End of the line for Aodh Ruadh

Intermediate Football Championship
25 October 2014
Aodh Ruadh 0-9
Gaeil Fhánada 0-13
John Hughes reports from Convoy

Convoy has often proved a happy hunting ground for Aodh Ruadh teams, but on this bleak windswept October day it was to prove to be one of those days to forget.

Aodh Ruadh contested manfully, despite being down a few starting players and then losing players to injury early in the game, but just couldn't reel back in an aggressive Fanad outfit after they got off to a flying start.

Martin McAteer had two points on the board within 38 seconds and after that the Ernesiders were playing a draining game of catch-up. Fanad's early dominance was further signaled when half back Mark Friel got up to make it 0-3 to no score after two minutes.

A David McGurrin free helped steady the ship somewhat, but then full back Johnny Gallagher had to go off injured. Kerry Ryan fired over a nice point to make it a one point game.

One of the most impressive Fanad players on the day was Ryan McGonigle, and he sallied forward for the first of three points from play in the 8th minute. A Séimí 'Nanny' Friel free followed by a close range point from David McGurrin pegged the scores 0-3 to 0-5 in favour of the Gaels at the end of the first quarter.

There followed a 12 minute spell of tough hard football with the defences decidedly on top and a few decent scoring chances being spurned. Then with four minutes left to the break Ryan McGonigle pointed, followed by another Nanny Friel free. David McGurrin hit a fine point as the clock ticked into added time to keep Ballyshannon in touch at the break.

The game was still there for the taking for both sides, but it was Fanad who made the more promising start to the second half, Séimí 'Cusha' Friel sending over point. Two minutes later Aodh Ruadh's 17-year-old championship debutante Philip Patton justified his selection with an excellent point from distance. Another point from an acute angle by David McGurrin two minutes later cut the deficit to two points and the momentum finally seemed to be starting to swing Aodh Ruadh's way.

Three unanswered points from Fanad killed that prospect, that and their increasingly undisciplined play as the second half wore on.

Ryan McGonigle hit the point which restored the one goal margin, before Nanny Friel hit a free and Cusha Friel hit a fine point to make it double scores as the game entered its final quarter 0-6 to 0-12.

Fanad were tiring at this stage and they turned their focus to protecting their lead. That rearguard saw the Gaels get Francis Sweeney lined on a black card, and then Francis Sweeney sent off on a straight red for a strike on Philip Patton.

Philip Patton had sparked Aodh Ruadh's fight back with another super point on 49 just before that red card incident, then David McGurrin points in the 56th and 57th minutes put just a goal between the teams and barn-stormin finish was in prospect. However Cusha Friel notched a point in the 62nd minute which put two scores between the sides and Paddy McConigley's whistle went very shortly after to draw the contest to a close.

A gutting defeat for Ballyshannon after a big effort, although it is perhaps worth bearing in mind this was a battling performance against a side currently placed third in division two.

The Ernesiders would be within their rights to be upset with the officiating too, McConigley waiting until it was too late to clamp down on Fanad's straying over the line of appropriate physicality and Aodh Ruadh forwards having to work a great deal harder to earn their frees that their Fanad counterparts.

Aodh Ruadh were reasonably sound in defence with Anthony Boyle, Damien Cleary and Michael Dolan among the best performers in that sector. Johnny Gethins showed commendable spirit at half forward while up front David McGurrin and the championship debutante Philip Patton both worked hard on limited and difficult ball. Conor Patton also did well on his introduction.

Now focus returns to the league where promotion is still very much a live proposition.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle; Ciron Whoriskey, Johnny Gallagher, Michael Dolan; Damien Cleary, Eamonn McGrath, Anthony Boyle; James O'Donnell, Kerry Ryan (0-1); Johnny Gethins, Ronan McGurrin, Colm Kelly; Philip Patton (0-2), Barry Mulligan, David McGurrin (0-6, 1f).
Subs: Niall Murray for Johnny Gallagher 4m; Conor Patton for Colm Kelly 12m; Ronan Drummond for Niall Murray 41m; Niall Harley for Kerry Ryan 47m.
Yellow cards: Kerry Ryan 24m; Eamonn McGrath 29m; Johnny Gethins 52m; Barry Mulligan 56m.
Wides: 6
Fanad Gaels
Mark McConigley; Cathal Martin, Fergal Friel, Francis Sweeney; Ryan McGonigle (0-3), Paddy McConigley, Mark Friel (0-1); Kevin McElwaine, Jimmy Coyle; Johnny Friel, Séimí 'Nanny' Friel (0-5f), Aidan McAteer; Martin McAteer (0-2), Séimí 'Cusha' Friel (0-2), Ronan McAteer.
Subs: Davitt Walsh for Johnny Friel (BC) 48m.
Yellow cards: Kevin McElwaine 21m; Séimí 'Nanny' Friel 29m.
Black card: Johnny Friel 48m.
Red card: Francis Sweeney: 51m.
Wides: 7
Referee: Paddy McConigley
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Last modified: Sunday, 26 October 2014 at 10:41pm