Ballyshannon victorious despite ring rust
Senior Football Divison 3
30 August 2014
Aodh Ruadh 1-12
Red Hugh's 1-9
David McLoone reports from Father Tierney Park
The seniors eventually returned to action on Saturday evening following an unwanted seven week summer break, their last game being the win over Burt when they visited the Park on July 12th. The biggest question to be answered was whether the Ballyshannon men could carry on the good momentum that was built on their push for promotion. Playing without the county minor players, and having a number of key players either injured or away, the team took on a slightly different look. Conor Patton dropped to the back line in place of Michael Ward, while Kerry Ryan and James O'Donnell started in the middle. Anthony Boyle made his return from injury at half back in place of Johny Gallagher who himself was carrying a knock, while Barry Mulligan was also welcomed back to the fold on his return from down under.
The homeside start well, with David Dolan clocking up the first score of the game on two minutes. A couple of wides followed before Colm Melaugh levelled for Red Hugh's. Aodh Ruadh responded immediately in the best possible manner with Dolan making the most of winning possession when it didn't look likely, before firing home a bullet into the back of the net with only six minutes on the clock. The goal spurred on the visitors who, playing with a strong breeze, took control of the game for the remainder of the half. They outscored the hosts by six points to nil, with three points off the boot of Damien Browne including two frees, a brace from Ryan Kelly, and one for Thomas McMenamin, all of whom were having a big impact on the game. The best the hosts managed during the same spell was four wides, which was evidently as a result of missing match sharpness as well as playing into the wind. The half-time score read Aodh Ruadh 1-1, Red Hughs 0-7.
The half-time talk must have been inspirational as the Aodh Ruadh men took the second half by storm, scoring nine unanswered points in a 15 minute hot patch. David McGurrin started the blitz with a point almost straight from the throw in, followed swiftly by a nice left footed score from Jamie McDonald. Peter Boyle was next to get in on the action with a 45 which sailed over the bar to level the game. Aodh Ruadh were winning every battle at this point, particularly in the middle and the half forward line where everything was contested and a huge amount of ball turned over.
David McGurrin then converted his own free after being fouled when he got his initial shot away. Pauric Patton got his point when he really wanted a goal, seeing his attempt blaze over the bar as he opted for power over placement in a one on one with the keeper. David McGurrin added another free after a strong Eamon McGrath run ended with the big man getting pulled back as he went to set up his own shot. David Dolan then showed good composure, turning onto his less preferred right foot to pop over a nice point. James O'Donnell was also enjoying himself at this stage, and when the ball was worked out to him in space wide on the left hand side, he steadied himself to fire a massive point from outside the 45. David McGurrin ended the 15 minute blitz with another point, leaving the scores at 1-10 to 0-7.
The visitors managed to stop the rot, again turning to their main man on the day, Damien Browne, who converted a tricky free into the wind, before they managed another score after a good patient build up of play. Aodh Ruadh had three subs on the field by now, one of which was Ryan Granaghan who finished well after a lovely passing move which was started after some excellent work by Mickey Dolan to win possession. The home side were determined to finish out the game strongly, with David Dolan having a great chance to bury the visitors with a goal which he fired just wide of the right hand post with the keeper beaten. Browne added another fine free from 40 metres, followed shortly after by another Red Hugh's point, but with regulation time almost up it was merely consolation for the visitors. Peter Boyle got the final score of the game with almost the last kick of the game with his second attempt at a 45 deep into injury time.
There were strong performances from all the lads in the second half, with the hard work of Mickey Dolan, Eamon McGrath and James O'Donnell catching the eye.
The home side will be relieved to have navigated this tricky encounter over a team who managed to win the reverse fixture at the Cross back in the beginning of May, particularly after being starved of a competitive fixture for so many weeks. The final two league games are away to Urris, followed by the visit of neighbours Naomh Bríd to the park. The dates for the final league games depend on the fortunes of the County team which will dictate when the Championship gets played.
Peter Boyle (0-2, 2 45s); Conor Patton, Damien Cleary, Mickey Dolan; Anthony Boyle, Eamon McGrath, Niall Murray; James O'Donnell (0-1), Kerry Ryan; David McGurrin (0-4 2f), Ronan McGurrin, Ronan Drummond; Barry Mulligan, David Dolan (1-2), Jamie McDonald (0-1).
Substitutes: Pauric Patton (0-1) for Kerry Ryan; Diarmaid McInerney for Barry Mulligan; Ryan Granaghan (0-1) for Jamie McDonald; Niall Thomas for Ronan Drummond, Ronan Matthews, Ryan Patton, Johnny Gallagher, Cookie O'Halloran, Danial Kelly.
Wides: First half: 6; Second half: 5; Total: 11.
Luke Kelly; Alan McConnell, Peadar McGlinchey, Darren McCreary; Shane Gallen, Pauric McMenamin, Michael Sweeney; Thomas McMenamin (0-1), Damien Browne (0-5, 4f); Ryan Kelly (0-2), Calvin Bradley, Paul Byrne; Ronan Gallen, Colm Melaugh (0-1), Cathal Doherty.
Substitutes: Michael McColgan for P.McCreary, Fintan Muldoon for C.Doherty, Damien Wilson.
Wides: First half: 3; Second half: 2; Total: 5.