Ladies denied by Ardara rearguard action

Ladies intermediate football championship
13 July 2014
Aodh Ruadh 0-7
Burt 2-4
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

The toss of a coin made the difference as Aodh Ruadh's ladies came up short against a disciplined Ardara outfit in Father Tierney Park on Sunday morning.

Ballyshannon had possession of the ball for long stretches, but only rarely found their way through a massed Ardara rearguard.

The fresh breeze blowing from the Rock Hospital end of the ground had a pronounced effect on the game. Ardara defended in depth, allowing Aodh Ruadh plenty of ball in the last third. However with the breeze making shooting difficult the Shamettes found it hard to make it count with nine first half wides and a number of efforts landing short a testament to the conditions.

Both keepers were in good form too, which also helped to keep the scoring low. The first real threat to the posts only came in the ninth minute, A goal-bound Aine Duffy shot being smartly stopped by Patricia McDevitt.

It was three minutes later before Dearbhaile McNeill finally opened the scoring for the homesters with what was to be their only score of the half. Aodh Ruadh continued to dominate possession, but Ardara were able to make the most of their breaks. First Carol Breslin found the mark in the 19th minute with a free and then the visitors went close with two goal chances four minutes later first Niamh Toolan made a fine save from Aoife Watters, then Tanya Barrett rattled the side netting with a follow up shot.

The half looked set to finish on a point a piece, which would have suited Aodh Ruadh, given the following breeze in the second period. However Ardara finished strongly. First Natasha McCole edged the visitors in front with a free from out on the right. Then a minute later Aoife Watters made a strong burst through before off-loading to Una McLaughlin who netted to make it 1-2 to 0-1 in favour of Ardara as the sides went in for the break.

The question at the interval was did Aodh Ruadh have enough left in the tank after spending the first half battering the Ardara defence to claw back the deficit with the backing of the wind in the second half.

At first it seemed like the answer might be yes. Frees from Elaine Dorrian in the 37th and 41st minutes put two points in the game. The loss of Aodh Ruadh talisman Tara Khan in the 37th minute looked like a crucial blow, but then Maeve Liston started to make her influence felt on proceedings. As the game moved into the final quarter she won and converted a free, then she showed great strenght and conviction to break the Ardara cover to hit a score from play to level the game with 12 minutes left.

However, the toll of labouring against the blanket started to tell on the Ernesiders and Ardara struck on the counter. Two points from play pushed the margin out again, first Ciara Mooney and then the dangerous midfielder Tanya Barrett doing the damage.

A goal would still have nicked it for the Shamettes, and they would have deserved it on the basis of showing the more commitment to the attack alone. However Tanya Barrett's fitness was to prove a decisive factor, the Ardara midfielder finishing the game stronger than any other player on the pitch. When Carol Breslin won an Aodh Ruadh kick out in the 60th minute Barrett was racing through on hand to deliver the coup de grace to Ballyshannon's hopes of victory. Niamh Toolan had no chance with the shot.

The remainder of the game saw the Shamettes piling on the pressure. Three minutes into added time Orlaith Gillespie advanced down the end line and slipped over a point to put four points between the teams and then a minute later Dearbhaile McNeill knocked over a free, but it was too little too late and it was Ardara who held the spoils at Declan Callaghan's long whistle.

A tough loss to take for Aodh Ruadh and there is an argument that playing with wind advantage in the first half would have made all the difference. Best for the Shamettes was Maeve Liston, who took the tie by the scruff of the neck when the game looked like passing Aodh Ruadh by altogether. Tara Khan did well before being sidelined by injury. Roise Keon was excellent too, battling right to the end and looking very sharp. Grainne McCosker was very adept at reading and robbing Ardara kick-outs. Aine Duffy got on a lot of ball up front and on a different day could have finished with a big haul.

For Ardara Tanya Barrett stood out with her athleticism probably the deciding factor in the closing stages. Carol Breslin also proved herself a canny operator in the forward line and Patricia McDevitt in nets denied Aodh Ruadh on a number of occasions.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Niamh Toolan; Cliodhna Kerr, Maeve Liston (0-2, 1f), Shelly Loughlin; Hannah Doherty, Tara Khan, Roise Keoin; Sarah Patton, Tanya O'Shea; Grainne McCosker, Claudia Coughlin, Orlaith Gillespie (0-1); Aine Duffy, Dearbhaile McNeill (0-2, 1f), Elaine Dorrian (0-2f).
Substitutes: Megan McGee for Tara Khan (inj) : 37minutes; Sarah Timoney, Ruth Flood, Lorna Matthews, Ciarde Sheerin.
Wides: First half: 9; Second half: 6; Total: 15.
Frees conceded: First half: 8; Second half: 12; Total: 20.
Kick outs won: Own: 8; Opposition: 6; Total: 14.
Burt
Patricia McDevitt; Sharon Kilbane, Ciara Watters, Grace Watters; Roisin Magurie, Alana Sweeney, Mairead Watters; Aoife Watters, Tanya Barrett (1-1); Ciara Mooney (0-1), Grace Feeney, Claire Maguire; Una McLaughlin (1-0), Carol Breslin (0-1f), Natasha McCole (0-1f).
Substitutes: Michelle Bennett for Aoife Watters : Half-time; Chelsea Bennett for Mairead Watters : Half-time; Sinead Concarr, Rosa Kelly, Erin-Marie Darnell.
Wides: First half: 2; Second half: 2; Total: 4.
Frees conceded: First half: 10; Second half: 19; Total: 29.
Kick outs won: Own: 11; Opposition: 4; Total: 15.
Referee: Declan Callaghan (Kilcar)
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Last modified: Monday, 14 July 2014 at 2:17pm