Controversy clouds Dungloe play-off win

RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta senior football championship first round
10th August 2008
Dungloe 0-10
Aodh Ruadh 0-09
Chris McNulty reports from Sean McCumhaill Park, Ballybofey.

Last gasp points from Mark Clerkin and Noel McBride saw Dungloe snatch victory from under the noses of Aodh Ruadh to seal their place in a Championship quarter final with Termon next weekend.

Yesterday afternoon, Dungloe came from the brink of an exit to inflict defeat on Aodh Ruadh in a first round play-off at Sean McCumhaill Park that saw Noel McBride's match-winning point put the Rosses side into the lead for the first time.

Four minutes from time with Aodh Ruadh a point up (0-9 to 0-8), the Ballyshannon team thought that they had put the issue to bed as they rattled the Dungloe net, only for Anthony Boyle to be adjudged to have been in the square. Brian Roper did well to fetch the ball from going wide and he fed Boyle who blasted home, only to have the celebrations cut short.

The decision incensed the Aodh Ruadh contingent.

While Aodh Ruadh were always marginally in front from the early stages up to the last quarter, five points from the ever-dangerous Adriean Sweeney had kept Dungloe within touching distance.

It was Aodh Ruadh who were out the sharper as the Ballyshannon men raced into a three point lead inside the first six minutes.

Two early frees from Pauric Buggy, who hit 1-5 in the first leg of this tie, got them underway before the dangerous Donagh McIntyre clipped over to conclude a move that involved Stephen Ward, Pauric Buggy and assist-provider, Brian Roper.

Martin Ferry fisted against an upright before a mistake in bringing the ball out of defence by Aodh Ruadh allowed Adrian Sweeney a chance to break Dungloe's duck and he duly capitalised. Sweeney tapped over a free won by Shaun Sharkey a minute later for his and Dungloe's second.

Donagh McIntyre and Adrian Sweeney traded scores before a barren spell without score ended when Roper pounced to fire over after a strong run through the heart of the defence by Anthony Boyle.

Although Adrian Sweeny reduced the arrears with a fabulous point from an acute angle on the stand side, it was a two point tie at the interval when Buggy smartly fisted over as the half drew to a close.

In a bid to salvage the clash, Dungloe sent on Cathal Brennan at the interval and a positional change also saw Shaun Sharkey move to the half-forward line. Within three minutes of the re-start Donagh McIntyre opened up a three point gap with a well-taken score and it looked like the curtain was to be dropped.

Within the next three minutes however, Dungloe brought themselves to within a point as Mark Clerkin and Shaun Sharkey found the range. By the two thirds marker the teams were level for the first time when Sweeney converted a free having been pulled back by Gallagher. Barry Ward, with a sublime 50-metre free with the outside of his right foot had eased the Aodh Ruadh worries before that while Mark Clerkin made a game of it as he tapped over a free soon after.

In the last quarter of an hour, Aodh Ruadh raised just the solitary flag, Barry Ward knocking over from play after taking a pass from the industrious Roper. That looked to have been enough for victory, even after they had a goal effort from Anthony Boyle cancelled out for a square ball infringement.

The pendulum swung then in favour of the Rosses flagbearers as Clerkin raced through with the Aodh Ruadh defence parting to let him in for an easy score before sub Noel McBride completed the comeback in the last minute of stoppage time.

Despite good outings from Niall McCready, Barry Ward, Brian Roper and Donagh McIntyre, another championship sojourn is over for Aodh Ruadh.

For the winners, who are now just an hour away from equalling their semi final appearance of a year ago, Adrian Sweeney and Shaun Sharkey impressed as did their defence in the second half, with Colin McCarron and Mark McPaul to the fore.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Dungloe
Ciaran Sharkey; Doalty Boyle, Jamie Sweeney, Mark McPaul; Mark Sweeney, Colin McCarron, Gavin Ward; Raymond Sweeney, Shaun Sharkey (0-1); Martin Ferry, Mark Clerkin (0-3, 1f), Corey Gallagher; James Boyle, Tommy Brennan, Adrian Sweeney (0-5, 2f)
Subsitutes
Cathal Brennan for Gallagher (Half time), Noel McBride (0-1) for Ferry (50 mins)
Aodh Ruadh
David Greene; Darren Drummond, Eamon O'Donnell, Johnny Gallagher; Niall McCready, Conor Gurn, Brian McCafferty; Stephen Ward, Barry Ward (0-2, 1f); Donagh McIntyre (0-3), Michael Gurn, Anthony Boyle; Brian Roper (0-1), Michael Ward, Pauric Buggy (0-3, 2f)
Subsitutes
Shane Ward for M. Gurn (45 mins), Val Murray for Buggy (54 mins); Michael Gurn for B. Ward (60 mins).

Report courtesy of Donegal News. Filed: 19 August 2008