Upright denies 
Ardara’s gallant 
second half comeback

Upright denies 
Ardara’s gallant 
second half comeback
Four inches, the width of the upright, was enough to deny a deserved equaliser in a classic championship semi-final in MacCumhaill Park.

Four inches, the width of the upright, was enough to deny a deserved equaliser in a classic championship semi-final in MacCumhaill Park.

Glenswilly1-14

Ardara0-16

Glenswilly looked well on their way to the final when they led by 1-8 to 0-6 at the interval and Ardara a shambles in the opening half.

The South-West side just couldn’t put any passage of play together and they had lost their spiritual leader Brendan Boyle to injury as well as replacing their captain, Declan Gavigan.

But whatever was said at half-time, they were transformed. Gavigan came back on to play his part and the young guns like Martin Shovlin, Peter Oliver McNelis and Brendan McNelis stepped up to the plate as Conor Classon became a focal point of their recovery.

In perfect conditions under the lights, the game turned and while Glenswilly were dominant in the opening half, it was a sea of green and white driving towards the river end.

They turned around a six point deficit with six points in eight minutes from the 44th to 52nd minute.

In the end they fell just short but, in typical Ardara style, they left everything on the pitch and it was a game that will live long in the memory.

Glenswilly know that they were lucky to escape a replay, but in fairness to them, they were magnificent in the opening half with Michael Murphy, Colin Kelly and Gary McFadden running riot.

Ardara did have the opening score, Brendan Boyle winning a free for Gareth Concarr to point on 50 seconds.

But by the fifth minute Michael Murphy had pointed two frees before Peter Oliver McNelis landed the equaliser from an impossible angle in front of the stands.

But then Glenswilly took a firm grip. They should have had a goal on six minutes when Ciaran Bonner launched a high ball forward and Colin Kelly won it easily, turned and found himself free just ten yards out but somehow he placed his effort just wide of the post.

Gary McFadden edged Glenswilly back in front after Murphy was fouled and then Murphy fielded under pressure and despite being pushed away from goal, fired over a great point.

On 11 minutes Gary McFadden went on a great run before landing the fifth point.

Ardara were beginning to creak at the back and Kenneth Doherty was re-located to look after Michael Murphy.

But the goal that was threatened, arrived on 17 minutes as Neil Gallagher started the move that saw the ball arrive in high and as Colin Kelly collected, Kevin Breslin slipped, and this time Kelly showed great composure before smashing the ball to the roof of the net.

It looked ominous for Ardara, especially as they lost Brendan Boyle with what looked like a shoulder injury.

However, they hit back with two points, one from Concarr and the other from Jimmy O’Connell, with his first touch after replacing Boyle.

Declan Gallagher did well to avert danger in the 25th minute under a high ball with Murphy looming, but Glenswilly pulled six clear by the 28th minute with Keelan McFadden and Murphy (with a magnificent free from 55m) pointing.

Back came Ardara in added time with Peter Oliver McNelis and Jimmy O’Connell before Michael Murphy won and pointed a soft free on 33 minutes to leave it 1-8 to 0-6 at the interval.

When Gary McFadden (55 secs) and Eamon Ward (35) added to Glenswilly’s tally, it looked a long way back for Ardara.

But within minutes Ciaran Breslin and Concarr (free) had reduced the margin.

Ciaran Bonner increased it again to six with 20 minutes left, and it was still six when Concarr and Gary McFadden traded points.

Then came the magnificent period when Jimmy O’Connell, Brendan McNelis with three on the trot, Martin Shovlin and Brendan McNelis again had the sides level with 52 minutes gone. McNelis was magnificent in this period, one of his points rivalling Murphy’s in the opening half.

It seemed as if the game took another twist when Neil Gallagher found Gary McFadden to point and Colin Kelly found the range from near the sideline with two minutes of normal time left.

Ardara refused to give in and Peter McNelis was denied a goal by a great block by Eamon Ward before Gareth Concarr reduced the margin to the minimum in the second minute of added time.

Ardara had time for one more attack but were left deflated when Peter McNelis’s effort deflected wide off the post.

Glenswilly: Philip O’Donnell; Brian McDaid, James Pat McDaid, Aidan McDevitt; Ruairi Crawford, Eamon Ward (0-1), Caolan Kelly; Neil Gallagher, Ciaran Bonner (0-1); Joe Gibbons, Keelan McFadden (0-1), Gary McFadden (0-5,3f); Darren McGinley, Michael Murphy (0-5,4f), Colin Kelly (1-1). Subs., Brian Farrelly for D McGinley 35; John McFadden for K McFadden 49

Ardara: Declan Gallagher; Shaun McLaughlin, Declan Gavigan, Kevin Breslin; Ruairi Patrick Gallagher, Kevin Herron, Ciaran Breslin (0-1); Kenneth Doherty, Brendan Boyle; Brendan McNelis (0-4,2f), Conor Classon, Martin Shovlin (0-1); Noel Gallagher, Gareth Concarr (0-5,5f), Peter O McNelis (0-2). Subs., Stephen McHugh for Gavigan 17; Jimmy O’Connell (0-3) for Boyle 22; Declan Gavigan for P Gallagher ht

Referee: Seamus McGonagle (Aodh Ruadh)