Body-blow for Ballyshannon promotion hopes

Senior Football Division 3
5 May 2014
Aodh Ruadh 0-7
Naomh Colmcille 1-13
John Hughes reports from Father Tierny Park

Aodh Ruadh's promotion challenge was left looking very precarious after this mauling by a Naomh Colmcille side which brought hunger, desire and perhaps an excess of physicality to this game. Ballyshannon will particularly rue the final quarter where they failed to profit from having an extra man and their opponents losing their top scorer to injury.

It was scrappy stuff to start with, Colmcille's Ryan McErlane hitting two wides before finally finding his range with a point in the second minute. That was followed rapidly by a second point from McErlane after slack work from the kick out by the homesters.

The opening exchanges were hot and heavy with the tenor exemplified by a hard tackle from Ryan McKinley which attracted retaliation from Damien Cleary. Both getting yellow cards for their pains.

The ill-tempered play continued with David Dolan being fouled by Eddie Gillespie who picked up Newtown's third yellow card, Dolan hitting the free to level the game at two points apiece.

Willie Gillespie edged the visitors back into the lead in the 18th minute with a close range placed ball. They extended their advantage a minute later with a fine lofted effort from Ryan McErlane before Matthew Crossan opened his account with another close range dead ball effort in the 22nd minute.

Aodh Ruadh then began to come more into the game and good work from Colm Kelly helped set Eamonn McGrath up to slip over for a quick response from the Ernesiders. David McGurrin's first score of the game came with five minutes left in the half, a long range placed effort which put a point between the sides.

Ballyshanon then had an excellent goal chance, but Damien Cleary flashed his shot into the side netting. Naomh Colmcille regrouped well and marauded up the field well with Ryan McErlane once again finishing a fine effort.

Aodh Ruadh were dealt a hammer blow just before the short whistle. As the rain started to tip down a Willie Gillespie point effort didn't have the requisite power and came in short.The ball slipped through Ciron Whoriskey's grip which diverted it away from the despairing palms of Peter Boyle and into the back of the net. The half time whistle saw the sides going in at Aodh Ruadh 0-4 Naomh Colmcille 1-6

Aodh Ruadh needed the first score of the half and after some hard work it came from the boot of David Dolan two minutes in. Dolan was involved once again in Aodh Ruadh's next score, but not in the way he would have wanted. He shipped a heavy tackle and had to go off injured on the 40 minute mark. David McGurrin pointed the resultant free to put a goal in it.

Naomh Colmcille played close to the line through-out, and paid the price shortly after Dolan went off. Eddie Gillespie got himself a black card and having already got a yellow that meant he was dismissed without replacement.

Aodh Ruadh should have seized that opportunity to take ownership of the game. Instead Ryan McErlane offered the first response to the sending off, kicking a collossal score from beyond the 45. He came down awkwardly and injured himself in the process and had to go off.

With the Newtown men now shorn of their scorer-in-chief as well as down to 14 men, one would have thought Aodh Ruadh finally held the whip hand. It wasn't to be as the Reds bossed the game to final whistle.

The Ernesiders squandered possesion from the kick out and Newtown won a free, which Matthew Crossan converted well to take the scores to Aodh Ruadh 0-6 Naomh Colmcille 1-8. Shortly after Peter Boyle was forced to make an outstanding stop to deny Willie Gillespie. Gillespie wasn't to deprived of his score though, after yet more poor play in the Aodh Ruadh defence he was allowed to pop over a point to make it double scores.

Moments later and the defence was very slack again as Matthew Crossan was allowed plenty of time to get off his shot and push the margin between the sides out to seven points.

David McGurrin got just the second point of the half for Aodh Ruadh from a dead ball with four minutes left on the clock. That pretty much summed up the home town performance.

Joe Donaghy compounded the misery for Aodh Ruadh in the last couple of minutes, hitting two mid-range frees and a point from play to take the final score to Aodh Ruadh 0-7 Naomh Colmcille 1-13.

Michael Ward dealt well with anything that came his way in defence, while Eamonn McGrath, Niall Harley and Conor Patton fire-fought to the best of their ability, but it wasn't a game many Aodh Ruadh men will be looking back on fondly.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle; Johnny Gallagher, Ciron Whoriskey, Michael Ward, Kieran Keown, Eamonn McGrath (0-1), Colm Kelly; Conor Patton, Niall Harley ; David Dolan (0-3, 1f), Damien Cleary, Ronan Drummond , Diarmaid McInerney, David McGurrin (0-3f).
Substitutes: Kerry Ryan for Damien Cleary: 37 minutes; Jamie McDonald for David Dolan: 40 minutes; Damien Cleary for Colm Kelly: 58 minutes.
Yellow cards: Damien Cleary: 5 minutes.
Wides: First half: 4; Second half: 4; Total: 8.
Naomh Colmcille
Michael Lynch; Mark Callaghan, Alex Devenney, Eddie Gillespie; Gerard Curran, Paul Friel, Thomas McKinley; Kieran Devine, Ryan McKinley; Daniel Clarke, Ryan McErlane (0-5), Joe Donaghy (0-3, 2f); Willie Gillespie (1-2, 1f), Matthew Crossan (0-3, 2f), Conor Grant.
Substitutes: Don Hegarty for Conor Grant: 37 minutes; Mark Dowds for Ryan McErlane: 44 minutes.
Yellow cards: Ryan McKinley: 5 minutes; Matthew Crossan 10 minutes; Eddie Gillespie 14 minutes; Kieran Devine: 32 minutes.
Black card: Eddie Gillespie: 42 minutes.
Red card: Eddie Gillespie: 42 minutes.
Wides: First half: 4; Second half: 3; Total: 7.
Referee: Martin McShane
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Last modified: Friday, 9 May 2014 at 5:34pm