By Patrick Sharkey at the Cross,
This was a satisfactory night at Red Hughs GAA headquarters for Buncrana, who collected Marley’s coaches’ Football League Division Three two points. It all fell into place for Buncrana.
Under Gary Duffy’s stewardship belief and momentum are being generated with the green, white and yellow supporters enjoying another triumph over Red Hughs. However, there were doubts whenever Red Hughs had the upper hand in the first half going in ahead by a point with a solid midfield.
The hard-earned manner of the win augurs well ahead of what promises to be a keenly contested Donegal Intermediate Football Championship. However, tonight’s game taught Red Hughs how important Jason Gallagher will be for them heading into the championship as he was free for most of the game as Buncrana played two men on the inside. Mr Gallagher made a difficult role look easy as he had to double up with Aaron McGinley for any two-footed attackers and was able to read the breaks off Thomas McMenamin and any big full forward Buncrana put up against them. Throughout the game, Gallagher, usually became the extra man as the rest of the team granted him a licence to join the attack.
Red Hughs will reflect on a string of missed goalscoring opportunities with Buncrana custodian Harry Doherty an influential figure. One man who fell victim to this would have been James Carlin. This doesn’t mean Mr.Carlin had a bad game as he was the key player in the transition from defence to attack for Red Hughs. Carlin was always present on the 40 when Red Hughs needed him to be. James showed tonight that he was elusive, a great passer and could maximise space. Buncrana was left with a choice between following him or sitting in the space he vacates. Buncrana tried both.
Donegal U20 star Crawford also got a point for Buncrana from open play. This was gut-wrenching for all the efforts put in by Red Hughs until that moment.
Ultimately that was the difference between the teams with the Buncrana faithful in the 45, 041 crowd saluting the victory with a throaty roar at the end of a tight game. Red Hughs kept the game tight thanks to an integral role played by Darragh McMenamin. Mr McMenamin was the key player.
The opening quarter provided plenty of encouraging evidence for Buncrana, who face Naomh Bríd in the Donegal league next Saturday. However it was actually Red Hughs who scored more and despite not getting on the score sheet, James Carlin was a big influence in it and was the key to unlocking the Buncrana defence. Mr Carlin achieved this by winning most of his individual battles. Carlin dominated.
During that effective Buncrana burst Gary Duffy’s outfit accumulated a 0-3 to 0-1 disadvantage. It was only a matter of time however before Darrach O Connor showed his magic by scoring 1-3.
Matthew Mulholland was thundering forward impressively; John McKenna and Micheal Bernard McLaughlin craved involvement; Harry Doherty carried a threat inside. The man behind all of this!
At the opposite end of the field, Buncrana was restricting Red Hughs, forcing a couple of turnovers.
When Campbell rifled over a sweet 16th-minute effort Buncrana was down by one, but Red Hughs summoned a brave response. It meant absolutely nothing though as Aedan Stokes put in a good shift at the back playing as the extra man. Well, he was free whenever Red Hughs played two men on the inside. It may have been a difficult role but Mr.Skokes pulled his weight whenever he doubled up with Adrian McColgan for any two-footed attackers coming after them and showed that he could read important breaks.
Jack GIllespie and John Campbell were the only two who scored in the second half as Red Hughs went in ahead by a point. it meant nothing as Buncrana flexed their muscles with an seven point victory at full time.
Red Hughs scorers: Jack Gillespie 0-5,5f; Calvin Bradley 0-1; Cathair Browne 0-1.
Buncrana scorers: John Campbell 0-5,2f,1m; Darach O’Connor 1-3; Sean McLaughlin 0-1; Adrian Doherty 0-1; Oisin Crawford 0-1. Liam Jordan 0-1.
Red Hughs: Luke Kelly; Aaron McGinley, Thomas McMenamin, Jason Callaghan; Shane Gallagher, Gareth McGill; Darragh McMenamin, Jack Gillespie; Peadar McGlinchey, Odheran Doherty, James Carlin; James Doherty, Calvin Bradley, Michael McMenamin.
Subs: Cathair Browne for M McMenamin (44); Gerard Melaugh for Callaghan (50); Luke Browne for McGill (56).
Buncrana: Harry Doherty; Adrian McColgan, Sean Doherty, Aedan Stoc; John Paul McKenna, William McLaughlin, Oisin Crawford; Peter McLaughlin, Michael Bernard McLaughlin; Adrian Doherty, Sean McLaughlin, Matthew Mulholland; Liam Jordan, John Campbell, Darach O’Connor.
Subs: Jamie Friel for McKenna (50).
Referee: Val Murray (Aodh Ruadh).
Man of the Match: Darragh McMenamin and Gareth McGill held their own in the half back line for Red Hughes and Matthew Mullholland and Adrian McColgan ran the show for Buncrana but the man of the match had to go to the Buncrana sharpshooter John Campbell. Mr.Campbell scored 0-5,2f,1m. However Campbell brought more than his shooting boots as he played the same role as Liam Jordan in which he was able to anticipate any of the high and diagonal balls coming into him. Johns actions led to crucial goal chances and he would have felt unlucky not to have got on the end of Darrach O’Connors goal.