Niall O’Donnell turned in a five-star performance as St Eunan’s overcame Aodh Ruadh in Convoy, on Saturday night.
St Eunan’s 0-14
Aodh Ruadh 0-7
O’Donnell, who is a minor again next year, scored nine points and was the difference between the sides in what was an evenly contested minor championship semi-final that was pretty close for up to three quarters of the tie.
It was only in the closing quarter that the winners finally stamped their superiority on the tie as they posted eight points without response from Aodh Ruadh.
But this was not before the boys from O’Donnell Park were given a run for their money. Aodh Ruadh led by three points at the end of the first quarter hour and were only two points down at half-time after playing into a stiff breeze.
While St Eunan’s had O’Donnell and were physically stronger and better balanced, it could have been a lot closer at the end if Nathan Boyle had converted from the penalty spot with four minutes of normal time remaining.
Boyle drove wide of Matthew Gallagher’s right hand post after Oisin Rooney had been fouled. Aodh Ruadh may have been a little lucky to have been awarded the spot kick as Rooney seemed to be fouled well outside the rectangle and his momentum carried him into the penalty area.
If converted,the penalty would have tied up the game at 1-7 to 0-10 and would have set up an interesting finish.
But off the hook, St Eunan’s, who were the better side in the second period, pulled away with four late points, three of them in the four minutes of injury time played.
There was further misery for Aodh Ruadh five minutes from the end when Ryan McKenna was shown a straight red card. McKenna was singled out after a scuffle involving a number of players from both sides.
St Eunan’s led by two points, 0-7 to 0-5 at half time. O’Donnell posted four of St Eunan’s first half points while Kealey, Carr - from a ‘45 -and Ciaran Maloney, posted the other three.
Gareth Sheerin, Nathan Boyle, Philip Patton (2) and Caélan Drummond scored for Aodh Ruadh, who led 0-5 to 0-2 after 15 minutes and were the better side in the opening quarter hour.
Philip Patton and Shane McGrath’s direct running style caused St Eunan’s all kinds of problems in the early exchanges while the Aodh Ruadh last line of defence of Jason Granaghan and Caélan Drummond were rock solid and gave very little away.
Patton and Rooney raised white flags on the resumption to tie up the game at 0-7 each. But Rooney’s well struck point on 37 minutes was Aodh Ruadh’s last score as O’Donnell and company took control.
St Eunan’s: M Gallagher; C Moore, D McWalter, S Halvey; B McIntyre, D Toal, K Kealey (0-1); O Toal, K Grant; C Maloney (0-1), N O’Donnell (0-9, 1f), P McAleer; O McGinley, R Carr (0-2, 1 ‘45, 1f),J Whelan. Subs: C Kelly (0-1) for P McAleer (23); O O’Boyle for J Whelan (58).
Aodh Ruadh: S Taylor; J Granaghan, C O’Halloran, C Drummond (0-1); C McGloin, C Sweeny, D Warnock; Nathan Boyle (0-1), O Rooney (0-1); P Patton (0-3, 2f), O Roper, S McGrath; G Sheerin (0-1), J Gallagher, R McKenna. Subs: D Gallagher for J Gallagher (33); C Kennedy for G Sheerin (42).
Referee: L McConigley (Downings).