Patton the hero as Ernesiders prevail

Intermediate Football Championship
20 August 2017
Aodh Ruadh 0-13
Naomh Ultan 2-6
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

No one could pretend Sunday's fare in Ballyshannon was particularly appetising, but it was capped with a moment of magic when Philip Patton nailed a last minute free to grab Aodh Ruadh the win.

Long swaths of the game were turgid stuff, with Naomh Ultan deploying defensive formation which at times saw the front 65 metres entirely devoid of amber and black jerseys.

It mightn't have been pretty, but it almost proved effective as an Alan Lyons point with seconds of normal time left put the sides level. However, those highlights were few and far between with scores a rare commodity in Father Tierney Park.

It took a full 12 minutes for the first score to arrive, a foul on Philip Patton affording Michael 'Sticky' Ward the opportunity to point from the right.

The visitors opened their account two minutes later, and did so in sensational fashion. Alan Lyons did well to gather the long ball in before swivelling and bursting the net.

Ballyshannon responded with another dead ball, David McGurrin converting after Shane McGrath was fouled.

Naomh Ultan were lively though and made it a double scores game with a booming long range point from Daniel Gallagher.

Damian Cleary cut the deficit back to the minium with a classy looped score. Then with eight minutes left in the half a long ball into the Dunkineely danger area was palmed down by David McGurrin to Seamus Kane who was fouled in a border-line penalty call. Philip Patton leveled the game with the short range free.

Shortly after Seamus Kane christened his spanking new luminous orange boots with a glorious score from the right.

Sticky Ward helped extend the lead then, picking out David McGurrin with a delicious pass which he arced over from a central position.

Last say of the half though went to Naomh Ultan, and it was another superb distance effort, this one being powered over off the boot of Aidan Duddy.

A minute into the new half it was level again. Alan Lyons opened the scoring, pointing over the shoulder after collecting from a free which dropped short. Parity didn't last long though with Philip Patton popping over a free from out on the left.

Eight minutes into the half the gap was opened out two when Shane McGrath fed David McGurrin who measured over a lovely shot. Not long after Nathan Boyle put a goal in it with a powerful dropping shot

Cian Kennedy kept the score board ticking over for Naomh Ultan with a free after 42 minutes. Then Dermot Gallier brought it back to the minimum with another dead ball.

Aodh Ruadh needed a score at this stage and Seamus Kane was the man to oblige. He was picked out with a clever switch pass by Philip Patton before working himself some space and guiding over a lovely left foot shot. That made it 0-10 to 1-5 with 47 on the clock.

Ballyshannon were playing all the football now and not long after Eamonn McGrath shipped a big hit as he took a long ball and was awarded a free for his troubles. Philip Patton took care of the placed ball with minimal fuss.

David Dolan then swung over an immense long range shot to put four between the sides.

Then with six left to play Naomh Ultan were handed a lifeline in controversial circumstances. Aidan McAleer spotted an offence in the penalty area and pointed to the spot to the disbelief of the Aodh Ruadh defence.

The rights and wrongs of the award didn't bother Alan Lyons though as he slotted his shot down the middle to put just a point between them with five left to play.

Then a minute from full time Lyons went from hero to villain in the space of 30 seconds. First he connected with towering shot out on the right to level the game. But then from the kick out he was guilty of a cynical third man tackle which saw him receive a second yellow card and his marching orders.

It looked like it might be honours even, but McAleer allowed time for one more play. This saw Naomh Ultan conceding a free on the very outer fringes of the scoring zone.

Philip Patton stood up to a massive pressure kick, but his temperament was cool, his execution immaculate and the result a superbly pointed free which gave the Ernesiders victory.

It was a game were every score was hard won, but once again the experience, strength and footbally brain of Sticky Ward was priceless, eking out openings were there seemed to be none. Philip Patton also showed well hitting some great passes and really standing up to the mark with his last gasp free. In midfield Darren Drummond was in his element in the uncompromising exchanges, while further back Nathan Boyle and Damian Cleary expended serious energy for the cause.

Alan Lyons was the fulcrum for Naomh Ultan, while Daniel Gallagher could also consider himself to be unfortunate to be on the losing side.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle; Nathan Boyle (0-1), Damian Cleary (0-1), Michael Ward; Jason Granaghan, Eamonn McGrath, Daniel Warnock; Darren Drummond, David Dolan (0-1); David McGurrin (0-3, 1f), Michael 'Sticky' Ward (0-1f), Philip Patton (0-4f); Shane McGrath, Seamus Kane (0-2), Johnny Gethins.
Subs: Conor Patton for Daniel Warnock 35m.
Frees conceded: 11.
Wides: 11.
Shorts: 0.
Kick outs won - Total: 16; Own: 8; Opposition: 8.
Marks: 2.
Naomh Ultan
Donal Murrin; Jordan Watters, Jonathan Cassidy, Dara Byrne; Aidan Duddy (0-1), Daniel Gallagher (0-1), Dermot Gallier (0-1f); Alan Lyons (2-2, 1 pen), Cian Kennedy (0-1), Shane McWhinnie, Danny Shovlin, Peter Alvey; John Knightly, Michael Breslin, James Byrne.
Frees conceded: 10.
Wides: 3.
Shorts: 2.
Kick outs won - Total: 9; Own: 9; Opposition: 0.
Marks: 3.
Referee: Aidan McAleer (Muff).
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Last modified: Tuesday, 22 August 2017 at 12:00am