GLENSWILLY 3-19 KILLYBEGS 2-06
Report by Chris McNulty at Sean MacCumhaill Park
GLENSWILLY turned in a magnificent second-half performance, led by a superb offering by Michael Murphy, to win Dr Maguire for the second time.
Murphy was in inspired form, mere hours after captaining Ireland in the first Test of the International Rules on Saturday night.
The beauty of his brilliance sometimes is that he makes it look so simple.
Here, he produced a five-star performance to fire Glenswilly to glory.
Murphy netted a first-half penalty and played the lead role in a pair of second half goals, scored by Neil Gallagher and Ciarán Bonner.
It is not too often that a county chairman will single out a player in his presentation speech, but Sean Dunnion could hardly not have passed comment.
Dunnion mentioned ‘a special player’ and his comments were on the money on a day when Glenswilly confirmed their status as top dogs in Donegal.
Killybegs had pushed them all the way for the first half, with Christopher Murrin and Hugh McFadden scoring goals, but Glenswilly took a firm grip of things thereafter.
In International Rules, the Australians refer to the third quarter as being the ‘Championship’ quarter – and this rang true for Murphy and Glenswilly.
Brendan Faherty had tied things up 90 seconds into the second half, but Glenswilly soon seized the moment.
Gary McDaid’s team scored 1-7 in that third quarter, with their opponents managing only 0-2 in the same period. Indeed, in a 26-minute spell after the break, Glenwilly outgunned the Fishermen 2-10 to 0-1 and with full-back Jason Noctor having been sent off for a second bookable offence the way back was just too taxing for Martin ‘Slua’ Boyle’s outfit.
Underdogs Killybegs, buoyed after midfielder Enda Murphy was given an eleventh-hour reprieve from suspension to play, made a real go of it early on.
When Murrin’s long ball in the ninth minute deceived everyone, including Glenswilly goalkeeper Philip O’Donnell, for a goal, they garnered real belief.
Murphy tucked home a 13th minute penalty after Colin Kelly had been hauled down, but again Killybegs struck in a frenetic opening quarter as McFadden palmed home after another long ball caused panic in the Glen defence.
Glenswilly settled and, with Murphy, Gary McFadden and Caolán Kelly on the mark, they led 1-7 to 2-3 at the break.
Those raking deliveries on top of O’Donnell were causing the Glenswilly netminder a great deal of angst and there was another moment when the hearts popped to the mouths as Benny Boyle’s hopeful punt bobbled awkwardly in the goal-mouth clay before the rearguard managed to get it away.
Killybegs had already shocked the system, reaching the final having lost all fourteen of their League games.
They had played with real purpose at times in the first half, but nothing could have prepared them for what they’d face in the second half.
Whatever was said in Glenswilly’s half-time team talk, it worked a treat.
Glenswilly scored 2-10 to just one point in a 26-minute spell in which McDaid’s team assumed control once they cut out those mistakes that haunted the opening half-an-hour.
Their second half here was as good as they’ve ever been. It was a performance of real poise and precision by a team that seemed almost affronted by the experience of the first half.
Five minutes in, Gallagher latched onto Murphy’s pass and, after initially being denied by Antoine O’Hara, the midfielder crashed home their second goal.
Gary McFadden ended the day with seven points while the efficient and effective Ruairi Crawford put Glenswilly five up.
Killybegs – who had Everton and Republic of Ireland star Seamus Coleman among their big support – were rocked when full-back Noctor was sent off. The former Donegal panelist was given a second yellow card for hauling down Murphy. Without the tenacious Noctor, Killybegs’ afternoon became an ordeal.
Kealan McFadden hit a quick-fire brace and, with fifteen minutes left, Glenswilly were home and hosed, leading by nine.
Twelve minutes from the end, a sublime back-heel by Murphy sent Kealan McFadden scampering clear.
With only O’Hara to beat, he off-loaded for Bonner to crash home and the champagne was at the ready.
The diminutive McFadden had been a late inclusion, along with Colin Kelly, and the former Donegal Under 21 player had a superb second-half.
Darren McGinley fisted over as the Glenswilly express just kept rolling and the half-forward might well have gone for goal, only to elect to take the smart option.
Even with his team on the victory path, McGinley didn’t dice with destiny, proving that the ruthless edge they’d mentioned before the game had indeed been developed.
Gary McFadden (2) and Gallagher had it resembling a procession by the conclusion.
Fittingly, though, the final say was down to Murphy, as he forced his way past a handful of Killybegs players to win the free that would be his final act of a memorable weekend.
GLENSWILLY: Philip O’Donnell; Brian McDaid, Eamon Ward, Aidan McDevitt; Ruairi Crawford (0-1), Jams Pat McDaid, Joe Gibbons; Neil Gallagher (1-1), Ciaran Bonner (1-1); Darren McGinley (0-1), Gary McFadden (0-7, 5f), Kealan McFadden (0-2); Colin Kelly, Michael Murphy (1-5, 1-0pen, 5f), Caolán Kelly (0-1).
Subs: Cathal Gallagher for J.McDaid (48 mins), Brian Farrelly for K.McFadden (51 mins), John McFadden for Colin Kelly (53 mins), Ryan Diver for Crawford (55 mins). Oisin Crawford for Bonner (56 mins).
KILLYBEGS: Antoine O’Hara; Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Jason Noctor, Daniel O’Donnell; Christopher Murrin (1-0), Shane Molloy, David Conwell (0-1); Enda Murphy, Matthew Smyth; Benny Boyle (0-1), Conal Molloy, Daniel Breslin; Brendan Faherty (0-1), Hugh McFadden (1-3, 3f), Mark Boyle.
Subs: Pauric Gallagher for M.Boyle (37 mins), Brendan McGuire for C.Molloy (44 mins), Barry Cannon for Murphy (44 mins).
REFEREE: Ian Molloy (Naomh Conaill).