Silky midfielder Egnacio De Pedro rifled home the winner in an epic Inishowen Winter League final this afternoon, as Buncrana Hearts edged past a fancied Clonmany side on a 3-2 scoreline at Maginn Park.

It was a shame that there could only be one winner in one of the most exciting cup finals Inishowen League HQ has hosted in recent seasons, as both sides played an expansive, attack minded game that saw multiple chances created at both ends.

An unstoppable volley from the edge of the box by Mikey Friel gave the Shamrocks a deserved lead on 11 minutes but the Hearts came back strongly and deservedly equalised before the break through Keith Elliot.

A stunning long range freekick from midfielder Aaron McDaid put the Hearts ahead midway through the second half but Clonmany responded well to that set back and a second goal from Friel meant the game looked destined for extra time.

The Hearts piled bodies forward for a corner late on and were rewarded for their positivity when substitute De Pedro lashed McDaid’s corner to the roof of the net for the lead goal.

Notably, all three of Hearts’ goals came from set pieces as they were rewarded for the hours of work they have put in on the training ground with manager Stephen Quigley.

Hearts’ rock at the back, skipper James Downey, received the league cup from League Secretary Paddy Corr to kick start the celebrations that are sure to go long into the afternoon.

BUNCRANA: Cathal McNutt, Lee Davidson, Jamie Brosnan, James Loughrey, James Downey, Evan McCallion, Mark McFadden, Aaron McDaid, Jard Flynn, Keith Elliot, Matthew Mulholland SUBS: Ryan McHugh, Adam Whoriskey, Egnacio De Pedro, Philip O’Donnell

CLONMANY: Owen McLaughlin, Jamie McGonigle, Oisin Devlin, Daniel McGonigle, Gavin McDaid, Conor Doherty, Jack Doherty, Alaxs McFadden, Mickey Friel, Nathan McKinney, Piers McCarron SUBS: Matthew Brennan, Conor Barrey, Kilvey Bovaird, Owen Coobes, Conor Doherty, Shaun McCarron

REFEREE: Gerard O’Kane, Assisted by Liam Porter and Eamon Doherty

By Johnny Craig

See this Tuesday's Inish Times for full coverage of Saturday's final.

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