Downings capitalise on catastrophic Aodh Ruadh collapse
Division 3 Football League
1 July 2012
Aodh Ruadh 1-9
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park
Downings only played for 20 minutes of this division three encounter, but that was sufficient to beat an Aodh Ruadh team who contrived to blow an eight point cushion in the second half.
Aodh Ruadh had the ball resting in the back of the net with less that 20 seconds of the game gone. Ballyshannon won the throw in, Niall McCready ripped through the Downings defence and fed Brian Roper whose rasping shot didn't give Brendan McGee a prayer. Less than a minute later Roper was on the attack again and was unlucky to see his audacious lob glance off the crossbar and out. Colin Gallagher opened Downings account on five minutes with a close range free. The following 15 minutes were quiet with the homesters controlling proceedings. They were able to profit from their possession with two sumptuous long range frees from Anthony Boyle. Downings mustered a response in the form of a close range free for Colin Gallagher on 21 minutes. That was followed a minute later by Downings first score from play which was executed by Gary McClafferty. McClafferty had a poor first half, but his time was yet to come.
Aodh Ruadh finished out the dying moments of the first half with two lovely left footed efforts. The first was squeezed over by James O'Donnell from an acute angle near the sideline. The next came with a minute of normal time remaining. David Dolan made a lung-busting run from defence which put him in acres of space. He received the ball still some distance out, but he steadied himself and showed superb technique to steer the ball over the bar and send Aodh Ruadh in at the break leading by 1-5 to 0-3.
Downings got the first score of the second half, Gary McClafferty blasting over a majestic point from well out on the wing after 50 seconds. However the Ernesiders resumed control of proceedings and Donagh McIntyre's point, the product of good build-up play by the homesters, restored the five point margin. David Dolan burst through the Downings on 36 minutes and struck over his second point of the game. A minute late Donagh McIntyre also added his second, sending over a monster of a point from out on the left.
At this point Ballyshannon were attacking at will and Anthony Boyle had a great chance to add a second goal but a supreme save by McGee denied him and Downings were able to scramble the danger away. Michael 'Sticky' Ward opened his account on 41 minutes with a close range shot which pushed the margin out to eight points. Aodh Ruadh were utterly dominant and Downings already looked dead and buried. They needed a lifeline, and they were about to get it.
An absolutely scintillating long range pass was gathered by Shea Coyle in the Aodh Ruadh square and, defying the best efforts of Karl O'Brien, he managed to bundle the ball over the line. It wasn't pretty, but it was the shot in the arm the visitors needed.
Gary McClafferty came alive and started to cause the Aodh Ruadh defence huge problems. As the game ticked into the final quarter he added a point to cut the deficit to four points. Three minutes later Downings won a penalty for a haul down in the area. McClafferty stepped up to take it and slotted his shot down the left, sending the keeper the wrong way in the process. McClafferty's confidence was soaring and he sent over two fine long range frees to put Downings into the lead for the first time in the game with just seven minutes of the game remaining. A minute after McClafferty's leading point Shea Coyle once again found himself with a gilt edged goal opportunity, but his driving shot screamed over the bar.
Downings now had total control of centre field and they saw out the remainder of the game with modicum of ease. Two close range frees from Gary McClafferty on 56 and 60 minutes completed an amazing 12 point turnaround for the visitors. Ballyshannon didn't score for the final third of the game, but they will still be asking themselves how they managed to lose this game.
The win carries Downings into mid-table security, while the 1998 county champions now find themselves in a battle with Muff, Urris and Burt to avoid the drop into the basement.
Karl O'Brien; Ronan Drummond, Ciron Whoriskey, Michael Dolan; Niall McCready, PJ McGee, David Finnerty; Donagh McIntyre (0-2), James O'Donnell (0-1); Conor Patton, Brian Roper (1-0), David Dolan (0-2); Diarmaid McInerney, Michael 'Sticky' Ward (0-1), Anthony Boyle (0-3f).
Substitutes: Kerry Ryan for Brian Roper; Ryan Granaghan for Diarmaid McInerney; Pauric Loughlin for Donagh McIntyre; Shane Ward for PJ McGee.
Yellow cards: James O'Donnell: 20 minutes; David Finnerty: 52 minutes.
Frees awarded: 21
Brendan McGee; Seamus Gallagher, James McBride, Gerard Coyle; Danny McBride, David Hay, Micheál Bradley; Sean McBride; Sean McBride, Shea Coyle (1-1); Aaron McClafferty, Gary McClafferty (0-7, 5f), Colin Gallagher (0-2f).
Substitutes: Finnian McClafferty : Half time; Paul Coyle, Shane McClafferty, Rory Connor, Gerard McGee
Yellow cards: Gary McClafferty 24 minutes; Danny McBride: 34 minutes.
Frees awarded: 20
|Referee: Connie Doherty (Naomh Conaill)|
Last modified: Sunday, 1 July 2012 at 6:51pm