Aodh Ruadh edge to win over Newtown

Senior Division 3
6 June 2015
Aodh Ruadh 2-11
Naomh Colmcille 2-10
John Hughes reports from Páirc Aoidh Ruaidh

Aodh Ruadh got the points in a blustery Páirc Aoidh Ruadh, but only after weathering a second half storm from the visitors.

The first half saw the Ballyshannon men in dominant mood as they dictated proceedings with great aggression.

The first attacking action of the game came straight from the throw in when Peter Boyle had to be alert to keep out a shot. Aodh Ruadh then raced the ball up the field where Johnny Gallagher danced around the keeper before lashing home with the game still in its first minute.

The Ernesiders quickly settled into their rhythm and neat build-up play ended with Shane McGrath clipping neatly over for the game's first point.

There were eight minutes gone before Joe Donaghy opened Newtowncunningham's account with a free from the right wing. That was to proved the visitors' last score for 22 minutes as Aodh Ruadh made light of the poor conditions to take a stranglehold on the game.

First Damian Cleary did well to land from distance with 11 minutes gone to give Ballyshannon a four point advantage moving into the second quarter.

Then David McGurrin started to apply himself. He hooked over a fine point after 16 minutes and three minutes later was on the end of a fluid Aodh Ruadh move for his second.

With nine minutes left in the half Philip Patton gathered a ball in the left corner and got support from Mulligan. Mulligan flicked the ball across the face of goal to McGurrin who had the straightforward job of palming home.

Five minutes on and Patton was provider again, this time for McGurrin to tap over and put ten points between the sides.

Aodh Ruadh then added a quality left foot free from Barry Mulligan against the crossfield breeze before Philip Patton clipped over after the hosts turned the Naomh Colmcille kick out.

The Ernesiders were coasting, but as the half entered added time they received notice that Newtown weren't just here to make up the numbers.

Joe Donaghy knocked over a free and then Oran Hilley delivered Naomh Colmcille's first point from play.

Two minutes into first half added time Aodh Ruadh were too casual coming out with the ball and Newtown robbed possession and fed it to Kieran Devine who netted with an emphatic shot.

That left it 2-8 to 1-3 at half time, a scoreline that didn't reflect the extent of Aodh Ruadh's dominance in the first 30.

If the first half was Ballyshannon's, the second would be Newtown's, and Micheál Lynch's in particular. The Naomh Colmcille number 12 put on an exhibition of place kicking and was a real menace in the attack.

Still, it took the visitors a while to settle down to business in the second half, Lynch landing a difficult free seven minutes in.

Two minutes later the Aodh Ruadh defence failed to deal with a short Lynch free and Joe Donaghy capitalised to cut the deficit to two goals.

Lynch hit a further two fine frees in the 42nd and 43rd minutes and it was game on.

That prompted a mini-rally from the hosts. Nathan Boyle picked out David McGurrin and the Abbey Isle man set up Damian Cleary for the point. Then with 13 minutes left in the half McGurrin fed Ronan Drummond possession who dished off to Sticky Ward for the point.

Naomh Colmcille wouldn't lie down though. A minute later Willie Gillespie slashed through the defence and pointed despite some heavy pressure.

Then with nine minutes left the influential Damian Cleary got the line with a black card.

Micheál Lynch piled on the pressure with two well converted frees to make a goal the margin.

Aodh Ruadh badly needed a score and it came five minutes from time, a quick raid up the field finished by Barry Mulligan. But it was Newtown who were applying the preponderance of the pressure and when Eddie Gillespie goaled from an acute angle in the 59th minute it was backside in the bacon slicer time.

Aodh Ruadh stood up to the mark. They managed to keep the ball out of harm's way in the closing stages and clung on for two points which see them maintain second place in the table and cut the gap to Milford to a single point.

Another plus for the hosts was the quality of subs coming on, Pauric Patton and David Dolan being especially welcome introductions.

Aodh Ruadh had strong defensive performances from Eamonn McGrath, Cookie O'Halloran and Nathan Boyle. Damian Cleary was excellent at midfield while up front Barry Mulligan oozed class and Ronan Drummond's work ethic exemplified a committed Ballyshannon display. David McGurrin caused huge damage in the first half and in general the Aodh Ruadh attack linked up very fluently.

Best for the visitors was Micheál Lynch. Without his excellence in the second half Naomh Colmcille would have had a much tougher time making a game of it.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle; Michael Dolan, Eamonn McGrath, Calum 'Cookie' O'Halloran; Nathan Boyle, Johnny Gallagher (1-0), Niall Harley; Kerry Ryan, Damian Cleary (0-2); Barry Mulligan (0-2, 1f), Ronan Drummond, Shane McGrath (0-2); Philip Patton (0-1), Michael 'Sticky' Ward (0-1), David McGurrin (1-3).
Substitutes: Niall Murray for Kerry Ryan 40m; Michael Ward for Niall Harley 45m; Pauric Patton for Damian Cleary (BC) 51m; David Dolan for Michael Dolan 55m.
Naomh Colmcille
Marty Callaghan; Gerard Curran, Alec Devenney, Paul Friel; Conor Gratn, Oran Hilley (0-1), John Fullerton; Kieran Devine (1-0), Richard Clarke; Eddie Gillespie, Thomas McKinley, Micheal Lynch (0-5); Daniel Clarke, Joe Donaghy (0-3), Willie Gillespie (0-1).
Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs).
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Last modified: Sunday, 7 June 2015 at 10:43am