Aodh Ruadh got their intermediate championship ambitions off to the ideal start with a two goal victory over Buncrana.
Aodh Ruadh 2-8
Naomh Bríd 0-8
The hosts were worth their win, but they were made to work all the way for it by a committed and driven Inishowen outfit, who sprang Darach O’Connor for a second half surge.
Confined to two points in the first half, the visitors came back strong in a wind assisted second only to fall short as Aodh Ruadh hit for a power-packed finish.
Aodh Ruadh got off to the perfect start after 58 seconds with Barry Mulligan pointing but John Campbell levelled. There was little between the sides in the opening quarter but Aodh pulled away in the second quarter to hit 1-2. The goal came from Shane McGrath in the 22nd minute with a power shot and by half-time, they were 1-7 to 0-2 ahead, including the score of the half from Nathan Boyle, who was recently called in to the Donegal minor panel.
With the breeze Buncrana were on the front foot with Campbell and Oisin Doherty reducing the margin to three after 43 minutes. Oisin Doherty further reduced the margin, but Aodh Ruadh hit back with point from Shane McGrath and a clinching goal from Johnny Gethins.
Best for the hosts were Eamonn McGrath in defence, deputising for Damien Cleary, with Nathan Boyle and Cookie O’Halloran also distinguishing themselves in a hard working shift. Johnny Gethins increasingly dominated in the second half and helped Ballyshannon over the line. Up front Diarmaid McInerney’s fine form this season continued undimmed with another effective 60 minutes. Shane McGrath finished with 1-2 and had a particularly fine first half while Sticky Ward soldiered well in the solo role up front.
Buncrana’s Peter McLoughlin proved one of their more effective operators out around the middle of the park, and while Odhran Doherty’s radar was off in the first half, he more than made up for that with a clinical second half.
Aodh Ruadh: Peter Boyle; Michael Dolan, Eamonn McGrath, Calum ‘Cookie’ O’Halloran; Nathan Boyle (0-1), Niall Harley, Ronan Drummond; Kerry Ryan, Johnny Gethins (1-0); Barry Mulligan (0-1), Diarmaid McInerney (0-3, 2f), Shane McGrath (1-2); Philip Patton, Michael ‘Sticky’ Ward (0-2), David McGurrin. Sub Niall Murray for Kerry Ryan 50m.
Buncrana: Eoghan O’Doherty; Jack O’Loughlin, Simon Cuffe, Conor Grant; Shane McLaughlin, Stephen Doherty, Kevin O’Loughlin; John Campbell (0-2f), Caolan McGonagle; Adrian Doherty, Odhran Doherty (0-4f), Joseph McGrory; Oisín O’Flaherty, Peter McLoughlin, Oisín Doherty (0-2). Sub: Darach O’Connor for Kevin O’Loughlin HT.