Photo: @dgldj via Twitter
The U21s’ winning run in the North-West Cup came to an end this afternoon up in Letterkenny when they were beaten by the narrowest of margins, losing to Donegal on a 1-9 to 1-8 scoreline.
I wasn’t there – I was making my way across the country in fogbound conditions this afternoon as the match was taking place – so this short piece is once again one culled from second-hand sources.
Mike Solan and his selectors opted for a much-changed team for today’s game. Only five of the lads who’d started last weekend against Sligo – Ciaran Harrison, Michael Plunkett, Val Roughneen, Fergal Boland and Brian Reape – also lined out from the start today.
Our lads started well, racing into a three-point lead via scores from Colm Reape, Morgan Lyons and Fergal Boland. The home side then hit four on the bounce before a second Fergal Boland point tied up the game at four each. A fifth Donegal point sent the Ulster team in one ahead at the break.
Substitute Ronan Carolan got the leveller shortly after the resumption but then 1-3 without reply for them left our lads with a proverbial mountain to climb. But climb it they did, their courageous fightback yielding a point from Colm Reape, another from Liam Irwin which the Breaffy player followed up with what sounded like a cracking goal.
With time running out Fergal Boland bagged his third point of the day to level the contest. It was the home side, however, who had the last say, with an injury-time point sealing the narrowest of wins for them.
The U21s will be back in action next weekend, either in the final proper or the shield final but it’s not yet clear which this will be. As far as I know all four teams have lost once at this stage so I guess scoring differences or whatever might come into it. All will, no doubt, be revealed in due course.
Mayo: Scott Kilker; Eoin O’Donoghue, David Kenny, Ciaran Harrison; Barry Duffy, Michael Hall, Michael Plunkett; Mikey Murray, Val Roughneen; Fergal Boland (0-3), Brian Reape, James Lyons; Morgan Lyons (0-1), Colm Reape (0-2), James Carr. Subs listed (not sure how many of them came on): Matthew Flanagan, Cathal Barrett, Seamus Cunniffe, Ronan Carolan (0-1), Eddie Doran, Fionan Duffy, Jason Forkan, Liam Irwin (1-1), James Kelly, Ryan Lynch, Padraig Prendergast, TJ Byrne.