Eunan's seal place at expense of spirited Aodh Ruadh

Senior Football Championship
12 June 2010
Killybegs 0-12
Aodh Ruadh 1-7
Aidan O'Donnell reports from O'Donnell Park.

Saint Eunan's had just about enough in the tank to shake off the spirited and stubborn challenge of Aodh Ruadh at O'Donnell Park on Saturday night to seal their place in the last eight of the senior championship.

The sides went in at the break all-square after the visitors had fought back from four points down to eventually go in 0-06 apiece in what was a thoroughly entertaining and absorbing half an hour of championship football.

Eunan's though, eked their way into a five point lead in the second half and although Diarmuid McInerney reduced the deficit to two points with a goal in stoppage time, it proved to be too late.

Charlie Mulgrew's side, who left Ballyshannon a month ago with a six point win, began in a very positive demeanour, going into a comfortable four point lead in the first eight minutes of play.

Conall Dunne started the scoring inside 20 seconds of the throw-in with a casual punt from 35 metres out.

Left-half-forward Dualtach Molloy then doubled the host's advantage on two minutes before points from Ciaran Greene and Rory Kavanagh followed soon after to put the defending county champions into a fairly ominous position.

Aodh Ruadh, though, fought back wonderfully with Brian Roper registering their first point from play on nine minutes.

Then, within the space of a minute both sides went close to rattling the net with Ciron Whoriskey smashing the upright after Roper had fed him on the inside channel. At the other end, Rory Kavanagh was teed up by Conall Dunne on the edge of the square, but the forward was denied by superb point-blank save from Donegal under 21 and minor goalkeeper Peter Boyle.

Aodh Ruadh reeled the hosts in once more with two points from Michael 'Sticky' Ward, one with his weaker left foot and the other a free, which the narrowed the deficit to the minimum.

On 14 minutes, Dualtach Molloy edged Eunan's further clear after Devenney and Sharkey combined well to free a little space up.

Yet again though, Aodh Ruadh showed their mettle with two points in quick succession, one from Ronan McGurrin way out on the right side, and another from wing-back Kerry Ryan from a placed ball.

Just moments before that and the Ballyshannon side were again unlucky not to have found the net when David Dolan tore his way through the heart of the Eunan's defence and although it looked like his shot was going wide, it took a deflection of the heel of Eamon Doherty and narrowly behind for a forty-five.

The visitors then went into the lead for the first time in the contest when Whoriskey fired over a lovely hanging effort that sailed right between the posts.

Eunan's squared things up going in at the break when Dunne fed Sharkey, after he ran into a dead-end, and Sharkey answered nonchalantly with a wonderful point from a tight angle.

After the break Saint Eunan's restored their lead on 35 minutes when Greene pointed his second of the game, that coming after Dunne had hit the outside of the post.

On 38 minutes, Roper restored parity once more, however despite a very courageous and spirited effort that was the last point the Ballyshannon side could muster in a slightly more frustrating second half.

Eunan's thought they had a goal when McGinley, Kavanagh and Haran linked up, but McGinley's effort into the empty net, after Haran had returned the pass, was adjudged to have been palmed home.

Nevertheless, the home side gradually opened up a five point advantage with points from Sharkey, McGinley, two from Dunne and Molloy to all but put the game to bed.

McInerney pounced, opportunistically, on a ball through the Eunan's defence, and the second half replacement improvised superbly with a lovely slide and dink over Eunan's 'keeper Damian Martin.

However, the home side had done just about enough to secure their passage through to the quarter finals.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Saint Eunan's
Damian Martin; Damian McClafferty, Eddie Brennan, Adrian McClafferty; Packie Kennedy, Eamon Doherty, Ciaran Greene (0-2); John Haran, Kevin Rafferty; Kieran Sharkey (0-2), David McGinley (0-1), Dualtach Molloy (0-3); Conall Dunne (0-3), Rory Kavanagh (0-1), Brendan Devenney.
Substitutes used: Kieran Ryan (Kennedy, 41 mins), Packie Kennedy (Molloy, 60 mins).
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle; Darren Drummond, Johnny Gallagher, PJ McGee; Ronan McGurrin (0-1), Conor Gurn, Kerry Ryan (0-1); Stephen Ward, Barry Ward; David Dolan, Fiachra McIntyre, Ciron Whoriskey (0-1); Brian Roper (0-2), Michael Ward (0-2, 1f), Niall McCready.
Substitutes used: Conor Patton (McCready, 43 mins), Diarmuid McInerney (McIntyre, 47 mins, 1-0), Anthony Boyle (Dolan, 49 mins), Michael Ward (McGee, 56 mins).
Referee: Trevor McBrearty (Kilcar)

Report and pictures kind courtesy Donegal News. Pictures by Donna McBride.

Action from the senior championship against Saint Eunan.

Action from the senior championship against Saint Eunan.

Last modified: Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 12:28am