All out attack, but Aodh Ruadh come up short

Senior Division 2
2 June 2017
Aodh Ruadh 1-18
Ardara 3-14
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

It seemed like little enough to worry about at the time, but Ardara's quick raid for 1-2 while Aodh Ruadh were feeling their way into the game was to prove a crucial phase of this division 2 clash. From there on Ardara were able to play on the counter, raiding for scores when James O'Donnell's men were getting too close for comfort.

Aodh Ruadh did manage to get the game back level twice near the death, but the effort expended in reeling the visitors back in left little in the tank when Ardara struck for two late points to snatch the win in the dying moments of the game.

Attacks were to the fore in an all-action first half. Aodh Ruadh were in their shell a little in the opening parries, with Ardara skating off to a four point advantage after ten minutes, but the hosts worked themselves back into contention and from there to the break it was tit for tat.

Ardara took advantage of the Ernesiders early reticence with CJ Molloy sending over a free and Kenneth Doherty doing really well to get his accurate shot away shortly before taking a heavy hit.

Then with five minutes gone Ardara raided for the game's opening goal. Again CJ Molloy was the danger man. He was set up one-on-one with Peter Boyle, but the Ballyshannon shot-stopper was equal to his initial effort. The ball then richocheted up into the air and Molloy was first to react, beating it into the net as it dropped.

It was to be the keeper who answered that opening barage, Boyle smashing over a 50 metre free after Conor Patton was fouled.

Seconds later Aodh Ruadh carved out their first goal opening, but David McGurrin shot could only rattle the crossbar with his rasping shot.

CJ Molloy was able to send over a free before Ballyshannon mustered the goal they had been threatening.

Darren Drummond flicked off to Damien Cleary who was coming through like an express train. The full back collected crisply before placing a beautiful shot past Cathal Gallagher to make it 1-1 to 1-3.

David McGurrin cut the deficit to the minimum with a neat point, but Ardara quickly hit the turbo again.

Lorcan O'Donnell drove through on goal and did brilliantly to angle his shot in at the narrow side past Peter Boyle.

Aodh Ruadh got it back to a goal when the ball bobbled dangerously in the Ardara area and Damien Cleary's volley went over the bar.

The visitors however were showing the ability to grab scores when they needed them and Kieran Brelin and Brendan Boyle pointed in succession to put them back into the comfort zone.

This Aodh Ruadh outfit know the way to the posts themselves, and two quality shots from David McGurrin and Darren Drummond brought it back to a goal before a marvellous 47 metre free from Peter Boyle cut the margin further.

A Gareth Concarr free was answered by a calm well taken score from Shane McGrath to see the sides going in with still just that two points between them, 1-7 to 2-6.

If either opposition manager had illusions of parking the bus in the second half, they were about to be resoundingly shattered. The second 30 was to finish 0-11 to 1-8 as the sides got well and truly tore into each other.

The scores came fast and furious starting with a Brendan Boyle point after Ardara robbed the kick out.

David McGurrin cancelled that with a point after great work by Nathan Boyle.

Gareth Concarr was proving a huge thorn in the side for the host and he piled it on with two quick points to leave it 1-9 to 3-8 five minutes into the new half.

The emergence of that five point gap had a galvanising effect on Aodh Ruadh and they put together their best spell of football in front of the large crowd in Father Tierney Park.

It started with a great trademark score from Nathan Boyle which was followed by a point by first half sub Michael 'Sticky' Ward. Next time it was Boyle who was the creator and prompter, setting up for Ward to slash Ardara's lead back to two.

With 40 minutes gone Aodh Ruadh's spirit was demonstrated by a superb score from Darren Drummond, who showed great muscle to get out in front and win a 20/80 ball before scooping over while being wrestled to the ground.

Ardara again showed their capacity to kick on when Lorcan O'Donnell closed in on goal. His cracking shot was brilliantaly saved by Peter Boyle, but the ball was worked back out to that man Concarr and he made it 1-13 to 3-9.

As the game moved into the final quarter Shane McGrath did really well to get his pass off to Jason Granaghan who slipped over, but again Gareth Concarr quickly responded for Ardara.

Aodh Ruadh continued to edge the attacking chances and at long last two David McGurrin frees left it all square at 1-16 to 3-10 with ten minutes on the clock. It was anyone's game now in a match where the attendance was getting full value for their shekels.

Ardara stood up to the mark, hitting two points in succession. Gareth Concarr pointed before Brendan McNelis struck with a great shot from long range to give the visitors the advantage heading down the straight.

Aodh Ruadh were tenacity personified though and a David McGurrin a free and a point from Diarmuid McInerney levelled with a minute left.

The game was to close on late controversy however as referee Robbie O'Donnell awarded CJ Molloy a soft scoreable free and Sticky Ward was shown black for sharing his views on the matter with the referee. Concarr pointed the dead ball with the game in added time before stroking over the insurance point two minutes later. He wrapped up an eventful day for himself personally by getting black carded for trying to slow play down from the kick out.

The manner of the defeat will be galling for Aodh Ruadh, but it is indicative of the progression in the squad that there is disappointment in not beating Ardara despite fielding minus David Dolan, Colm Kelly, Philip Patton, Johnny Gallagher, and defensive stalwart Michael Ward. Once again there was a lot of good work done by players in white and green. Peter Boyle landed two smashing points for a second game in succession and also made a couple of excellent saves, Damien Cleay and Jason Granaghan fared best in a defence which had plenty of work on their plate. Up front David McGurrin's promptings caused a world of problems for Ardara while Nathan Boyle tore into them with real warrior spirit. Michael 'Sticky' Ward also made a major contribution on his introduction.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle (0-2, 2f); Callum O'Halloran, Damien Cleary (1-1), Cian McGloin; Jason Granaghan (0-1), Eamonn McGrath, Daniel Warnock; Sean Taylor, Conor Patton; David McGurrin (0-7, 4f), Shane McGrath (0-1), Nathan Boyle (0-2); Shane Dorrian, Darren Drummond (0-2), Seamus Kane.
Subs: Michael 'Sticky' Ward (0-2) for Seamus Kane 22m; Diarmaid McInerney (0-1) for Shane Dorrian 33m; Seamus Kane for Sticky Ward (BC) 60m. Frees conceded: 13.
Wides: 8.
Shorts: 0.
Kick outs won - Total: 18; Own: 11; Opposition: 7.
Marks: 1.
Ardara
Cathal Gallagher; Oisin O'Donnell, Declan Gavigan, Brian White; John Ross Molloy, Kenneth Doherty (0-1), Danny Walsh; Conal Boomer, Brendan Boyle (0-2); Brendan McNelis (0-2), Gareth Concarr (1-5, 2f), Kieran Breslin; Peter McHugh, CJ Molloy (1-2, 2f), Lorcan O'Donnell (1-0).
Subs: Nicholas Maguire for Kenneth Doherty 13m; Ryan Malley (0-2) for Conal Boomer HT; Johnny Herron for Declan Gavigan 48m; Jimmy O'Connell for Peter McHugh 51m; Paul Watters for Kieran Breslin 54m; Conal Boomer for Brendan McNelis (BC) 58m. Frees conceded: 17.
Wides: 3.
Shorts: 1.
Kick outs won - Total: 17; Own: 11; Opposition: 6.
Marks: 5.
Referee: Robbie O'Donnell (Naomh Muire).
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Last modified: Wednesday, 7 June 2017 at 10:32pm