The Eamonn Byrne Memorial Tournament was held last Saturday with Na Cealla Beaga playing Aodh Ruadh on Pairc Eamonn O Beirne, which was named in honour of the late Eamonn, who tragically passed away during a senior league fixture between these two teams in Fr. Tierney Park early in 1988, 25 years ago this year.
Na Cealla Beaga 1-20
Aodh Ruadh 3-8
In an entertaining and high scoring match, the home side claimed the honours thanks mainly to first class displays from Daniel Breslin, Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Daniel O’Donnell assisted by Hugh McFadden and Brendan McGuire up front, who always posed a significant threat to the visitors’ goal.
From the throw-in, Killybegs pushed into a strong breeze attacking the Aodh Ruadh goal with Hugh McFadden proving particularly hard to handle for the young Ballyshannon defence. Points from McFadden (4), Brendan McGuire (2) and Christopher Murrin gave the Fishermen an early platform but a brace of long distance frees from the accurate boot of the Ernesiders net minder Peter Boyle kept his side in touch. Added to this a fine counter attacking move from Ballyshannon lead to Damien Cleary breaking thought the Killybegs defence before he shot high into the net past the despairing dive of Michael Mullin to put the Erne men into the lead and leave the halftime score 0-7 to 1-5
Half-time Na Cealla Beaga 0-7 Aodh Ruadh 1-5
Playing with the breeze Killybegs played the ball long into Hugh McFadden on the edge of the square and his ball winning qualities were causing Ballyshannon lots of difficulties but the youthful Aodh Ruadh team’s speedy counter attacks caught out the over stretch home defence with numerous breakouts resulting in a fine Johnnny Gethins goal. Killybegs picked of points from Ryan McCloskey (2), McFadden (3) and Mathew Smyth but Aodh Ruadh did not give up and another goal for Damien Cleary, Aodh Ruadh’s third of the match set up an exciting finish. But this mini comeback was all but extinguished when Mark Boyle pounced to slam the ball home from a deflected Brendan McGuire shot on goal that was initially well saved by Peter Boyle in the Ballyshannon goals. Further points from the impressive Gethins and Ronan Drumond closed the gap a little before veteran Peter McGinley, introduced as a 59th minute substitute, rounded of the home team’s victory with an expertly taken point from all of 10 yards. Following the final whistle the late Eamonn’s grandson Nathan Byrne presented the cup to Killybegs captain Pauric “Smackers” Gallagher.
Na Cealla Beaga: Michael Mullin, Niall Carbery, Daniel O’Donnell, Gavin Boyle, Christopher Murrin (0-3), Ryan McCloskey (0-2), Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Daniel Breslin, Jon Ban Gallagher, Mathew Smyth (0-1), Pauric Gallagher (0-1), Brendan McGuire (0-4), Hugh Mc Fadden (0-8. 2f), Mark Boyle (1-0), Charles Tully, Peter McGinley (0-1)
Aodh Ruadh: iPeter Boyle (0-4, 4f), Niall Harley, Michael Ward, Eddie Lynch, Eamonn McGrath, Anthony Boyle (0-1), Ruari Drummond, Ronan Mc Gurrin (0-1), Conor Patton, Ronan Drumond (0-1), Niall Murray, Johnny Gethins (1-2), James Barron, Damien Cleary (2-0), Jamie McDonald, James O’Donnell.
Referee: Michael Mc Shane (Cill Chartha).