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Aodh Ruadh second best in last eight clash

Under 21 football championship quarter-final
26 September 2019
Aodh Ruadh 0-8
Saint Eunan's 3-17
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

Ballyshannon were just second best against a very complete looking Saint Eunan's on a showery Saturday afternoon in Father Tierney Park. The Letterkenny men also showed the benefit of their first round victory over Naomh Columba, their passing much crisper and their shooting exemplary. Aodh Ruadh meanwhile came into the game without a competitive test and that showed.

Aodh Ruadh started promisingly, looking composed and had an early point courtesy of Eoin Doherty, this a well struck raking effort.

Two minutes later Saint Eunan's opened their accont with Padraig McGettigan clipping over neatly.

A Nathan Boyle free with ten minutes played edged Aodh Ruadh back in front, but the visitors hit back hard, Eoin McGettigan coming in at the end of a slick move to slam to the net.

Then on 12 minutes Niall O'Donnell lofted over to put a goal between the sides.

Ballyshannon were continuing to play some nice stuff though, and Dylan Gallagher swept over after a good move.

It was the Letterkenny men who were starting to take charge though and they tore through the homesters' cover and Kevin Kealy was on hand to palm to the net.

Brian McIntyre and Eoin McGeehan added points in quick succession to make it 0-3 to 2-5 with ten minutes left in the half.

The sides then exchanged points, Nathan Boyle with a close range free before Kealy fired over.

Just before the break Shane McGrath showed all his trademark skill to win the ball in and point, and with the scores at 0-5 to 2-6, there was still a game up for grabs in the second half.

Saint Eunan's had something to say about that before the interval though. They gave Aodh Ruadh a mountain to climb after the break, with Peter McEniff driving through and dispatching his sides' third fine goal of the half.

Conor O'Donnell opened the second half scoring with a smartly taken point four minutes in, following that up with a free a minute later.

Aodh Ruadh were struggling now and a succession of scores form Aaron Deaney, Eoin McGeehan, Brian McIntyre and Peter McEniff made it Saint Eunan's 3-12 to 0-5 with 43 minutes played.

Shane Gillespie then got a Aodh Ruadh's first point of the half, but that was quickly cancelled out by another Aaron Deaney point.

A Nathan Boyle point after 50 minutes was deserved for an unstinting personal shift. Again that was quickly answered when Padraig McGettigan guided over well and Brian McIntyre was able to point following the kick out.

Dylan Gallagher pointed to make it 0-8 to 3-15 with six minutes left to play.

However the final word fittingly went to the visitors, Brian McGeehin and Kevin Kealy finding the range in response as the game petered out to low-key conclusion.

Saint Eunan's were worthy winners, their side laced with quality, and they will take some beating for the county title.

Aodh Ruadh's young team battled manfully, but physicality and ring rust told against the team in some important sectors. Conal Sweeny and Shane Gillespie tried hard in an over-worked defence, while Nathan Boyle gave great example out around the middle of the field. Dylan Gallagher had his moments in the attack, but lacked for support at times.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Sean Taylor; Adam Clarke, Conal Sweeny, Jason Granaghan; Ryan McKenna, Shane Gillespie (0-1), Daniel Warnock; Nathan Boyle (0-3f), Shane McGrath (0-1); Tiernan Flood Dolan, Eoin Doherty (0-1), Michael McKenna; Caelan Drummond, Dylan Gallagher (0-2), Odhran McGarrigle.
Subs: Mark McGlynn for Michael McKenna 28m; Eugene Doherty for Tiernan Dolan 50m; Rory Gettins for Caelan Drummond;
Saint Eunan's
Eoin O'Boyle; Sean Halvey, Oisin Toal, Michael McGrory; Peter McEniff (1-1), Aaron Deaney (0-3), Sean Ryan; James Kelly, Darragh Toal; Brian McIntyre (0-4), Nial O'Donnell (0-2, 1f), Kevin Kealy (1-2); Eoin McGeehin (1-2), Padraig McGettigan (0-2), Conor O'Donnell Jr (0-1).
Referee: Connie Doherty (Naomh Conaill).

Last modified: Tuesday, 19 May 2020 at 10:41pm