Aodh Ruadh grab defeat from jaws of victory

Under 16 football
Aodh Ruadh 1-7
Dungloe 3-2
23 May 2012
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

Aodh Ruadh under 14s delivered an underpowered performance and duly paid the price against a persistent Dungloe outfit last Wednesday evening.

It was a remarkable game. Aodh Ruadh were the physically bigger team and seemed to have the belief they could win the game whenever they wanted to. However they rather toyed with Dungloe and gave them hope when a more clinical side might have had them out of sight.

The game was a very cagey affair with scores hard bought. The first came from the homesters with ten minutes of the game gone when Ryan McKenna knocked over a free to get some reward for a sustained spell of Aodh Ruadh pressure. Conall Sweeny followed up with a point from play a minute later and it looked like the fluid play this Aodh Ruadh outfit had made their trademark was set to take hold.

Indeed three minutes later Oisín Rooney was weaving his way through the Dungloe defence before picking his spot and finishing past Eoin Doogan in the Dungloe net.

However Dungloe got themselves back into it on the 15 minute mark when one of their attackers bore down on goal from the left. He fisted over two advancing Aodh Ruadh defenders and Nathan White did very well to deftly flick the ball past the onrushing Caolan Drummond.

Six minutes later Matthew O'Brien was fouled in the penalty area and Sean McGee took an excellent penalty which once again left Drummond with no chance of effecting a save.

So after 21 minutes of play during which Aodh Ruadh enjoyed sustained dominance, Ballyshannon now found themselves trailing by a point. This spurred the homesters into action. With their first attack after the penalty Aaron Clarke got on the ball and fired over a super point in reply. Then anoter minute later Shane McGrath sent over a fine free from the right to restore Aodh Ruadh's lead and send the sides in at 1-4 to 2-0 at half time.

Aodh Ruadh again opened the scoring in the second half, this time it was Nathan Boyle, sending over a characteristically stylish effort. Nathan White got a point of almost equal beauty on 37 minutes, slotting his effort over from a very acute angle. A close range free from Shane McGrath on 44 minutes pushed the Ernesiders lead out to two points again.

The problem at this point was that Matthew O'Brien and Caelán Ward had taken over at midfield and the ball was coming back in on top of the Aodh Ruadh defence after every kick out.

With ten minutes left a Dungloe effort was ushered out for 45. The shot came back off the post and Matthew Rodgers was first to react, sticking the ball over the bar.

It's hard to over-emphasise the heroic work being done by the Aodh Ruadh defence during the last 15 minutes of the game and when Aaron Clarke sent over another clinker of a point a minute into stoppage time it looked like the homesters had hung on for a remarkable victory. The fates, however, had another ending in mind.

Daniel O'Donnell was the last of Dungloe's three subs. With the game in its dying seconds, three minutes into injury time, Dungloe launched a hit and hope effort into the crowded Aodh Ruadh square. It contrived to glide its way through the forest of arms into the grateful embrace of O'Donnell who blasted his shot in off the underside of Caelán Drummond's crossbar. Shane Toolan's final whistle seconds later set off scenes of ecstatic celebration as Dungloe celebrated getting the first win of their league campaign in the most dramatic of fashion.

You had to feel for Caelán Drummond who could do nothing about any of the goals and did the best he could with his kick outs in a situation where midfield was being lost. The full back line of Nathon Boyle, Shane Gillespie and Michael McKenna were truly outstanding. Jason Granaghan would have been a candidate for Aodh Ruadh's man of the match with his honesty and work ethic. Brendan Gillespie and Odhran O'Neill both soldiered hard. Indeed it was a shame for any of the defensive unit to finish on the losing side. Up from Aaron Clarke was probably the pick of the forwards, with two well taken points, while Ryan Ayres made a good impact when he came on.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Caolan Drummond; Shane Gillespie, Nathan Boyle (0-1), Michael McKenna; Jason Granaghan, Brendan Gillespie, Odrhan O'Neill; Shane McGrath (0-2, 1f), Oisín Rooney (1-0); Ryan McKenna (0-1f), Daniel Warnock, Aaron Clarke (0-2); Conal Sweeny (0-1), Jimmy Ward, Shane Dorrian.
Substitutes: Ryan Ayres for Shane Dorrian: 40 minutes; Naoise Patton, Stephen Anderson, Patrick McCaffrey, Cian McGloin, Oisín Kerr.
Aodh Ruadh
Eoin Doogan; Matthew Rodgers (0-1)m Mark Curran, Jason McBride; Michael Ward, James McCole, Matthew McCole, Caelán Ward, Matthew O'Brien; Conor Sweeney, Nathan White (1-1), Sean McGee; Ryan Conors, Danny McGarvey, Peter Meehan.
Substitutes: Matthew O'Donnell for Michael Ward: 24 minutes; Dominic Sharkey for Conor Sweeney: 38 minutes; Daniel O'Donnell (1-0).

Last modified: Monday, 28 May 2012 at 10:34pm