GAA

Aodh Ruadh denied victory as St Eunan's battle for a hard earned draw in Ballyshannon

Michael Daly

Reporter:

Michael Daly

Email:

michael.daly@donegaldemocrat.com

Aodh Ruadh  denied victory as St Eunan's battle for a hard earned draw in Ballyshannon

Johnny Gethins gets a pass away with Conor O'Donnell close by Photo Thomas Gallagher

League Division One

Aodh Ruadh 1-9

St Eunan's 0-12

A very exciting finish at Fr Tierney Park saw visitors St Eunan's snatch a draw in added time - ironically from their only score from a free.

In sweltering heat it was far from perfect but it was entertaining and a few older hearts fluttered to see these two old foes take the field in opposition again. St Eunan's were without as many as five top class inter county players, Aodh Ruadh had few of that calibre missing, but the pace of Nathan Boyle, who is on holidays, in the cauldron on The Rock, might have helped as the game reached its climax.

Aodh Ruadh, who seem to be specialising in drawing games (this is their fourth) should have won this one, but they still have to perfect that rare skill of closing out a lead - they are getting closer to that all the time. Late in the game they squandered chances and blasted for a goal which was well smothered by Eunan's keeper Eoghan O'Boyle. In hindsight a point would have been enough from that chance.

Aodh Ruadh struggled in the opening quarter, but kept the scoring tight. Conor Gibbons was the star man in the opening salvos. Diarmaid McInerney on 21 minutes, brought Aodh Ruadh level 0-4 each. McInerney had a good first half, he was the sole scorer for Aodh Ruadh in the first half until Peter Boyle stepped up to point a 55 metre free and give the home side the lead 0-6 to 0-5 at half time.

The second half was a tight tussle, fair but hard and in sweltering heat with Jimmy White's whistle rarely heard as the two sides got on with it. Conor O'Donnell on 34 and 44 minutes pointed either side of another score from Aodh Ruadh keeper Peter Boyle, his second, this one from a 45.

This set us up for a tasty final 16 minutes. Darren Drummond, who spent five years in Perth playing full forward for Western Shamrocks, still has those attacking instincts and when he turned up at the end of a beautiful move started by Shane McGrath and Philip Patton he was certain to hit the net. That goal put Aodh Ruadh two up, 1-7 to 0-8 and then Aodh Ruadh were 'Dunne' - Conal Dunne - that is.

In a magnificent cameo, Dunne, who came in as a sub, scored three top class right footed points in a row to steady St Eunan's and the sides were level again 1-8 to 0-11 with six minutes left.

David Chuckles McGurrin pointed Aodh Ruadh ahead and with Rory Kavanagh now roving well away from his full forward berth to shape things up a bit, the Cathedral town boys built a smart score to level, Conor Gibbons, fittingly, the man to hit the point to give his side a draw.

An enjoyable game, Aodh Ruadh, not for the first time this season, will feel they should have taken all two points, but credit the visitors too for keeping their heads and salvaging a point.

For St Eunan's Conor O'Donnell at midfield, Conor Gibbons and the clever sub Dunne stood out, for Aodh Ruadh sterling performances from many, gold from Kelly, McInerney, Drummond and Cleary.

AODH RUADH: Peter Boyle (0-2, f, '45'); Johnny Gallagher, Eamonn McGrath, Colm Kelly; Johnny Gettins, Darren Drummond (1-0), Eddie Lynch; Damien Cleary, Oisin Rooney; Philip Patton, Diarmaid McInerney (0-6, 2f), Conor Patton; Aiden Murray, Shane McGrath, David Dolan. Subs: Jason Granaghan for J Gallagher 15 inj; David McGurrin (0-1) for D Dolan 40; Cian Dolan for Murray 44; David Dolan for McInerney 55.


ST EUNAN'S: Eoin O'Boyle; Anthony Gallagher, Conor Parke, Ciaran McCloskey; Aaron Deeney, John Hensey, Darragh Toal; Darragh Mulgrew, Conor O'Donnell 0-2; Niall Hannigan, Ross Wherity, Conor Gibbons 0-4 (1f); Conor O'Donnell, Rory Kavanagh (0-1), Rory Carr (0-1). Subs: Lee McMonagle (0-1) for Rory Carr ht; Conall Dunne (0-3) for Hannigan 43; Brian McIntyre for Toal 50.


REFEREE: Jimmy White (Killybegs)