Aodh Ruadh take the points in table top clash

Senior Football Divison 3
5 July 2014
Naomh Colmcille 0-9
Aodh Ruadh 1-7

Aodh Ruadh just edged the verdict in a contest where both sides fought hard for the spoils, a 45th minute David McGurrin penalty proving the decisive score.

Although most of the game was played in dry weather, heavy spills of rain before throw-in and at half time made handling extremely tricky and underfoot conditions dicey.

Naomh Colmcille might have been shorn of the talents of Thomas McKinley, but they looked comfortable and assured until the visitor's penalty strike opened the play out.

The homesters took their time to open the scoring, the play for the opening few minutes being very cagey, with both sides anxious and feeling each other out warily. When the first score did come it was from good Naomh Colmcille pressure. They boxed Aodh Ruadh back into their defence and profited from a misplaced hand pass, Daniel Clark left with the easy job of punishing the error.

That was in the eighth minute and it prompted an immediate response from Ballyshannon's James O'Donnell who sent over a towering effort from 30 metres.

Chances weren't easy come by and that would be demonstrated on 12 minutes when Newtown had to do some complex and patient recycling of the ball to create an opportunity for Joe Donaghy to point.

Mark Dowds was going very well for the homesters with a number of penetrating runs and timely interceptions. He capped a bright opening with the best point so far, getting on the end of a move that saw Newtowncunningham spraying the ball about well.

Aodh Ruadh responded through David McGurrin who converted a tricky free from out on the right.

Ryan McErlean had tortured Aodh Ruadh in Father Tierney Park in the return fixture earlier in the year, and he showed some of that form to double the scores after taking a ball astutely worked from a free.

The Ernesiders response came with six minutes left in the half, Johnny Gallagher went on a driving run carrying the ball into the danger zone before laying off to Eamonn McGrath who fisted over.

Newtowncunningham weren't long about counter-attacking and it was Shane McAteer on the end of the move to float a lovely score from out on the right to take the scores to 0-5 to 0-3 in favour of the homesters.

The scoring was being crammed into the last eight minutes of the half and that trend was continued with David McGurrin knocking over a routine free in front of the posts to put the minimum in it.

Daniel Clarke responded almost immediately with his second score of the game, this one a real peach from an acute angle out on the left.

As the half edged into added time Aodh Ruadh stitched together their best passing movement to that point. Ronan McGurrin had a bit of work to do when he took possession, but he made light of it to power the ball over the bar to leave a point between the sicdes when Robbie O'Donnell whistled for half time, Naomh Colmcille 0-6 Aodh Ruadh 0-5.

The second half was only two minutes old when Ryan McErlean went to ground after his attempted shot was impeded leaving him prone and in some pain. He had to be replaced by Richard Clarke, but it was the second time injury left McErlean unable to finish out the game against Aodh Ruadh, having had to go off in Ballyshannon also. That injury saw an extended stoppage. When play resumed Naomh Colmcille were on the attack. Ryan McKinley got on the ball on the left and lashed in a dangerous shot which required Peter Boyle to get down sharply to make a vital reflex save.

Matt Crossan finally opened the second half scoring with six minutes gone in the half with a close range free brough in for dissent. Amazingly Crossan was to be the only Naomh Colmcille man to get on the score sheet in the second half.

Donegal minor Colm Kelly was introduced in the 36th minute, and the Cashelard man was to have a pronounced impact on game from there on.

It wasn't until the 45th minute when the next score would arrive. When it did though, it would prove decisive. Jamie McDonald won a ball in and fed it to Kelly who worked it on to David McGurrin who advanced with menace before being brought down in the area.

McGurrin stood up to the penalty and it was as well his shot to the bottom left was as good as it was, as Marty Callaghan was just millimetres away from making an outstanding save.

Aodh Ruadh then won possession from the kick out and the ball was worked to Colm Kelly, he showed great vision to switch the play to the unmarked David McGurrin who was able to notch his first score from play and put two points between the sides.

It was helter skelter stuff in the closing eight minutes as Newtown tried to claw their way back into the game and there was still three minutes left when Matt Crossan sent the ball high and true to set up a final few moments of high drama.

With a minute left on the clock David McGurrin won the ball and answered the call from Diarmaid McInerney in space who cooly slotted over to restore Ballyshannon's two point cushion.

Two minutes into added time Matt Crossan fired over a point under huge pressure. The Reds continued to search for the levelling score, but Aodh Ruadh won the final kick out of the game and as the ball left David Dolan's boot on it's way over the bar Robbie O'Donnell sounded his long whistle to draw down the curtain on proceedings.

It was a game for defences and half back Mark Dowds was among the best in a red jersey. Matt Crossan shone in the second half, with two high pressure points from play, while Ryan McKinley also offered a potent threat in terms of ball-winning and distribution.

Best for Aodh Ruadh were Damien Cleary at full back and Johnny Gallagher at wing back. Ronan McGurrin put the body on the line on more than one occasion while Kerry Ryan gave it everything while he was on. Ronan Drummond was to the fore in the first half too disrupting Naomh Colmcille efforts to impose themselves on the game. However, the winning of the game for Aodh Ruadh was probably being able to introduce Colm Kelly and Eddie Lynch, both of whom are quality players who made their influence felt accordingly

With that win for Ballyshannon the race for automatic promotion from division three has been thrown wide open again. Aodh Ruadh sit on 20 points with 14 games played while Naomh Colmcille are on 16 points with 12 played so the run-in is set to be a real rollercoaster ride for both sides.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Naomh Colmcille
Marty Callaghan; Mark Callaghan, Alex Devenney, Paul Friel; Mark Dowds (0-1), Gerard Curran, Tom Fullerton; Ciaran Devine, Ryan McKinley; Daniel Clarke (0-2), Ryan McErlean (0-1), Shane McAteer (0-1); Matthew Crossan (0-3, 1f), Willie Gillespie, Joe Donaghy (0-1).
Substitutes: Ryan McErlean for Richard Clarke: 32 minutes; Don Hegarty for Joe Donaghy: 52 minutes.
Wides: 1st half: 3; 2nd half: 5; Total: 8.
Frees conceded: 1st half: 6; 2nd half: 6; Total: 12.
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle; Micky Dolan, Damien Cleary, Ciron Whoriskey; Johnny Gallagher, Eamonn McGrath (0-1), Conor Patton; James O'Donnell (0-1), Kerry Ryan; David McGurrin (1-3, 1-2f), Ronan McGurrin (0-1), Ronan Drummond; Pauric Patton, David Dolan, Jamie McDonald.
Substitutes: Colm Kelly for Pauric Patton: 36 minutes; Eddie Lynch for Kerry Ryan: 41 minutes; Diarmaid McInerney (0-1) for Conor Patton: 52 minutes.
Yellow cards: Ronan McGurrin: 53 minute.
Wides: 1st half: 4; 2nd half: 5; Total: 9.
Frees conceded: 1st half: 9; 2nd half: 8; Total: 17.
Referee: Robbie O'Donnell (Naomh Mhuire)
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Last modified: Sunday, 6 July 2014 at 1:24am