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Championship bid off to perfect start

Intermediate Football Championship
24 May 2015
Aodh Ruadh 2-8
Buncrana 0-8
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

Aodh Ruadh got their intermediate championship ambitions off to the ideal start with a two goal victory over Buncrana. The hosts were worth their win, but they were made to work all the way for it by a committed and driven Inishowen outfit, who sprang Darach O'Connor for a second half surge.

Confined to two points in the first half, the visitors came back strong in a wind assisted second only to fall short as Aodh Ruadh hit for a power-packed finish.

Aodh Ruadh got off to the perfect start after 58 seconds. Kerry Ryan drove a ball into Michael 'Sticky' Ward who fed Barry Mulligan for the opening score of the game. Buncrana levelled it up with a free after six minutes, John Campbell pointing from out on the right wing.

The hosts hit back immediately, winning the kick out and patiently working it up to Sticky Ward who slipped over a good effort from the right.

Diarmaid McInerney fired over a free and when Odhran Doherty hit a free after 13 minutes to trim the deficit to the minimum it looked like a cagey enough encounter was in prospect.

However that was to be Buncrana's last score of the half while Aodh Ruadh went on to add an unanswered 1-4.

The goal came after 22 minutes, Shane McGrath bobbing and weaving before raking a powerful shot to O'Doherty's left. An absolutely magnificent goal

Then David McGurrin won the kick out and picked out Diarmaid McInerney who floated over a nice effort on the breeze.

McInerney added a free a couple of minutes later before Nathan Boyle produced score of the half. Boyle, recently called up to the Donegal minor panel, had the ball a few metres behind the 45 and had options inside, but he whipped the laces through a huge shot which sailed over of the bar with some to spare.

Sticky Ward added a deft left foot point with two minutes left and the sides went in at the interval with Aodh Ruadh leading on a scoreline of 1-7 to 0-2.

Buncrana had the benefit of a significant following breeze in the second half. However with Ballyshannon playing a defensive set-up the Inishowen men found it tough work clawing their way back into the tie.

Nevertheless they set to their work with a will, inching their way through the deficit principally thanks to placed ball.

The first of those arrived four minutes into the half from the boot of John Campbell. Oisin Doherty then added the visitors' first score from play a minute later.

Then three Odhran Doherty frees over a ten minute period, two of those impressive long range efforts, left just a goal between the teams with 13 minutes to play.

Aodh Ruadh were desperately looking for their first score of the half when Buncrana turned possession and raced the ball up the pitch for Oisín Doherty to slot over and put two points between the sides.

That was to be as good as it got for the visitors though. Ballyshannon were committing increasing numbers forward and the pressure eventually told with six minutes left on the clock.

Philip Patton cut through and passed to Shane McGrath and he somehow managed to wrangle the ball over the bar.

A few minutes later Diarmaid McInerney went close with a goal shot which was deflected out for 45. The coup de grace finally came 30 seconds from the long whistle, and it was worth waiting for. It was created by a Callum 'Cookie' O'Halloran drive out of defence. He linked up with Niall Harley who slipped on to Johnny Gethins. Gethins slammed a thunderous shot to the net to give Aodh Ruadh victory after a nerve jangling second 30.

Best for the hosts were Eamonn McGrath in defence, deputising for Damien Cleary, with Nathan Boyle and Cookie O'Halloran also distinguishing themselves in a hard working shift. Johnny Gethins increasingly dominated in the second half and helped Ballyshannon over the line. Up front Diarmaid McInerney's fine form this season continued undimmed with another effective 60 minutes. Shane McGrath finished with 1-2 and had a particularly fine first half while Sticky Ward soldiered well in the solo role up front.

Buncrana's Peter McLoughlin proved one of their more effective operators out around the middle of the park, and while Odhran Doherty's radar was off in the first half, he more than made up for that with a clinical second half.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle; Michael Dolan, Eamonn McGrath, Calum 'Cookie' O'Halloran; Nathan Boyle (0-1), Niall Harley, Ronan Drummond; Kerry Ryan, Johnny Gethins (1-0); Barry Mulligan (0-1), Diarmaid McInerney (0-3, 2f), Shane McGrath (1-2); Philip Patton, Michael 'Sticky' Ward (0-2), David McGurrin.
Substitute Niall Murray for Kerry Ryan 50m.
Wides 10. Frees conceded 20.
Eoghan O'Doherty; Jack O'Loughlin, Simon Cuffe, Conor Grant; Shane McLaughlin, Stephen Doherty, Kevin O'Loughlin; John Campbell (0-2f), Caolan McGonagle; Adrian Doherty, Odhran Doherty (0-4f), Joseph McGrory; Oisín O'Flaherty, Peter McLoughlin, Oisín Doherty (0-2).
Substitute: Darach O'Connor for Kevin O'Loughlin HT.
Wides 6. Frees conceded 15.
Referee: Michael McShane (Kilcar).

Last modified: Monday, 1 June 2020 at 1:11pm