DONEGAL GAA - CHAMPIONSHIP RELEGATION PLAY-OFF

ARDARA V NAOMH MUIRE: Goal blitz ensures Ardara keep their senior championship status in Donegal

Gerry McLaughlin

Reporter:

Gerry McLaughlin

ARDARA V NAOMH MUIRE:  Goal blitz ensures Ardara keep their senior championship status in Donegal


Three killer goals in the space of five minutes ensured that favourites Ardara would be playing senior championship football in the county next year.

Ardara 5-14
Naomh Muire 1-9

Burly full-forward C J Molloy began the rout with a superb rocket to the net in the 20th minute.
What was even more interesting was the fact that both Brian Gillespie and Paddy McCafferty tackled him heavily at the time.
But Molloy showed tremendous strength and composure a he shrugged off their considerable combined attentions to hit a rasper to the roof of the net.
And, talented corner forward Lorcan O’Donnell added another, two minutes later, after a defence splitting move, while busting midfielder Conor Classon grabbed the fourth in the 25th minute.
It was a pulverizing period for the Naomh Muire men who suddenly found they were trailing by a stunning 4-6 to 1-3 and this match was effectively over.
Ardara won because, they used their vast edge in power and panache against a smaller, lighter Gaeltacht side that relied on sporadic breakaway raids for inspiration.
In contrast Adrian Brennan’s men played like a team with loads of annoyance at the manner in which they surrendered a healthy lead in the drawn encounter.
It took a goal and a point in the 63rd and 64th minutes of extra time to pull off a dramatic draw for the Gaeltacht men.
But there was not the slightest chance of there being any sort of repeat as a highly focused Ardara set about establishing sustained dominance.
Conor Classon quickly set the tone for this affair with a strong surge through the middle as he played a one two and then struck a fine left footed point after just 12 seconds.
That set the tone for total dominance from the men from the south- west who were determined there would be no slip- ups on this occasion.
CJ Molloy struck for their first goal after just five minutes. Big Brendan McNelis’s attempt at a point dropped short. C J Molloy got possession and walked the ball into the net.
Points from CJ and centre back Tony Harkin pushed the winners into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead after eight minutes played.
Naomh Muire then had a mini revival when marksman Harry Harden got them off the mark from a 40 metre free in the 9th minute.
It got even better for Owenie McGarvey’s men in the 10th minute when clever play between Harden and corner forward Tom McHugh who fisted the ball across the square for young Ultan Boyle to palm the ball to the empty net.
That clever finish narrowed the gap to 1-3 to 1-1.
But that was as good as it got for the hapless losers as Ardara proceeded to carry out a clinical demolition job.
They put Nicholas Maguire as a sweeper in front of McHugh and Naomh Muire’s attack force looked very blunt.
John Ross Molloy was very prominent for the winners in this half while young Lorcan O’Donnell was very impressive also.
Aidy O’Gara tried hard to stem the inexorable green and gold tide.
Ardara were well worth their half-time lead of 4-9 to 1-3.
And it took the losers a full 25 minutes to get their next score as the second half turned into a gentle canter for Ardara.
CJ Molloy added to their tally with the first point of the second half.
A badly outgunned Naomh Muire got their first point of this half from the boot of Ultan Boyle in the 40th minute.
They hit five more points as the game came to a desultory end.
Ardara added a fifth goal when Lorcan O’Donnell went on an old fashioned 50 metre solo run, played a one two with Paul Watters and tapped home to the net.
It was game over, and a thoroughly deserved victory for Ardara who showed that stung pride is often a sure sauce.

ARDARA: Cathal Gallagher, Joe Melly, Declan Gavigan, Kelvin Slowey; Nicholas Maguire, Tony Harkin (0-1), Oisin O’Donnell; Conor Classon (1-1), J R Molloy (0-2); Brendan McNelis, Peter McHugh, Paul Watters (0-1); Gareth Concarr (0-1,f) C J Molloy (2-3,2f) Lorcan O’Donnell (2-4). Subs., Brendan Boyle (0-1) for Brendan McNelis (40), Daniel Breslin for Oisin O’Donnell (49). Shane O’Donnell for Gareth Concarr (52),
NAOMH MUIRE: Thomas Duffy, Patrick Rodgers, Brian Gillespie, Robert O’Donnell; Paddy McCafferty, Aidy O’Gara, Daniel Gallagher (0-1); Hugh Martin, Adam O’Brien (0-1); Ultan Boyle (1-2), Darragh White (0-2) Jack Boyle; Harry Harden (0-2), Tom McHugh, Sean Burns. Subs., Darren Gallagher for Tom McHugh (b-card) Patrick Gillespie for Aidy O’Gara (ht) Daniel Devlin (0-1) for Sean Burns (h-time), Jamie McGee for Jack Boyle, Jack Boyle for Brian Gillespie (51)
REFEREE: Shaun McLaughlin (Malin)