The Emeralds Under 21 side which overcame Tullaroan on Sunday afternoon. Pic: Penny Newbury
Emeralds and Tullaroan were fated to clash the U21 County Final on Sunday last in Freshford. Being friends and neighbouring clubs, it was inevitable it was going to go down to the wire.
Going into the first water break, Tullaroan looked home and dry leading by a favourable nine points.
But a determined and spirited team performance from the 16th minute onwards saw Emeralds them make a comeback to narrow the gap to two points by half time, and go on and win by two points at the full-time whistle.
Tullaroan opened the scoreline in the first minute of the game with a point from a free by Gearoid Dunne.
This was followed with a nice point from play by Emeralds corner forward Alex Burke in the 4th minute.
Tullaroan added to their tally with three successive points, two from play by Tomas Dunne and Bill Walton and another from a free by Gearoid Dunne.
A turning point in this first half was just before the water break, Tullaroan scored two successive goals.
Corner forward Bill Walton broke through for a goal which was quickly followed by another from Gearoid Dunne.
This left the score 2-4 to 0-1 at the waterbreak.
On the scoreboard Emeralds looked under pressure, but despite this they were composed on the field, and after the waterbreak they plugged away and eventually scored in the 24th minute, with a pass from centre forward Johnny Doyle to Liam Grant to a point.
Centre back Sean Burke caught the next Tullaroan puck out and broke out to pass to Kieran Cleere who finished nicely with a point.
Tomas Dunne answered with a point for Tullaroan.
A nice pass from the hardworking midfielder Killian Doyle found Calvin Ryan resulting in a point.
Adam Barnaville followed with two points from midfield and another from Calvin Ryan.
The Emeralds side were showing form all over the field.
Again, Sean Burke won a ball around the centre and found Liam Grant running on the wing who placed the ball between the posts.
At this stage Gearoid Dunne scored a nice long range free for Tullaroan to bring them back into the game.
A foul on Keelan Martin in injury time of the first half saw another point for the Emeralds men, who had made a great comeback in this second quarter.
Liam Grant pointed this free to leave just two points between the sides at the half time break.
Just after half time, busy corner forward Darragh Queally pointed.
The Emeralds kept the pressure on with a point from centre forward Johnny Doyle to level the game for the first time in the 35th minute.
The score at the second water break saw the teams tied at 2-6 to 0-12
Emeralds then went ahead with a point from free awarded for a foul on Alex Burke.
Tullaroan were not finished and made a momentary comeback in the 45th minute with a point from a free by Gearoid Dunne to level the match again.
At this stage it was a tantalising game, Emeralds Alex Burke and Calvin Ryan scored a point each to put them two ahead.
With six mins to go Tullaroan’s Jack Keogh and Bill Walton scored a point each to narrow the gap.
But it was not enough as Emeralds backs worked the ball out again and again.
In the final minutes Sean Burke was fouled and half back Kieran Cleere pointed a superb long range free.
After another foul on Adam Barnaville, Kieran Cleere pointed a second free to seal the deal for Emeralds.
Emeralds: Enda Kelly, Casper Woloski, Ciaran Phelan, Tomas Cussen, Gavin Moriarty, Sean Burke, Kieran Cleere(0-3), Adam Barnaville(0-3), Killian Doyle, Calvin Ryan(0-3), Johnny Doyle(0-1), Liam Grant(0-2, 0-2f), Alex Burke(0-2), Luke Phelan, Darragh Queally(0-1). Subs: Keelan Martin, Martin Quinlan, Adam Walsh, Paul Moloney, Brendan Cleere, Rory Hyde, Cormac Burke.
Tullaroan: Niall Holland, Paul of Mulligan, Eamon of Holland, Padraig O Mahony, David Fitzgerarld, Joe Coughlan, Bill Coogan, Jack Cleere, Tommy Walton(C), Ciallin Brennan, Tomas Dunne(0-1), Charlie Cleere, Bill Walton(1-2), Gearoid Dunne(1-1, 3f), Liam Walsh. Subs: Jack Keogh(0-1), Brendan Walsh, James Walton, Tom Dillion, Billy Keogh, Josh Tallis, Aaron Russell, Matthew Mulligan, Richard Delaney, Charlie Bibby, Richard Cash (inj).
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.