Deadlock again for Ernesiders

Senior Division 1
8 July 2018
Aodh Ruadh 1-9
Saint Eunan's 0-12
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

Another draw for the Ernesiders, but home manager James O'Donnell will be looking at it more as a point lost than one salvaged. Aodh Ruadh were the better team for long stretches of this game, but Saint Eunan's managed to snipe off enough scores to keep themselves in contact.

The introduction of Conall Dunne was key to keeping Saint Eunan's in the game, the ex-county man hitting three points after Darren Drummond had netted the game's only goal for the homesters.

Aodh Ruadh had two late goal chances to kill the game altogether, but could convert neither and when Conor Gibbons slotted a close range free three minutes into added time it was another case of honours even for Aodh Ruadh, this their fourth draw of the league.

Saint Eunan's had the better of the opening exchanges with Ballyshannon finding Conor Gibbons a right handful. However, with the help of Diarmaid McInerney's accuracy the hosts managed to keep in the game despite the sweltering conditions.

With ten minutes to go to the break Damian Cleary picked out David McGurrin with a precision pass and he won a free which McInerney converted to make it four points apiece.

Saint Eunan's response was instant, the ball raced up the pitch to Gibbons who popped over from the right of the posts.

Aodh Ruadh were started to take a grip on things though and in the run up to the break they hit two well engineered scores to take a one point lead in at the interval.

First Diarmaid McInerney belted over a magnificent point from 45 metres, then two minutes from the break Peter Boyle came up to pump over off the ground from all of 50 metres to make it 0-6 to 0-5 at the break.

Eunan's weren't long getting matters back to parity though, half-time sub Lee McMonagle drilling over pretty much from the throw-in. Four minutes in they hit the front again when Conor O'Donnell lofted over a quality shot from range.

On 41 minutes Peter Boyle proved his eye was in with his second long range score of the day, thumping over a 45 to make it 0-7 each.

Again Eunan's hit back ruthlessly from the kick out, the ball worked to the impressive O'Donnell to split the posts.

Ballyshannon were getting their hands on plenty of ball and when they hit the net of 43 minutes it was no more than they deserved. A fine score it was too. Shane McGrath took a clever quick free to Philip Patton who hit a divine kick pass to Darren Drummond driving through the middle and the centre back gave Eoghan O'Boyle no chance with the shot.

Conall Dunne got an important point for the Letterkenny men shortly after that, but with 12 minutes to go Diarmaid McInerney found the range again to make it 1-8 to 0-9.

Two well executed points from Conall Dunne in the 52nd and 53rd minutes pulled the game back level, but it was a case of the visitors hanging in there more than anything.

Aodh Ruadh hit the front with six to play after a gut busting run from Shane McGrath teed up David McGurrin to pop over the lead point.

Ballyshannon held that lead as the clock ticked into the red. A minute into Jimmy White's added time David McGurrin had a golden opportunity to finish the game, but Eoghan O'Boyle pulled out a superb stop to smother his shot. A minute later he had to be alert againt to deny David Dolan, who just couldn't steer his shot home.

Saint Eunan's seized the lifeline those misses offered and when Ballyshannon gave away a few cheap frees in their rearguard Conor Gibbons didn't have to be asked twice to drill over and tie up the game.

Aodh Ruadh have been playing a lot of good football this season, but converting the draws into two pointers is becoming a more pressing concern with a gap opening between the bottom two and the mid-table pack. Nevertheless, with this sort of display you have to feel that the wins aren't far away.

Fine displays all over the pitch for Aodh Ruadh. Peter Boyle had a couple of saves to make and hit two cracking dead balls. Darren Drummond was dominant at number six, Damian Cleary and Oisin Rooney took increasing control in the middle third as the game wore on. Shane McGrath was invention itself in the attack and he complimented the direct style of Diarmaid McInerney well.

Saint Eunan's were down a fair few players for this trip south and were fortunate to have quality like Conall Dunne to pull out of their sleeve when things got dicey for them in the second half. Conor O'Donnell gave a strong showing in the middle third while up front Conor Gibbons was a tireless threat. Credit to Eoghan O'Boyle whose late double save kept them in the game.

Vital Statistics
Teams
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle (0-1 f); Johnny Gallagher, Eamonn McGrath, Colm Kelly; Johnny Gethins, Darren Drummond (1-0), Eddie Lynch; Damian Cleary, Oisin Rooney; Philip Patton, Diarmaid McInerney (0-6, 2f), Johnny Gethins; Niall Murray, Shane McGrath, David Dolan.
Subs: Jason Granaghan for Johnny Gethins 16m; David McGurrin for David Dolan 40m; Cian Dolan for Niall Murray; 44m; David Dolan for Diarmaid McInerney 56m.
Blood sub: David McGurrin (0-1) for Shane McGrath 13m-HT.
Saint Eunan's
Eoghan O'Boyle; Anthony Gallagher, Conor Park, Ciaran McCloskey; Aaron Deeney, John Hensey, Daragh Toal; Daragh Mulgrew, Conor O'Donnell (0-3); Niall Hannigan, Ross Wherity, Conor Gibbons (0-4, 1f); Conor O'Donnell, Rory Kavanagh (0-1), Rory Carr (0-1). Subs: Lee McMonagle (0-1) for Rory Carr HT; Conall Dunne (0-3) for Niall Hannigan 41m; Brian McIntyre for Darragh Toal 50m.
Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs).

Last modified: Sunday, 8 July 2018 at 7:59pm