Aodh Ruadh and Naomh Bríd play out absorbing draw

Intermediate Football Championship
30 September 2012
Naomh Bríd 0-8
Aodh Ruadh 1-5
John Hughes reports from Páirc Naomh Bríd

And so it's winner take's all next Sunday when Aodh Ruadh and Naomh Bríd meet in the second leg of their intermediate championship preliminary round head-to-head.

There was a strong breeze in Páirc Naomh Bríd, but it had remarkably little role in the outcome of the game. Aodh Ruadh had it in the first half, but it was the homesters who made the first impression on the score board with just over a minute gone. Shane Walsh burst through with a goal chance on, but his driven shot flashed over the cross bar. Walsh doubled Naomh Bríd's advantage five minutes later with a free.

Brian Roper was in good form for the Ernesiders throughout and it was his work which set up David Dolan for Ballyshannon's opener. Dolan's shot flew over the bar, but could just as easily ended up in the net.

Five minutes later Darragh Brogan slotted over from close range for what, remarkably, was to be Naomh Bríd's last score with 17 minutes of the half left to play. Shortly after Brogan's effort Aodh Ruadh added their last score of the half, a free from Diarmaid McInerney which squeaked inside the post on the wings of the following gale.

The second quarter was almost incident free, play ebbing back and forth without much penetration. Callum Gallagher had the only chance of note, getting on the end of a flowing Naomh Bríd move, but Paul Kane proved equal to his goal effort with a fine diving save.

The sides went in at half time with Naomh Bríd holding a narrow 0-3 to 0-2 advantage and with the wind at their backs in the second half.

Aodh Ruadh only succeeded in adding another four scores in the second half, but the timing of each was perfect. Ballyshannon won possession from the throw in and the ball was quickly worked in to Brian Roper who with typical audacity lobbed Dermott McCafferty into the net with the half less than 20 seconds old.

Naomh Bríd reeled somewhat from that score and took a spell to get into their rhythm. Padraig McDaid hit a free to take the scores to 0-4 to 1-2, but the homesters were finding the going tough.

Aodh Ruadh had a free about 30 metres out to the right of the posts. David Dolan stepped up and hit a sweet effort. It seemed to creep inside the post, but there was disagreement among the umpires and the referee took the word of the linesman that the shot went wide. Dolan made no mistake four minutes later, from a rather more straight forward effort.

The next five minutes saw perhaps the best football of the match. Naomh Bríd strung together a series of passes, but the move fell apart just on the point of conversion, Aodh Ruadh responded in kind patiently working through the phases until the ball fell to Michael 'Sticky' Ward who converted from close range to put a goal between the sides with 13 minutes to go.

Naomh Bríd rose to the challenge as the game entered the final quarter, the comeback starting with a great long range effort from Shane Walsh, the best player on show over the 60, as he has been on so many occasions over the past couple of years in games between these sides.

David Walsh, well-marshaled by Johnny Gallagher, finally caught a break with eight minutes to go and slotted a fine effort on the turn to cut the margin to the minimum. Three minutes later there was a superb equalising score from Shane Walsh, screwed over against all the machinations of a swirling breeze. Naomh Bríd were on the rampage now and Callum Gallagher, who had been quiet up to this point, popped up to convert a simple effort to put the Ballintra / Laghey men in the lead with four minutes left on the clock.

But it was Aodh Ruadh who finished the stronger, showing admirable reserves of patience and fortitude. A minute into injury time Aodh Ruadh worked the ball into a forward position and Kerry Ryan was hauled down within side of the posts. With the breeze tough to read it was a tricky shot for Sticky Ward, but he showed all his craft to nail the free and level the game.

In the remaining time it was Aodh Ruadh who were on the attack searching for the win, and indeed Brian Roper had a late awkward chance to seal the win for the Ernesiders, but his effort flashed wide of the posts.

Shane Walsh was man of the match, and Naomh Bríd will doubtless be trying to get him on the ball a great deal more than he managed in the first leg when the sides meet again next Sunday. For Aodh Ruadh Brian Roper led the line well and the debate over whether his goal really was a lob or a low flying point effort is probably one which will go on for a while yet. Johnny Gallagher did a fine job on David Walsh, but also got forward well, while Paul Kane's save in the second quarter was inspirational. Kerry Ryan's introduction around the middle of the park helped stiffen resistance in that sector during a period where Naomh Bríd where threatening to get on top. In fact all of Aodh Ruadh's subs made a positive impact on the game.

It's all set up for an spicy second leg between these two evenly matched sides, with the winner taking all in Father Tierney Park next Sunday afternoon.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Naomh Bríd
Dermott McCafferty; Jamie Timoney, Clint Walsh, Stephen Quinn; Sean Gormley, Gary McCafferty, Sam Burgess; Thomas Gallagher, Ross Gallagher; Darragh Brogan (0-1), Padraig McDaid (0-1f), Declan McCafferty; Shane Walsh (0-4, 1f), David Walsh (0-1), Callum Gallagher (0-1).
Substitutes: None used. John Gallagher, Richard Walsh, Liam Duffy, Stephen Walls, Eoin 'Squeak' Haron, Padraig Gormley, Sean Rooney, Donal 'Skimmer' Martin.
Yellow cards: Clint Walsh: 32 minutes; David Walsh: 49 minutes; Jamie Timoney: 60 minutes.
Wides: 4
Frees conceded: 31
Management: Dermot Gallagher and Shane Gallagher.
Aodh Ruadh
Paul Kane; Ronan Drummond, Ciron Whoriskey, Conor Patton; Michael Dolan, Johnny Gallagher, Eamon McGrath; Barry Ward, James O'Donnell; Anthony Boyle, David Dolan (0-2, 1f), Niall McCready; Michael 'Sticky' Ward (0-2, 1f), Diarmaid McInerney (0-1f), Brian Roper (1-0)
Substitutes: Donagh McIntyre for Anthony Boyle: 8 minutes; Kerry Ryan for Barry Ward: 34 minutes; Barry Mulligan for Diarmaid McInerney: 53 minutes; PJ McGee for Ronan Drummond: 54 minutes; Shane Ward for David Dolan: 59 minutes; Peter Boyle, Martin Gallagher.
Wides: 12
Frees conceded: 23
Management: Philip O'Reilly, Maurice McLaughlin and Charlie Gillespie
Referee: Connie Doherty (Naomh Conaill)

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Action from the intermediate football championship match against Naomh Bríd.

Last modified: Sunday, 30 September 2012 at 9:03pm