Doherty on target to tee up a grandstand finale.
Termon levelled once again when Connaghan magnificently soared a 40m free over the black spot from the ground.
And Termon were set up for the win when Gibson angled over in style, while Aodh Ruadh were left cursing a couple of late misses that ensured the Lagoon was awaiting the arrival of the silverware.
From tragedy to triumph, it was a sweet win for Termon – who now face Aghagallon in Ballybofey on Sunday in the Ulster championship.
AODH RUADH: Peter Boyle; Johnny Gallagher, Ciron Whoriskey, Conor Patton; Michael Dolan, Anthony Boyle, Eamonn McGrath; Kerry Ryan, Stephen Ward; Barry Mulligan (1-1), David Dolan (0-2), Martin Gallagher; Brian Roper, Michael Ward (0-3, 2f), Donagh McIntyre. Subs: Niall McCready for Ryan (38 mins); James O’Donnell for S.Ward (38 mins); Diarmuid McInerney (0-1) for McIntyre (43 mins); PJ McGee for Whoriskey (53 mins)
TERMON: Michael Boyle; Joe O’Donnell, Kevin Gettigan, Anthony McGrenra; Steve McElwaine, Sean O’Donnell (0-1), Kevin McGettigan; Ollie Doherty, Johnny McCafferty (0-2); Kevin McDaid, Marty Sweeney (0-1), Trevor Alcorn; Aidan Sweeney (0-1), Christy Connaghan (0-3, 1f), Paddy McDaid (0-1). Subs: Jimmy Gallagher for K.McDaid (half-time); James Doherty (0-1) for K.McElwaine (43 mins); Daireann Gibson (0-1) for M.Sweeney (50 mins).
REFEREE: Ian Molloy (Naomh Conaill).
Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere