Aodh Ruadh into u21 county semi-final

Under 21 A Football Championship Quarter-Final
26 October 2015
Aodh Ruadh 1-19
Dungloe 1-11
Tír Chonaill Park, Donegal Town.

It looked grim for Aodh Ruadh at half-time in this under 21 quarter-final. Clearly showing the effects of limited game-time together since beating Buncrana back in July, they had struggled to stay on top of Dungloe despite the assistance of a strong following wind. Indeed Dungloe's impressive accuracy, sharp support play and dominance in midfield pointed to the Rosses side as the more likely winners on the turnover.

But Ballyshannon made some positional switches and showed greatly improved hunger for the ball from the very first seconds of the second half to overpower Dungloe with a display of football that was as brilliant as the first was poor.

It was the Ernesiders who made the first impression on the score board, David McGurrin with a free in the opening seconds. However Dungloe were in uncompromising mood and dictated the pace for the next ten minutes, keeping Aodh Ruadh penned in their own 45 in defiance of the driving wind.

Darragh McGee struck their first point after two minutes and that was followed by points from Sean Wallace, Eoin Redmond and a James McCole free in rapid succession to leave Dungloe a goal to the good with seven minutes gone.

Aodh Ruadh rallied with Niall Harley doing well to win possession before feeding Pauric Patton to pop over. On ten minutes Shane McGrath drove through well to open up a goal chance, but his flick over to Jamie McDonald asked a lot of the attacker. He managed a good flick, but it flashed wide of Danny Rodgers' right post.

Daragh McGee slipped over for Dungloe before Aodh Ruadh finally managed to find the net. Great work from David McGurrin and Shane McGrath created the chance for Eamonn McGrath who finished cooly to the net to take Aodh Ruadh back in to the lead. Then Nathan Boyle caught the kick out and got on the end of the build-up to arrow over a trademark beauty to give Ballyshannon a one goal cushion at the end of the first quarter.

Dungloe came roaring back though. A Sean Wallace free and points from Daragh McGee and Adam Neely brought the Rosses men back level in the space of two minutes.

Shane McGrath pointed and David McGurrin converted a free to restore Aodh Ruadh's lead, but Dungloe simply wouldn't let Ballyshannon get away on them. Adam Neely and Sean Wallace fired over to leave it all square at 1-7 to 0-10 at the interval.

Some of Dungloe's shooting in the first half had been of the first order and with the wind to come, they were favourites for the semi-final spot.

Aodh Ruadh needed to step up to the plate in serious fashion and they did that right from the start when Ryan Granaghan edged the Ernesiders back into the lead with the new half seconds old.

Oisin Roper had a magnificent second 30 when moved to the edge of the area. A minute in he won a ball in well, but went to ground. He had the presence of mind to pop up to Nathan Boyle who neatly lobbed over from close range.

Then Eamonn McGrath claimed the kick out which overshot midfield and drove on to support play. He got on the end of the move to curl over and put Aodh Ruadh a goal up.

Oisin Roper was creator again a minute later, punching deftly down to David McGurrin who made no mistake with the chance.

Dungloe were reeling, but they got the perfect response five minutes in. A long ball stretched the Ballyshannon defence and Adam Neely slotted home to leave the minimum between the sides.

Aodh Ruadh didn't let that blow disturb them though. Oisin Roper got a deserved point after 42 minutes, but a minute later Ballyshannon needed an excellent save from Daniel Kelly to keep them in the game. Sub Caolan Ward fired over on 44 minutes, but that was to be the last time Dungloe troubled the score board as Aodh Ruadh started to move up through the gears.

As the game moved into the final quarter Jamie McDonald forced a turnover on the kick out and then got on the end of the move to fire over. A minute later David McGurrin pointed before becoming creator for Philip Patton who put four points between the sides.

With nine minutes left in the game Oisín Roper delivered an exhibition effort off the outside of the boot for his second of the day. Philip Patton put two goals between the sides with six minutes left before David McGurrin added a close range free.

There was some fine work from the tireless Nathan Boyle before David McGurrin hoisted over the concluding score of the game two minutes from time.

An impressive display from the Ballyshannon lads when they found their rhythm. There was a powerful performance from half back with Callum O'Halloran, Eamonn McGrath and Pauric Patton exceptional in the second half, Jason Granaghan also shone in a second half defensive effort that saw Dungloe only register 1-1. Niall Harley and Nathan Boyle blossomed at midfield as the game progressed. In the attack Oisín Roper made a huge contribution to winning the game as did the reliable shooting of David McGurrin, Shane McGrath, Jamie McDonald and Philip Patton. Ryan McKenna also made a lively impression on his introduction.

Aodh Ruadh will now face Saint Eunan's in the county semi-final after the Letterkenny men defeated Termon 1-16 to 1-5 in their quarter-final.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Daniel Kelly; Ryan Granaghan (0-1), Eugene Drummond, Ryan Patton; Callum O'Halloran, Eamonn McGrath (1-1), Eddie Lynch; Nathan Boyle (0-2), Niall Harley; Oisin Roper (0-2), Philip Patton (0-2), Jamie McDonald (0-2); Pauirc Patton (0-1), Shane McGrath (0-2), David McGurrin (0-5, 3f).
Subs: Jason Granaghan for Ryan Patton 29m; Ryan McKenna for Ryan Granaghan 39m; Paddy Gillespie for Jamie McDonald 61m.
Frees conceded: 10.
Wides: 5.
Dungloe
Danny Rodgers; Daragh McGee (0-3), Ryan Rodgers, Jack Scally; James McCole (0-1f), Eoin Scally, Hugh Moy; Darren Curran, Eoin Redmond (0-1); Barry Curran, Sean Wallace (0-3, 1f), Ryan Connors; Adam Neely (1-2), Luke Neely, Ryan Greene.
Subs: Caolan Ward (0-1) for Ryan Rodgers 42m; Matthew Ward for Sean Wallace 58m, Danny McGarvey, Eoin Doogan, Brian O'Donnell.
Frees conceded: 14.
Wides: 5.
Referee: Liam McConigley.
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Last modified: Monday, 21 December 2015 at 11:09pm