Aodh Ruadh got their intermediate championship off to a good start with a solid display to see off Downings in Father Tierney Park.
Aodh Ruadh 1-13
The visitors were heavily dependent on Lorcan Connor for scores and a defensive gameplan, but Ballyshannon’s greater physicality, athleticism and accuracy proved decisive on the day.
David McGurrin opened Aodh Ruadh’s account with a free in the second minute, David Dolan carressing over a second a minute later from a good turnover ball. Lorcan Connor hit Downings opener in the sixth minute from a routine free and levelled things up with another placed ball on ten minutes.
Kerry Ryan and Diarmaid McInerney added two more and David McGurrin hit two frees as Aodh Ruadh led 0-8 to 0-2 at the break.
Anthony Boyle and Shane McClafferty traded points while Lorcan Connor had his only point from play. Connor added another from a free but Eamon McGrath responded.
Lorcan Connor pointed a free after 44 minutes to give the visitors a glimmer of hope, but Anthony Boyle showed great fire to point before Aodh Ruadh finally got the goal they had been threatening. Johnny Gallagher surged through the Downings cover and drove a rasping lob over Conor McBride’s despairing grasp. 1-12 to 0-6 in favour of the Ernesiders and a mountain for Downings to climb.
Lorcan Connor notched another free with six left, but once again his effort was cancelled out by another powerful shot from Boyle. Connor slotted another free just before time to take his personal tally to seven.
Best for Aodh Ruadh were Ciron Whoriskey with his driving runs from deep defence, Eamonn McGrath and Conor Patton who dominated at half back. Anthony Boyle and Diarmaid McInerney who showed well in attack and hit three points from play apiece. Meanwhile Lorcan Connor lead the line manfully for Downings.
Aodh Ruadh: Peter Boyle; Ciron Whoriskey, Damien Cleary, Michael Dolan; Johnny Gallagher (1-0), Eamonn McGrath (0-1), Conor Patton (0-1); James O’Donnell, Kerry Ryan (0-1); Anthony Boyle (0-3), Ronan McGurrin, Ronan Drummond; Diarmaid McInerney (0-3), David Dolan (0-1), David McGurrin (0-3f). Subs: Colm Kelly for Michael Dolan 40m; Niall Harley for Kerry Ryan 44m; Pauric Patton for Ronan McGurrin 45m; Barry Mulligan for Pauric Patton 50m; Johnny Gethins for Anthony Boyle 56m.
Downings: Conor McBride; Seamus Gallagher, Gerard Coyle, Ben McBride; Ben McNutt, David Hay, Oisin Boyce; Sean McGinley, Shane Boyce; Andy Connor, Patrick McGroddy, Dale McFadden; Lorcan Connor (0-7, 6f), Shane McClafferty (0-1), James Lee McBride. Subs: Finnian McClafferty for Dale McFadden 22m; Colm Gallagher for Sean McGinley 43m.
Referee: Michael McShane (Kilcar)