Late Ryan strike leaves Naomh Bríd reeling
Senior Division 3
18 June 2016
Naomh Bríd 0-16
Aodh Ruadh 2-11
Páirc Naomh Bríd
This characteristically spicy N15 derby ended in dramatic fashion as Kerry Ryan stabbed home through a goalmouth melee to give Aodh Ruadh a one point win and maintain their pristine league record.
Various factors meant Peter Gallagher and James O'Donnell had to significantly reshuffle their pack for the visit to Páirc Naomh Bríd, but they will have been greatly heartened by this battling display as Naomh Bríd threw everything they had at the visitors in their attempted to halt their winning run.
The game got off to a frenetic start with Shane Walsh and David Dolan exchanging points in first two minutes.
The next three scores all went the way of the Ballintra / Laghey men with Clint Walsh, Darragh Brogan (f) and the Naomh Bríd full forward and all finding the mark.
A 35 metre free David McGurrin afforded Aodh Ruadh some relief, but again the hosts hit back with a volley of points.
First Darragh Brogan restored Naomh Bríd's one goal advantage, then Shane Walsh stretched the lead further. Brogan added another free before Ballyshannon next troubled the score board operator.
It came after the Ballintra midfielder was lucky to stay on the field for a drag down on Niall Harley, seeing yellow as opposed to black. Pauric Patton sent over the free to keep the Ernesiders in the hunt.
David Dolan reduced the deficit to a goal, but the Naomh Bríd full forward cancelled that out shortly after with an answering point.
The last action of the half saw Dolan sending over a free to send Aodh Ruadh in trailing by 0-8 to 0-5 and facing into a real war of attrition in the second half.
Ballyshannon got the ideal start to the second period, with two David McGurrin frees cutting the deficit to the minimum.
The Bridgetown side stretched away again though with the points from their full forward and Darragh Brogan (2) giving them a four point cushion.
Aodh Ruadh got the break they needed though when good work from David Dolan created the opening for David McGurrin and the attacking ace displayed his usual clinical finishing to net and make it a one point game once more.
Then shortly after Jason Granaghan was fouled allowing McGurrin to tuck over his fourth free of the game to tie it up at 1-8 to 0-11.
A David Dolan free took Ballyshannon into the lead for the first time in the game, but a dead ball from Darragh Brogan ensured that didn't last long.
Michael 'Sticky' Ward edged Aodh Ruadh back in front, but this time Naomh Bríd hit back with what looked like being a match winning response.
First the Naomh Bríd number ten split the posts before two Darragh Brogan frees gave the hosts a two point advantage with the game coming into its closing moments.
Sticky Ward fired over his second point of the game, but Naomh Bríd's corner forward answered that and with time running out it was clear Aodh Ruadh would need a goal to salvage anything from the contest.
The chance seemed to have gone when a Sticky Ward shot flashed wide of the post a minute into added time.
But with the game regularly punctuated with stoppages there were five added minutes and it was literally with the last kick of the game that the matter was decided. The ball went into the Naomh Bríd area and after a frantic scramble Kerry Ryan got the finishing touch to send the ball to the net and secure a fantastic win for Aodh Ruadh in a ground which has supplied more than its share of heartache down the years.
That victory now takes Ballyshannon seven points clear at the top of division three with as they made it ten wins from ten and promotion edging ever-closer to Aodh Ruadh's grasp.
Karl O'Brien; Paddy Gillespie, Damian Cleary, Callum O'Halloran; Jason Granaghan, Colm Kelly, Eamonn McGrath; Conor Patton, Niall Harley; David McGurrin (1-4, 4f), Michael 'Sticky' Ward (0-2), Ryan McKenna; Seamus Kane, David Dolan (0-4), Pauric Patton (0-1f). Subs: Kerry Ryan (1-0) for Ryan McKenna 20m