Naomh Conail sent out a signal to the county with an impressive display against Ardara in this Divisoin One game at Pearse Park on Friday night.
Naomh Conaill 1-10
Report: Peter Campbell
Photos: Thomas Gallagher
In front of a huge crowd, the final scoreline did not flatter the visitors, as they overcame the table toppers to take their place at the summit of the league.
Their defence was impeccable and it laid the foundation for the win. All six defenders were on top and on many occasions they were the launch pad for many attacks.
The only real entertainment on the night for the neutrals (and there were plenty of those) was the battle between Paddy McGrath and Leon Thompson. McGrath was by far Ardara’s best performer but the fact that the contest ended even underlines how well Thompson performed and he must be close to a call-up for county duty.
Ardara did get the opening point, a Gareth Concarr pointed free after Kieran Breslin (who was lively early on) was fouled. But they never really had he penetration to do much damage after that. Another Concarr free was all they could muster in the opening half as Dermot Molloy hit two great points and before half time Eoin Waide hit a peach of a pass to Marty Boyle. When his effort hit the crossbar, Anthony Thompson was following up to find the net and a 1-5 to 0-2 half-time lead. Five minutes before that Declan Gallagher had to pull off a very brave save to deny Darragh Gallagher.
Marty Boyle and Gareth Concarr traded points early in the second half but four unanswered points from Johnny McLoone, Anthony Thompson, Leo McLoone and Leon Thompson (after a great run) ended the game with still ten minutes left.
Thompson also broke clear to fire just wide of the posts as the blue and white kept driving forward.
That Gareth Concarr was the only Ardara player to score tells a story while Naomh Conaill had seven different scorers.
What was interesting about the contest was the lack of passion in such a fierce local derby. Referee Kieran McShea was on top of things fom early on, flashing a yellow at Martin Regan after an early incident and thereafter the players concentrated on football.
Ardara: D Gallagher; K Doherty, D Gavigan, Kevin Breslin; O O’Donnell, P McGrath, N Maguire; S Boyle, K Byrne; P McNelis, C Classon, Kieran Breslin; M Maloney, G Concarr (0-5,3f), D Diver. Subs., N Breslin for O’Donnell; P McHugh for Diver, both ht; N Campbell for Doherty 57.
Naomh Conaill: S McGrath; S Molloy, J Bonner, J Campbell; E Waide, T Donohoe, A Thompson (1-1); M Regan, AJ Gallagher; D Molloy (0-3,1f), S Corcoran, M Boyle (0-1); D Gallagher (0-1,f), J McLoone (0-1), L Thompson (0-2). Subs., L McLoone (0-1) for AJ Gallagher 41; C Ellis for M Boyle 45; J O’Malley for Corcoran 52; B McDyre for L Thompson, J Doherty for Waide, both 57.
Referee: K McShea (MacCumhaill’s)