Ballyshannon battle into next round
Intermediate Football Championship
23 July 2011
Aodh Ruadh 1-16
Fanad Gaels 0-18
Aidan O'Donnell reports from Pairc Naomh Mhuire, Convoy
A monumental performance from Michael 'Sticky' Ward sent Aodh Ruadh into the first round proper of the Intermediate Championship after they squeezed past Fanad Gaels in a nail-biting play-off encounter in Convoy on Saturday night.
The Ballyshannon men came from seven points down at one stage in the first half and mustered every bit of championship pedigree accumulated over the years playing in the higher echelons of the Senior Championship to advance.
A point from Seamie 'Coshia' Friel a minute into injury-time forced two additional periods of ten minutes at the end of what had already been an energy-sapping clash between two sides who gave absolutely everything for the cause.
Fanad then raced into a three point lead at the start of extra-time through efforts from Friel and Aidan McAteer, but Aodh Ruadh, or rather Ward, responded with four points to cap off an unstoppable performance from the full-forward, who bagged 1-10 in all.
The Portsalon residents will wonder how their championship season is over at such a premature stage, having bossed large periods of the contest. They went in at the break nursing a healthy five-point lead but, in truth, it should have been much, much more and, in the end, it was that lack of a ruthless edge that proved their downfall.
With both sides missing key men like Eamon Sweeney and Niall McCready, no one side had an advantage over the other, but it was Fanad who made their presence felt more so with some dynamic attacking play that had threatened to blow their opponents away at one stage.
Points from Ephrim McFadden, Mark Friel, Francie Sweeney and Aidan McAteer had the Portsalon outfit ahead by three after ten minutes following an effort from Anthony Boyle.
Ward then knocked over two frees but further efforts from McAteer, Friel and Jimmy Coyle helped Fanad open up a four-point lead with ten minutes 'till the break.
Kerry Ryan stemmed the flow of the tide with his first point of the day on twenty-three minutes but Fanad responded through Cathal Martin, Seamy Friel, Michael Sweeney and a beautifully crafted score from an influential Ephrim McFadden.
Fanad were ahead by seven and it was by no means flattering, however a couple of closing points from Ward and Ryan at the end of the first half gave the Ballyshannon outfit the perfect platform to mount a second half fight-back.
Ward pointed two more in the early stages of the second half before referee Tony Gallagher awarded a penalty for Aodh Ruadh after Ronan McGurn had been impeded by Mark McConigley.
Ward then kept his cool to just about squeeze his effort under the body of the Fanad 'keeper who got a strong right hand to it but not enough to keep it out.
Aodh Ruadh, having finally found their rhythm, had the lead for the first time in the game when Turlough McIntrye slotted between the posts after the Fanad defence failed to clear a Ryan '45'.
Seamy Friel scored Fanad's first point of the second half on forty-three minutes while Aidan McAteer nudged them ahead momentarily with a beast of a score from the tightest of angles.
Ward restored parity with yet another score for Aodh Ruadh before Ryan curled over an unbelievable point with only two minutes remaining to put Val Murray's side ahead by the minimum.
Seamie Friel levelled matters up with a free on sixty-one minutes to force extra-time, though Aodh Ruadh were left angered that the referee blew the full-time whistle a little earlier than anticipated and whilst they were mounting an attack.
McAteer and two from Friel then had Fanad ahead by three in the early stages of extra-time but the predator Ward hauled his team back on level terms with three unanswered points.
Full-back Ciron Whoriskey and Ward knocked over scores that had Aodh Ruadh two in front and although Aidan McAteer replied with a Fanad score on eighty minutes, they were unable to find range to force another period of extra-time.
Report kind courtesy Donegal News. Thanks to Cathal Maguire for these pictures.
Mark McConigley; Tony McBride, Cathal Martin (0-1), Francie Sweeney (0-1); Paddy Shiels, Paddy McConigley, Jimmy Coyle (0-1); Kevin McElwaine, Michael Sweeney (0-1); Ephrim McFadden (0-2), Mark Friel (0-1), Colm McElwaine; Aidan McAteer (0-5), Seamie Friel (0-6), Ciaran McElwaine.
Substitutes: Brendan Callaghan (C. McElwaine, 51 mins).
Peter Boyle; Mark Dolan, Ciron Whoriskey (0-1), Johnny Gallagher; Michael Gurn, Conor Patton, Kieran Keown; Conor Gurn, Darren Drummond; Kerry Ryan (0-3), Brian Roper, Anthony Boyle (0-1); PJ McGee, Michael Ward (1-10), Ronan McGurrin.
Substitutes: Turlough McIntyre (0-1, Roper, 12 mins), Ruairi Drummond (A. Boyle, 50 mins), Shane McShea (McGee, 64 mins).
|Referee: Tony Gallagher (Red Hugh's).|
Last modified: Thursday, 29 November 2018 at 8:46pm