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Aodh Ruadh rue missed chances

RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta senior football championship
23rd May 2009
Aodh Ruadh 0-13
Saint Michael's 0-15
Harry Walsh reports from Father Tierney Park, Ballyshannon.

It proved to be a disappointing night all round for Sylvester Maguire and his Ballyshannon players. Not only did they fail to make the most of home advantage but they finished the game with just thirteen men - Gareth Blake and Brian Roper receiving straight red cards within seconds of one another ten minutes into the second half.

Referee Trevor McBrearty brandished the cards after consulting with his linesman Sean Campbell (St Nauls) who, correctly, informed the Kilcar whistler that Blake had led with a dangerous elbow into the head of a St Michael's player before Roper punched Peter Witherow in the face while the play was at the other end of the field, leading to a Ciaran Gallagher point.

To compound what was a miserable night for the Ballyshannon men, corner forward Pauric Buggy failed to convert two first half penalties.

Speaking after the game St Michael's manager Danny Lafferty said that his charges had been fortunate.

"We didn't play well at all," he lamented before admitting that you "take what you can" from Championship games.

The visitors opening two scores from Daniel McLaughlin and Christy Toye came courtesy of defensive mistakes while Pauric Buggy (2), one from a placed ball, made sure the scores were level ten minutes into an error prone opening half.

Buggy would miss three frees before Barry Ward would add Aodh Ruadh's third point to equalise Daniel McLaughlin's second point of the contest midway through the half.

A quick passing movement between Kerry Ryan, Barry Ward and Pauric Buggy saw the latter being hauled to the ground by St Michael's 'keeper Mark Anthony McGinley on 21 minutes for the game's opening penalty.

Up stepped Buggy to fire the spot kick over its intended target, albeit for a point. Another Buggy free and a point from play by substitute Michael 'Sticky' Ward, with his first touch, put three between the teams (0-6 to 0-3) on 25 minutes.

A minute later 'Sticky' was pulled back by Brendan Rodden as he bore down on the St Michael's goal. Rodden was shown the yellow card and Aodh Ruadh were given a second penalty.

Up stepped Buggy again only to rattle his shot off the crossbar. The ball eventually found its was to Barry Ward to fire over the hosts seventh point of the game.

Late scores from Daniel McLaughlin and Colm Anthoy McFadden (free) left just two points between the teams at the break (0-7 to 0-5).

St Michael's drew the game level within three minutes of the restart through Brian McLaughlin (free) and Patrick Stewart before Buggy (free) and Peter Witherow exchanged scores.

Substitute Anton McFadden was booked for high challenge on Roper before Ciaran Gallagher edged the visitors ahead on 39 minutes.

In the lead up to Gallagher's score, Blake caught one of the St Michael's players with an elbow to the head and as tempers threatened to flare - with players from both sides squaring up to one another - Roper punched his marker Peter Witherow.

With McBrearty following the play it was left to linesman Sean Campbell to draw the referee's attention to what went on in back play. After consulting with Campbell, the referee was left with little option but to send both players to the line.

The dismissals appear to affect St Michael's as much as Aodh Ruadh with Niall McCready and Stephen Ward driving the Ballyshannon men forward. An excellent point from Ward brought the scores level midway through the half.

Buggy (free) cancelled out a Toye point as the game entered the last ten minutes while Michael Ward and Daniel McLaughlin also exchanged scores before St Michael's numerical supremacy started to tell.

Three late scores from Brian McLaughlin (free), Anton and Colm Anthony McFadden allowed the visitors to ease out to a three-point victory.

There was still time for St Michael's 'keeper Mark Anthony McGinley to make a late reflex save to thwart substitute Kiron Whoriskey and it is the men from Dunfanaghy/Creeslough who appear to hold all the aces ahead of the second leg.

Peter Witherow, Daniel and Brian McLaughlin were best for a St Michael's team whose Inter County players Toye and McFadden remain some way off full fitness while McCready, Stephen Ward, Kerry Ryan and substitute Michael Ward were the stand-out players for Aodh Ruadh.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Paul Kane; Philip O'Reilly, Conor Gurn, Darren Drummond; Michael Gurn, Niall McCready, Johnny Gallagher (0-1); Stephen Ward (0-1), Fiachra McIntyre; Michael Lawless, Brian Roper, Gareth Blake; Pauric Buggy (0-7, 5f), Barry Ward (0-2), Kerry Ryan.
Substitutes used: Michael Ward (0-2) for Lawless (23 mins); Donagh McIntyre for F McIntyre (42 mins); Ciron Whoriskey for B Ward (50 mins); Packie McGrath for O'Reilly (58 mins).
Saint Michael's
Mark Anthony McGinley; Denis Trearty, Stephen Black, Brendan Rodden; Andrew Kelly, Peter Witherow (0-1), Michael Gallagher; Brian McLaughlin (0-3, 2 frees), Christy Toye (0-2); Daniel McLaughlin (0-3), Ciaran Gallagher (0-1), Stephen Coyle; Patrick Stewart (0-1), Colm Anthony McFadden (0-3), Michael McGinley.
Substitutes used: Anton McFadden (0-1) for Coyle (30 mins); Raymond McLaughlin for McGinley (48 mins); McGinley for Stewart (55 mins).
Referee: Trevor McBrearty (Kilcar).

Report courtesy of Donegal News. Report Filed: 9 May 2009