Reserves return to winning ways

Senior Reserve Football Divison 3
27 June 2014
Milford 3-10
Aodh Ruadh 3-12

The Aodh Ruadh reserves travelled to Milford on Friday evening with a young and energetic team. It was a game where a number of players were asked to slot into new positions, notably Mickey McNeely into midfield, Cookie O'Halloran into corner forward, and Daniel Kelly getting a rare opportunity to vacate the goals by going to corner back. All three put in commendable performances and enjoyed the challenge presented to them. They, along with the rest of the team, had their resolve tested on a number of occasions this evening, but all dug deep showing real grit and determination to see off the Milford challenge.

Both sides were slow to settle, with no score recorded within the first seven minutes. The best of the chances in the opening minutes fell to Dermot Slevin who got caught in too minds whether to take his point or lob the keeper, only to see neither materialise as his effort skewed wide. The opening point eventually came from the home team, which was almost immediately cancelled out by a short free by Sticky Ward. Milford restored their lead after being awarded a soft free, before Sticky again pointed to draw the sides level. Both teams were well matched through the first quarter, with a number of tight battles across the pitch.

The Erne men then found a purple patch which yielded 1-2, starting with a powerful shot from Anthony Coughlin past the Milford keeper after being played in by Cookie O'Halloran, which followed good work by Nicky Sheerin to win possession. Cookie was flying at this stage, and got himself a delightful point from a tight angle out on the right, and shortly after was pulled down when through on goal, with Dermot Slevin converting the resultant free kick to extend the scoreline to 1-5 for Aodh Ruadh to Milford's 0-2. It should have been more had there been more composure and better decision-making when on the ball, with four wides recorded during the same spell. Milford pulled a point back after a well taken score from their full forward who was a handful for the back line all day. Aodh Ruadh kept up the pressure, and almost had another goal after Slevin's point effort came back off the post, with Sticky collecting the rebound only to see his pile driver stopped on the line by the keeper. Milford weren't lying down and also continued to press, wasting a number of good scoring chances. Then, with the clock ticking into stoppage time at the end of the half, the same full forward collected a high ball and turned to fire past Paul Kane in goal, to leave scores at 1-3 to 1-5 at the break.

Shortly after the restart Sticky Ward was pulled down before getting his shot away, after being played in by Cookie. Sticky duly popped over the short free. Milford then registered two points to reduce the deficit to the minimum at 1-5 to 1-6. Niall Thomas was introduced to the midfield to steady the ship. The impact was immediate, with Thomas superbly fielding a goal kick from Kane with his first touch. The ball was played to Nicky Sheerin who put the ball in deep, ending with Sticky seeing his shot spilled by the keeper. The rebound was bundled in between himself and Waddle, neither able to convince the other who got the last touch - a classic case of needing a highstool and a late night to get to the bottom of it! In any case, it was the catalyst for further scores for the visitors, who outscored their hosts four to two thanks to points from Slevin (f) Waddle, Granaghan and Kelly, during which the Milford midfield suffered a real blow when they lost their number nine to a black card for offering his thoughts to the ref.

After a third goal for the visitors from Sticky, the game should have been beyond the reach of the hosts, with Aodh Ruadh holding a seemingly unassailable lead of 3-10 to 1-7 entering the final quarter. However, with the advantage of a light breeze, Milford started playing much more direct ball and put together a string of three points. In reply, points from O'Halloran and Thomas again stretched the lead. The Milford full forward was still causing problems and with just minutes left, fired a goal and set up another to leave only two points between the sides. The relief was clear for all to see when the ref blew the final whistle with the Erne men taking the points at a score of 3-10 to 3-12.

Despite the scare at the end, the lads can be pleased with a solid performance against a well motivated and determined side. As well as the solid performances from Cookie and Dano, there were also good shifts put in by Bradley, Matthews and Patton in defence. Aodh Ruadh used their bench well to mitigate the heat of the evening sun, and welcomed Eugene Drummond onto the scene as he made his reserve debut in the second half.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Paul Kane; Ciaran Slevin, Ryan Patton, Daniel Kelly; Chris McCabe, Ronan Matthews, Stephen Bradley; Ryan Granaghan (0-1), Mickey McNeely; Jamsie Kelly (0-1), Anthony Coughlin (1½!-1), Dermot Slevin (0-1); Calum O'Halloran (0-2), Michael 'Sticky' Ward (1½!-5), Nicky Sheerin.
Substitutes: Niall Thomas (0-1) for Nickey Sheerin, Ruairí Drummond for Stephen Bradley, Eugene Drummond for Ryan Patton, Jack Dolan for Jamsie Kelly, David McLoone for Chris McCabe, David Dorrian.
Wides: 1st half: 5; 2nd half: 4; Total: 9.
Short: 1st half: 2; 2nd half: 1; Total: 3.
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Last modified: Sunday, 29 June 2014 at 9:28pm