Perfect return to second tier for Aodh Ruadh
Senior Division 2
12 March 2017
Aodh Ruadh 0-11
Pearse Memorial Park
The last time Aodh Ruadh played division two football was 31 October 2010, when Fanad Gaels consigned them to the third tier. It has been a long wait since then, with a number of near misses, but Ballyshannon finally returned to the second division on Sunday, and did so with a bang.
Pearse Memorial Park was the venue as James O'Donnell's young side took on Ardara on a fresh spring day. It was the visitors who got the score board ticking over, Seamus Kane flighting over a good effort off the left boot.
Ardara were quickly level though and Kane had to leave the fray not long after. The hosts then took the lead, extending it out to 0-3 to 0-1. The Ernesiders response was delivered by Philip Patton and Shane McGrath who found the range to restore parity.
Ardara upped the ante from there to the break though, hitting four unanswered, three of those frees from the boot of their number 13.
That left it 0-7 to 0-3 at the turn over, with Aodh Ruadh having it all to do if they were to get anything out of their maiden tie in the division.
They got the perfect start to the second half when David McGurrin popped over a point, but an Ardara sub soon had the gap back out to four points.
However Aodh Ruadh started to take a grip of the game and made it count on the score board.
David McGurrin hit another point before a fine shot from Michael 'Sticky' Ward from the left 46 minutes in trimmed the gap back to two points.
David Dolan landed an superbly struck free from 40 metres. That effort was matched and exceeded by a wonderful dead ball by McGurrin to make it all square at 0-8 apiece with ten minutes left to play.
Ardara sneaked back in front thanks to another score from a substitute. Aodh Ruadh then had a great chance for goal, but McGurrin opted for the point to tie up the game once more.
That decision was quickly vindicated when McGurrin was able to punish a magnificent turnover by Jason Granaghan, too edge the visitors back in front for the first time since the game's early stages.
With a time all but up McGurrin put two in it, however a minute later it was hearts-in-the-mouths time as a late Ardara effort arrowed goalwards, but the shot went over rather than under the bar and the two points returned Erneside on the final whistle.
A superb, gritty victory built on a storming second half display this from Aodh Ruadh with veteran Sticky Ward having an absolutely immense game and midfielder Eamonn McGrath also showing what he is capable of.
Peter Boyle; Callum O'Halloran, Damien Cleary, Michael Ward; Jason Granaghan, Niall Murray, Paddy Gillespie; Conor Patton, Eamonn McGrath; Phillip Patton (0-1), David McGurrin (0-6, 1f), Seamus Kane (0-1), Shane McGrath (0-1), David Dolan (0-1f), Michael 'Sticky' Ward (0-1).
Subs: Eddie Lynch for Seamus Kane; Ryan McKenna for Eddie Lynch.
|Referee: Mark Brown (Four Masters)|