Seventh heaven for the Ernesiders

Senior Division 3
22 May 2016
Aodh Ruadh 1-11
Fanad Gaels 1-7
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park.

Aodh Ruadh did well to overcome a determined Fanad Gaels side in Father Tierney Park to record their eighth win in succession over league and championship.

It was decidedly a case of defences to the fore in a low-scoring first half. The score board operator wasn't troubled until a full 13 minutes had been played, a great ball from David McGurrin picking out David Dolan who sent over an assured shot

However it was Fanad who had the breeze at their backs and it was they who enjoyed the better of the attacking opportunities in the half.

Aodh Ruadh went man to man early on and that left a prairie of open space in front of Seamus Friel which he was able to use to good effect to pop over the visitor's opener after 14 minutes.

Two minutes on Michael Sweeney danced through the thin Aodh Ruadh rearguard before slamming home an unstoppable shot to Pete Boyle's left to get the green flag flying.

Aodh Ruadh got through on goal shortly after, but were turned over and the ball raced up the field to Seamus Friel who had the easy job of slipping over from close range. Friel added another from a routine dead ball with seven minutes to run in the half as Aodh Ruadh found it difficult to create any sort of meaningful opennings.

They did manage a second score before the half-time whistle, recycling patiently before David McGurrin swung over a magnificent score.

However Fanad continued to threaten and Peter Boyle had to be alert to make a magnificent save from Paul Coyle. The last say in the half went to the visitors with Friel easing over a 45 to send the sides in at Aodh Ruadh 0-2 Fanad Gaels 1-4.

The breeze was a decided factor though and the game was still well in the balance at the turn over. The Ernesiders got the perfect start to the new half when Michael Ward got up from corner back to turn over Brendan Friel's kick out. Possession came to David McGurrin who swung over a cracking shot.

It got better not long after when Michael 'Sticky' Ward hit a switch ball which was fielded outstandingly by David Dolan. Dolan laid off to David McGurrin who stayed cool to place his shot past Friel to put a point between the sides.

It was all level at 38 minutes when Peter Boyle smashed over a 45 and five minutes later David McGurrin sent the hosts back into the lead.

McGurrin then won the Fanad kick out and then got on the end of the move to fist over. Although there was a chance of goal it was probably the right option because from there on Ballyshannon would never be headed.

As the game entered the final quarter McGurrin hoisted over a beauty of a score from 40 metres, although that one was cancelled out by a close in Seamus Friel free. Feargal Friel then got the Gaels back on level terms a minute later, fisting over after racing through on goal.

The sides were tied, but Aodh Ruadh now entered a period of total midfield dominance, repeatedly claiming Brendan Friel's restarts.

It started after 49 minutes when Sticky Ward did really well to buy a free which Diarmaid McInerney slipped just inside the posts to give Ballyshannon back the lead.

Then David McGurrin again won the kick out and the ball was quickly worked to McInerney who rifled over an emphatic effort.

Soon after Sticky Ward did well to win the ball before linking up with Paddy Gillespie, he hit an intelligent switch ball to Ryan McKenna and the young sub showed composure beyond his years as he guided between the posts.

That effort was followed by a glorious individual score from Seamus Kane who fired over from long range effort to put four between them.

Fanad could have cut the deficit to the minimum with seven minutes left, but Seamus 'Coisa' Friel hit a weak shot which was gathered on the line by Paddy Gillespie. Instead Aodh Ruadh mounted a raking counter attack which was concluded with a trademark beauty from David Dolan.

That was a five point scoring burst crammed into four minutes which effectively ended the game as a contest.

Niall Carr lofted over from play close in with five minutes left, but Fanad looked like a beaten docket at that stage and Aodh Ruadh steered the game to a successful conclusion over the closing minutes.

A win packed with character by the Ballyshannon men as they stuck doggedly with Fanad in the first half, before showing their scoring class and and the merit of their sterling work ethic in the second.

David McGurrin finished with 1-4 to his credit, but he contributed a lot more to the team around the park. Michael 'Sticky' Ward again managed exchanges up front astutely. In midfield Conor Patton and Eamonn McGrath soldiered well, although in Michael Sweeney they had a serious opponent to contend with. The defence were in magnificent form with Michael Ward, Damian Cleary and Callum O'Halloran, although again, it must be said Fanad's Seamus Friel was a serious threat throughout.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle (0-1f); Michael Ward, Damian Cleary, Calum O'Halloran; Jason Granaghan, Niall Harley, Paddy Gillespie; Eamonn McGrath, Conor Patton; David McGurrin (1-4), Michael 'Sticky' Ward, Diarmaid McInerney (0-2, 1f); Seamus Kane (0-1), David Dolan (0-2), Johnny Gethins.
Subs: Pauric Patton for Niall Harley 22m; Ryan McKenna (0-1) for Jason Granaghan 45m; Kerry Ryan for Michael 'Sticky' Ward 57m.
Yellow cards: Damien Cleary 59m.
Wides: 10
Frees conceded: 16
Kickouts won: 13
Own: 4
Opposition: 9
Fanad Gaels
Brendan Friel; Conor McGonagle, Patrick Heraghty, Frank Sweeney; Ciaran Coll, Cathal Martin, Paul Coyle; Sean McElwaine, Michael Sweeney (1-0); Feargal Friel (0-1), Seamus 'Ciosa' Friel, Mark Friel; Davitt Walsh, Seamus Friel (0-5, 2f, 1 45), Niall Carr (0-1).
Yellow cards: Davitt Walsh 61m.
Wides: 4
Frees conceded: 18
Kickouts won: 14
Own: 11
Opposition: 3
Referee: Connie Doherty (Naomh Conaill)
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Last modified: Monday, 30 May 2016 at 11:19pm