Two goals within the space of 30 seconds turned the game in Ardara’s favour and despite a late St Michael’s fight back they hung on for a narrow victory in Dunfanaghy.
St Michael’s 0-11
In a close fought contest Ardara will be happy to have picked up the points on offer as they travelled to the Bridge in Dunfanaghy yesterday afternoon.
The home side started brightly playing with the breeze and within a minute Peter Witherow pointed from a medium range effort.
A minute later teammate Michael McGinley burst through and opted for a point when a goal chance was on.
In the seventh minute Ardara opened their account when CJ Molloy pointed after Jimmy O’Connell turned provider with a good pass.
Kevin White was unlucky not to have found the net when Ciaran Gallagher made a great save from his goal attempt.
Oisin Langan then went through on goal only to be denied by a great save from Dean Gallagher. Michael Langan stepped up and hit the resultant 45 perfectly to make it 0-3 to 0-1 in the 10th minute.
Then, within a minute, the game changed dramatically.
First, a sweeping Ardara attack won a free that was flighted in by Gareth Concarr. It was met by the leaping fist of Jimmy O’Connell and from the ricochet it was through the St Michael’s defence and into the net in the 13th minute leaving the score 0-3 to 1-1 and putting them back in the game.
St Michael’s hastily played a short kick out and Gallagher’s ball slipped through the hands of Antoin McFadden and was picked up CJ Molloy who hit the net within 30 seconds of their last goal.
This now put them in the driving seat at 2-1 to 0-3.
St Michael’s rallied and Michael Langan came close to a goal, which was well saved and stepped up to hit his second ‘45’ of the game in the 19th minute.
Martin Breslin helped close the gap with a point from play in the 25th minute.
Tomas Boyle pointed from play just ahead of half time to make it 0-5 to 2-2 at the break.
At the restart CJ Molloy pointed from play after a great gather and turn. St Michael’s had wides from Michael Langan and Ciaran Gallagher. Nine minutes into the half Antoin McFadden shifted his second heavy knock of the half and was replaced by Loran McDaid.
Concarr hit a short range free and followed it up a minute later with a long range effort that left it 2-5 to Ardara to St Michael’s 0-5.
Michael Langan then led a St Michael’s comeback when he pointed what could have been a goal. He stepped up to the mark a minute later with another perfect 45m kick.
Oisin Lanagan was black carded for a challenge on Brendan Boyle. He was replaced by Danny Langan.
Michael Langan was on the mark a minute later with a free and added another from play, linking up with Peter Witherow to leave it 0-9 to 2-5.
Gareth Concarr hit another point to keep Ardara noses in front in the 26th minute.
Keelan McGee made an impact for St Michael’s when he came on to replace Andrew Kelly late on.
His pass fed Michael Langan who fired over from play and the St Michael’s tails were up to try and salvage something from the tie.
Langan then sent a 45m kick just wide of the post.
In the last attack of the game Keelan McGee almost stole a dramatic late winner when he made a stylish run through the Ardara defence only to be denied by a full stretch finger tip save from Declan Gallagher that force the ball over the bar for a point.
St Michael’s: Ciaran Gallagher, Brendan Rodden, Stephen Black, James Alcorn, Antoin McFadden, Ciaran Gallagher, Michael Gallagher, Liam Paul Ferry, Peter Witherow(0-1), Chris McElhinney, Martin Breslin(0-1), Andrew Kelly, Oisin Langan, Michael McGinley(0-1), Michael Lanagan(0-7,4f). Subs: Lorcan McDaid for A McFadden 42m, Danny Langan for O Langan black card 51min. Keelan McGee (0-1) for A Kelly.
Ardara: Declan Gallagher, Kelvin Slowey, Kevin Byrne, Oisin O’Donnell, Michael Maloney, Paddy Gallagher, Conor Gallagher; Brendan Boyle, Jimmy O’Connell(1-0), Shane O’Donnell, Peter McHugh, Gareth Concarr(0-3,2f), Thomas Boyle(0-1), CJ Molloy(1-2), Kevin White.
Referee: Martin Coll, Gaoth Dobhair.