Aodh Ruadh edge Ardara in scorefest

Under 14 football
Aodh Ruadh 2-15
Ardara 4-6
28 April 2012
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

Aodh Ruadh had a real ding dong battle with Ardara in their opening game of the under 14 league. The visitors got off to a blinding start with and were 2-2 to 0-3 up with 10 minutes gone and Ballyshannon looking ragged. The Ardara goals came from their main danger man Stefan Boyle who had further cause to demonstrate his great eye for goal as the game wore on.

Aodh Ruadh stabilised their position after the initial burst of scores and started to assert themselves around the middle of the park, Oisín Rooney in particular helping to steady things. For the remaining 20 minutes the Ernesiders restricted Ardara to a single point from Oisin Brennan, whilst adding a further 1-3 themselves.

The comeback started with a Shane McGrath free, which elicited an immediate response in the shape of Brennan's point. After that it was all Aodh Ruadh. Shane McGrath manufactured a brilliant individual score to cut the deficit to four points. Oisín Rooney followed that up with a point. Six minutes later Rooney was on the attack again, scything through the Ardara defence. It looked like his chance might have gone as Ardara defenders swallowed him up, but he recovered his position and slammed home a marvellous shot that there was very little Paddy Gallagher could do anything about.

That leveled matters and as time ran down Shane McGrath hit an excellent 30 metre free to send Aodh Ruadh leading by the minimum, 2-3 to 1-7.

Oisín Rooney picked up where he left off at the beginning of the second half hitting a fine point to make it a two point lead, but Stefan Boyle was about to make his next intervention in the game. Ardara got a 20 metre free and Boyle dropped his free short and it hit the back of the net to take the green and gold back into the lead. Two minutes later Boyle extended the lead with a free.

Credit to Aodh Ruadh, there was no sign of heads dropping and they just soldiered merrily on. Shane McGrath hit a free to close the gap and then with a marvellous raking move where, once again, Oisín Rooney played a central role, Shane Dorrian found himself with a sniff of goal. Dorrian steadied himself, picked his spot and smashed home a clinical goal to make the scores 3-4 to 2-9 with 20 minutes to play.

The closing stages were evenly enough matched, but Aodh Ruadh were more clinical about taking their chances and they showed commendable attacking intelligence. On 48 minutes later Dorrian was next to make an impression on the scoreboard, his acute shot coming back off the post for a point. Oisín Rooney and Conor Mackey exchanged two high quality points. Then Aodh Ruadh got three in a row from Jimmy Ward, Shane McGrath and Oisín Rooney with only a Stefan Boyle free in reply to take it to 3-6 to 2-14 with time running out.

With a minute left to play Stefan Boyle got his fourth goal of the match, and probably his best to make it a two point game, but with characteristically cavalier football Aodh Ruadh dodged their way up the pitch and made an instant reply with a point from sub Michael McKenna.

A highly entertaining game of football, with both sides far from perfect. It was perhaps Aodh Ruadh's better spread of finishers which saw them over the line, but with tallies like 4-2 Stefan Boyle will be winning plenty of games for Ardara in this league campaign. Others who caught the eye in green and gold were midfielders Tony Harkin and Senan Boyle as well as Conor Mackey at centre half back.

Harkin and Boyle had a great battle with Oisín Rooney and Shane McGrath, but Rooney had an outstanding game. He got 1-4 from play, but his general contribution was excellent also. He was run close for man of the match by Jason Granaghan whose precision tackling repeatedly frustrating burgeoing Ardara attacks. Jimmy Ward hit three fine points while Shane Dorrian took his goal and a point with the absolute conviction of a born finisher.

Next up for Aodh Ruadh is the trip to Glenties where Naomh Conaill will be providing just a stern a test.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Naoise Patton: Caolan Drummond, Brendan Gillespie, Oisin Kerr; Jason Granaghan, Nathan Boyle, Daniel Warnock; Shane McGrath (0-4, 1f), Oisín Rooney (1-4); Odhran O'Neill, Jimmy Ward (0-3), Shane Dorrian (1-1); Aaron Clarke(0-1), Ryan McKenna (0-1), Stephen Anderson.
Substitutes: Michael McKenna (0-1) for Stephen Anderson: Half-time; Shane Gillespie for Odhran O'Neill: 37 minutes: Conal Sweeny for Aaron Clarke: 49 minutes, Ryan Ayres for Shane Dorrian: 56 minutes, Barry Kelly.
Ardara
Paddy Gallagher; Sean Sweeney, Brian White, Adam McShane; Simon Breslin, Conor Mackey (0-1), Ultan Brennan; Senan Boyle, Tony Harkin; Oisin Brennan (0-1), Michael Sweeney, Rory O'Donnell; Colm Breslin (0-1f), Stefan Boyle (4-2, 1f), Aaron McHugh
Substitutes: Niall McCrossan, Reece Furey-Brogan, Jordan Furey, Finnian Ward, Conor Weir, Joe Sweeney.

Last modified: Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 12:34am