St Eunan's (Donegal) 1-09 Roslea Shamrocks (Fermanagh) 0-06
St Eunan's won an Ulster Club Championship fixture for only the second time in their history when they waltzed past the challenge of Rosela Shamrocks in Letterkenny in the quarter-finals.
A 1-09 to 0-06 scoreline did not portray the comfort of the victory as the Fermanagh champions tagged on a handful of scores late in the match after St Eunan’s had effectively booked their semi-final tickets before half-time.
Once again St Eunan’s maintained possession for long spells, plotting their moves with the patience of a chess player, without panicking.
Kevin Rafferty, who last week was forced to retire with a serious eye injury, was back to link up with Rory Kavanagh at centre-field.
Together, the duo controlled the pace of the game.
Conall Dunne provided St Eunan’s with a cutting edge, scoring all but a point of their interval total as ends were changed with the hosts 1-05 to 0-00 in front.
His goal came from a 29th-minute penalty after Niall Cassidy was penalised for pulling the shirt of John Haran.
Forty years had come and gone since the Letterkenny side had played a provincial fixture in the county – an astounding statistic considering St Eunan’s have won nine Donegal SFC titles since the inception of the Ulster club championship in 1971.
Their second half was more functional than impressive; stuck between the two stools of pushing on for a bigger winning margin or sitting on what they had. Roslea continued with their perpetual aerial assault towards Sean and Seamus Quigley.
St Eunan’s used Michéal Martin and Sean Hensey respectively for those physical challenges and then their youngsters at the back were bright when picking up loose balls.
After 41 minutes, Roslea finally registered their first point when Seamus Quigley knocked over the first of his four points, three of which came from placed balls.
Six minutes from time, Dermot Reilly scored the first point from play for the visitors.
Playing offensively in bursts when the notion took them, St Eunan’s posted points here and there, with Conor Parke, Rory Carr, Conor Gibbons and Rafferty all on the mark as they progressed to the next stage.
St Eunan’s: Shaun Patton; Micheál Martin, Sean Hensey, Caolán Ward; Conor Parke (0-01), Eamonn Doherty, Conor Morrison; Kevin Rafferty (0-02), Rory Kavanagh; Darragh Mulgrew, Conall Dunne (1-04, 1-0pen, 2f), Sean McVeigh; Conor Gibbons (0-01), John Haran, Rory Carr (0-1).
Subs: Mark McGowan for Morrison (39), Cillian Morrison for Carr (49), Kieran Sharkey for Haran (56), Connall O'Boyle for Martin (57), Paddy McGowan for Gibbons (60).
Roslea Shamrocks: Sean Boyle; Conor Quigley, Niall Cassidy, Martin Beagan; Conor Mulligan, Peter Sherry, Martin Renfrew; James Sherry, Kevin Cosgrove; James McMahon, Peter Lynch, Niall Consgrove; Shane Lynch, Seamus Quigley (0-04, 3f), Sean Quigley (0-01, 1f).
Subs: Dermot Reilly (0-01) for Renfrew (30), Shane McMahon for Cassidy (33, black card), Danny Mohan for Cosgrove (47), Ryan McCormack for Lynch (47), Ruairi McGuinness for Beagan (54).
Referee: Ronan Barry (Down).