Minors secure first leg win over Saint John's

Under 18 football championship
10 July 2013
Aodh Ruadh 1-14
Saint John's 0-8
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

Aodh Ruadh were full value for this nine point win over Saint John's in a sun-soaked Father Tierney Park on Wednesday evening

The Ernesiders opened the scoring with a neat point from Michael McNeely splitting the uprights from 25 metres after two minutes. Two minutes later and Paddy Gillespie was picking out Jamie McDonald with a pass which he did well to win and screw over from out on the right. It was another four minutes on before the next score landed and again it came off a Ballyshannon boot. The move started in the Aodh Ruadh defence with Colm Kelly executing a masterful dispossession before moving the ball up the field for Jamie McDonald to get on to it and knock over.

Saint John's opened their account in the eighth minute with Luke Kelly hoisting over a high effort which just about sneaked in.

David McGurrin registered his first score of the game two minutes later from a placed ball after Jamie McDonald was fouled. He made a tricky chance look easy to take the scores to 0-4 to 0-1 in favour of the homesters.

As the game moved into the second quarter a low 45 hit the Aodh Ruadh woodwork. After confusion in the defensive ranks the ball found its way to Ryan McCloskey who chipped over the visitor's second point.

The Ernesiders hit back with a quick reply, James Kelly showing good strength and vision to hold off his marker and feed Michael McNeely in space to chip over the bar. David McGurrin was on the mark with a second free before tigerish tackling in the Aodh Ruadh attack saw Saint John's forced to cough up the ball and McGurrin hit the mark with an audacious left foot shot. Moments later and McGurrin turned provider for Michael McNeely to hit Ballyshannon's eighth point of the game. In the 22nd minute McGurrin hit his third free of the game, before Saint John's managed to make some headway with Andrew Blaine notching two routine frees to take the scores back to 0-9 to 0-4.

Aodh Ruadh were getting their scores easier though and in the 26th minutes McGurrin coolly slotted over to put two goals between the sides. As the game ticked into added time McGurrin fired over the most impressive of his placed ball efforts hitting a free from 35 metres out on the right off the right boot and putting it straight between the posts. That rather superb effort was shortly followed by the half time whistle which saw Aodh Ruadh head to the dressing rooms leading on a scoreline of 0-11 to 0-4.

Saint John's needed a good start to the second half and they got it, pretty much from the throw in when the ball was worked to Joe Alvey who hit over a nice score. Three minutes later and a long ball into the Aodh Ruadh area found its way to Peter Alvey, but Ryan Patton and Daniel Kelly combined to deny his goal effort.

After a spell of indifferent football lasting much of the third quarter Peter Alvey finally enlivened proceedings with Saint John's best score of the game booming over a mighty long range point.

That score saw Aodh Ruadh finally click back into gear, with first David McGurrin shooting over from play and then James Kelly striking over from close range when there was a sniff of the goal on. Then McGurrin was set up by Michael McNeely in the 38th minute and the Abbey Isle man drove over his eighth point of the game.

It was to get worse for the visitors a minute later when a high ball into the area avoided pretty much every one, took a high bounce off the hard ground and Johnny Gethins was under it when it came down and emphatically swept his shot into the net past Eoin Gallagher.

Once again Aodh Ruadh's focus wandered and Saint John's Ryan McCloskey was able to notch two frees to take the scores back to 1-14 to 0-8 with seven minutes left. However the damage had been done by that staged and Ballyshannon were able to ease out the last few minutes on what was a sweltering evening for football to secure a first leg championship win.

The signs of ring rust were there for both sides, but for David McGurrin was in very slick form and full value for his eight point haul. Jamie McDonald was excellent and his contribution was broad ranging and belay his two point return. Michael McNeely was very economical with his opportunities. Defensively Ryan Patton was in fine form while further out Colm Kelly and Paddy Gillespie had impressive outings.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Daniel Kelly; Matthew Maguire, Ryan Patton, Eugene Drummond; Paddy Gillespie, Eamonn McGrath, Colm Kelly; Darren Gethins, Niall Harley; Eddie Lynch, David McGurrin (0-8, 4f), Philip Patton; James Kelly (0-1), Jamie McDonald (0-2), Michael McNeely (0-3).
Substitutes: Johnny Gethins (1-0) for Philip Patton: 37 minutes; Oisín Roper for Jamie McDonald: 49 minutes; Nathan Boyle for Eugene Drummond: 55 minutes; Kevin Warnock, Pauric Patton
Yellow Cards: Eamonn McGrath: 24 mintues; James Kelly: 38 minutes; Colm Kelly: 58 minutes.
Frees conceded: First half - 15; Second half - 11; Total - 26.
Wides: First half - 2; Second half -5 ; Total - 7.
Saint John's
Eoin Gallagher; Michael McGuinness, Brendan McCalliog, Dara McClean; David McGuinness, Rory McCalliog, Daniel Keeney; Christopher Cunningham, Niall Carbery; Luke Kelly (0-1), Joe Alvey (0-1), Ryan McCloskey (0-3, 2f); Peter Alvey (0-1), Paul Cunningham, Andrew Blaine (0-2f).
Substitutes: Gary Breslin , Stephen Foy, Declan Nolan, Eoin Ban Gallagher
Frees conceded: First half - 9; Second half - 4; Total - 13.
Wides: First half - 1; Second half - 1; Total - 2.

Last modified: Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 9:53pm