Lorcan O'Donnell . . . magnificent for Ardara in final quarter
Lazarus, Houdini and Dick Turpin are alive and well in Ardara as Lorcan hit seven magnificent points in the second half to make sure they remain in senior championship football.
But it looked decidedly dicey for the winners with 12 minutes to go as they trailed by 3-6 to 1-3 after 38 minutes.
But from there to the finish, Ardara went on all-out attack with the brilliant O’Donnell landing seven points in the last quarter as Ardara showed all the pride of a club that has been in senior championship football for generations.
Super sub Stefan Boyle, who joined his uncle Brendan in the team, landed two crucial points to guide the men from the south-west home.
Shell-shocked Malin could only manage one more point from a Christy McLaughlin free as the green and gold were saluted loudly by their fans as the floodlights went out on Convoy.
But the happy fans did not mind the dark to much as they saluted their heroes.
Malin were understandably gutted having led for most of the game, albeit thanks to three fairly soft goals, two from corner-forward Josh Conlon and the third from Paul McLaughlin.
The first two in the opening ten minutes were as a result of unfortunate errors by Ardara keeper Ciaran Gildea and the third one spilled through Brendan Boyle’s hands in the 38th minute.
But there was a strong element of good fortune about Ardara’s second goal in the 50th minute when sub Danny Walsh carried the ball deep into the Malin half before it eventually went over the line to signal a spirited comeback.
Walsh’s scrambled strike left the score at Ardara 2-8, Malin 3-6.
Suddenly there was only a point between the sides.
To their credit, Malin responded and Christy McLaughlin converted a free.
But the momentum was with Ardara and they scored another six points courtesy of the brilliant O’Donnell and Stefan Boyle to seal a memorable victory.
The game got off to a rousing start with three goals in just under ten minutes.
Paul McLaughlin got the visitors off the mark when he pointed a free in the second minute.
But then Ardara were hit with two freak goals in a matter of five minutes.
A high ball from Dan McDaid was fumbled by Ardara keeper and Josh Conlon managed to shovel the ball over the line at 1-1 to 0-1.
But 60 seconds later, Ardara struck back like a rattlesnake when a lightning move ended with Robbie Adair feeding a ball across the square and Johnny Herron batted the ball to the net to leave the score at Malin 1-1 Ardara 1-1.
That score spurred on a lively looking Malin side who had further points from Christy and Paul McLaughlin to leave them ahead by 2-5 to 1-2 at the break.
And it looked like they were cruising until that final memorable surge from Ardara that keeps them in senior championship football for another year.
ARDARA: Ciaran Gildea; Declan Gavigan, Matthew Maher, Joe Melley; Lorcan O’Donnell (0-7), J R Molloy (0-2), Johnny Herron (1-0); Conor Classon, Robbie Adair; Paul Watters (0-1,f), Tomas Boyle, Kevin Whyte; Gareth Concarr (0-1), Brendan Boyle, Johnny Sweeney (0-1). Subs: Danny Walsh for Kevin Whyte ht; Stefan Boyle (0-2) for Paul Watters 40.
MALIN: Darren McLaughlin; Conor McColgan, Conor Farren, Charlie Byrne; Stephen McLaughlin, Damian Harkin, Sean Byrne; Conor Doherty, Kieran McColgan, Oisin McColgan. Christy McLaughlin (0-3), Dan McDaid (0-1); Sean O’Neill, Paul McLaughlin (1-4,4f), Josh Colgan (2-0).
REFEREE Val Murray (Aodh Ruadh)