Gareth Concarr went from zero to hero once again for Ardara as he helped his side retain their senior championship status with victory over Killybegs.
ARDARA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-9
KILLYBEGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-5
After missing a last minute penalty against Dungloe in the last championship outing, which deprived his side of a quarter-final place.
Unfortunately for him, Ciaran Sharkey guessed the right way and palmed the ball away to safety and, instead of looking forward to a last eight tie this weekend, they were thrown into the mine-field that is the relegation play-offs and a game with neighbours Killybes.
In the opening seconds of the second half of that play-off game, with the score-line delicately poised 0-04 to 0-02 in Ardara's favour, Concarr was bundled to the ground as he closed down on goal.
While it took him a few seconds to get back to his feet he quickly let everyone know that he was taking the spot kick which he duly dispatched into the top of Antoine O'Hara's net. And that was that.
The score put Ardara five ahead (1-04 to 0-02) and with Killybegs far too reliant on Hugh McFadden for scores (he contributed all bar a goal of their scores) Seamus Gallagher's men easily retained their Senior Championship status.
Killybegs though still have a second chance to avoid the drop down to Intermediate football when they play Glenfin in the relegation play-off final.
In a low scoring first half, Killybegs were restricted to just two scores – coming courtesy of McFadden frees - as both sides struggled to come to terms with the soggy conditions. The net result was a poor spectacle with players unable to find their feet on very soft underfoot conditions.
McFadden also went close to a first half goal but his punched effort drifted wide on 28 minutes.
Almost immediately, Ardara broke clear at the other end and Tomas Boyle's pass found CJ Molloy in space and his shot went over via the upright to put Seamus Gallagher's team 4-1 ahead.
Ardara opened the scoring through Lorcan O'Donnell inside the opening minute and when Brendan McNelis split the uprights from a long range free they led by two.
It was 3-0 when Tomas Boyle fisted over on 14 minutes. McFadden (free) and Molloy traded scores before McFadden's injury time free left it 0-04 to 0-02 in favour of Ardara at the short whistle.
Concarr's penalty gave Ardara some breathing space before Concarr (free) and Ryan Malley traded points with McFadden (1 free).
A Brendan McNelis score from play together with scores from Concar (free) and Melly put Ardara eight clear only for Christopher Murrin to respond with a fine individual goal for the Fishermen.
A late 'all in' row which saw Killybegs reduced to fourteen men – Murrin picking up a second yellow – and another McFadden free meant that the final winning margin was reduced to four but it was more than enough for the victors.