Late Sheridan strike gives Fingal final boost
By RORY KERR
Tuesday April 03 2012
A LATE Niall Feeney goal saw Fingal receive the perfect boost ahead of their league final date with Monaghan in just under a fortnight’s time.
Wins over nearest chasers Tyrone and Louth had already meant Fingal were through to the decider regardless of how results went on Sunday. Nonetheless Fingal boss, Willie Bourke, would have been a bit concerned at the manner of some of their defending as a revamped Donegal attack hit them for a hat-trick of secondhalf goals. An injury to full forward Caimhin O Caillin in the second had saw Danny Cullen introduced after the break and along with Ronan Mcdermott they were to transform the Ulstermen’s fortunes. Admittedly Fingal were without some key defenders in Peter Coyne, David Markey and Dermot Vaughan, while in-form forward, Peter Daly, sat the game out too. Nonetheless Donegal made up mostly of players from the Beart and Setanta clubs deserve credit for some dogged play and sharp finishing in front of goal. Niall Campbell was to carry the attack with a return of eight points, while Beart club mate Joe Boyle also pitched in with two points from midfield. Nonetheless the omens didn’t look good for Liam Burke’s men in the early stages with three points from JM Sheridan firing the home side into an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead. And although points from Campbell and Boyle either side of another Sheridan effort was to cut the gap to two, Donegal were then knocked back on their heals when Graham Dillon fired past Paul Burns on the quarter hour. The two teams exchanged a point apiece before Eoin Power scored a great point on the run for Fingal to make it a six point game. And with Fingal impressing in the half back line with Paul Quinn particularly strong, alongside Micheal Cussen (restored to the defence for the first time this season since returning from injury) Donegal had to bide their time. But they duly made their breakthrough on the half hour when off a long delivery from Boyle, O Caillin outfielded James Mcanaw before converting past the keeper to put just two points between the sides. However, Fingal didn’t let that effect them too much with the impressive Sheridan racing through the defence off Eoin Power’s long ball before shooting over a fine point. And in between points from Campbell and Boyle, Sheridan registered another score to bring his tally to seven points for the half as Fingal went in at the break leading 1-10 to 1-8. However, Donegal were back in front once more when Cullen fired instinctively past the keeper. It was nip and tuck after that but on 44 minutes, Donegal struck for their second goal when Ronal Mcdermott scored with practically his first touch of the game, 3-10 to 1-12 to Donegal. Fingal’s response with back to back points with Paul Burns then going down well to his right to keep out an effort from Sheridan. And with efforts from Campbell and Enda Mcdermott keeping Donegal in front, the visitors were making life difficult for the home side. The Ulster men were handed further encouragement when an error of judgement by a Fingal defender allowed Ronan Mcdermott in for his second goal with eight minutes to go, 4-12 to 1-16 However it was all Fingal after that with Sheridan (2) and Andrew Richardson hitting three unanswered scores heading up to full time. In the last act of the game a good piece of industry from Sheridan saw him cut in from the right before squaring to Feeney who duly shot past the keeper to secure a dramatic win.
– RORY KERR