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Aodh Ruadh fade out under lights

RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta senior football championship quarter-final replay
26 August 2007
Saint Eunan's 2-10
Aodh Ruadh 0-09
Sean Perry reports from Ballybofey.

Aodh Ruadh's tame exit from the championship under floodlights on Sunday evening last in Ballybofey completed a miserable weekend for clubs from the south and south west of the county. The Ballyshannon men joined Four Masters and Kilcar as "also-rans" in the 2007 competition, St Eunans powered into the last four and are by far the most familiar name in an odd looking list of semi-finalists.

Replays so often fail to live up to expectation with the drawn game between these sides a week earlier having been a cracking football match. This again proved to be the case on Sunday evening, St Eunans who had come back from seven points down on matchday one were determined they wouldn't be on the wrong side of such a score difference again.

While the lights certainly added to the spectacle bringing the local club championship into a new era, the level of entertainment provided underneath them was much less enlightening. Having whacked home 1-9 in the opening half in the drawn match, the Ballyshannon men could only manage 0-3 in the same period on Sunday, two of those points coming from Pauric Buggy frees.

A terrible mistake from the otherwise excellent David Greene on 42 minutes effectively gift-wrapped the game for the Letterkenny men, Mark McGowan rolled the ball home to put Eunans nine points to the good.

Cruelly for the Ballyshannon men, the game appeared destined to slip from them long before McGowan's goal. They quite simply never got going, an eight minute period in the second half following the introduction of Val Murray saw them string together their only passage of quality football, by then St Eunans were simply too far ahead.

The Letterkenny men began the game at lightning pace, however several bad wides and two great saves from Greene meant they actually trailed by 0-2 to 0-1 at the ten minute mark.

When meetings between the present generation of Aodh Ruadh and St Eunans players are spoken of years from now, one man's contribution exceeds all others. Brendan Devenney. Midway through the first half, the star forward took off to goal with green and white jerseys left floundering in his wake. His first powerful effort was parried out by David Greene but Devenney continued his run, seized the loose ball and ripped the roof of the net such was the intensity of his second jubilant kick after 20 minutes.

The beaten finalists of '05 and '06 built on their five point lead early in the second half, the Erne-siders were forced to withdraw captain Michael Ward from the edge of the square, a leg injury hadn't healed adequately to allow Ward be the force Aodh Ruadh would have hoped.

The impressive Kavanagh and McGinley upped the ante in the engine room for Eunans, regularly getting forward from midfield as Eunans began to squeeze the life from their opponents creating many more chances than the twelve they converted.

Once a 40 yard kick from Devenney slid under Greene who had come to the 20 metre line to claim possession, the game was all but over. Mark McGowan rounded the unfortunate keeper to tap to an empty net. Ciaran Sharkey and Conall Dunne posted late scores for the Letterkenny men who now advance to meet Glenfin in the semi-final.

Sunday's result will mean a serious test of the Ballyshannon men's character to stay in the top flight of the league, the currently occupy the bottom slot in division 1A.

Having accounted for both Naomh Conall and Aodh Ruadh, Brendan Kilcoyne's side will be red hot favourites to take the Dr Maguire cup. However, the Tubbercurry man has been in this position before only to be thwarted by hungrier opposition.

Vital Statistics
Saint Eunan's
Damien Martin; Colin McIntyre, Mossie McGeehan, Mark McGowan (1-1); Damien McClafferty, Eddie Brennan, Adrian McClafferty; David McGinley, Rory Kavanagh (0-2); Ciaran Sharkey (0-1), Ciaran Ryan, Peter Doherty; Conall Dunne (0-2), John Haran (c) Brendan Devenney (1-4, 4f)
Ciaran Greene for Doherty, Eamon Doherty for Kavanagh, Brian McDermott for McGowan.
Aodh Ruadh
David Greene; Darren Drummond, Ciron Whoriskey (0-1), Philip O'Reilly; Martin Gallagher, Patrick McGrath, Niall McCready; Stephen Ward, Thomas McPhelim; Brian Roper, Barry Ward (0-2), Pauric Buggy (0-2, 2 frees); Seamus Kane (0-1), Michael Ward (c), Barry Mulligan (0-1)
Diarmuid McInerney for M Ward, Michael Gurn for McPhelim, Val Murray (0-2, 1 free) for Buggy.
Jimmy White (Killybegs)

Report Filed: 27 August 2007