CJ Molloy on the ball surrounded by Leo McHugh and Sean O'Kennedy in Fintra. Photo Thomas Gallagher
In the end there was five points in but this was a very close game as Four Masters got the goals to keep their senior championship status intact.
Four Masters 4-8
A goal from the last kick of the game from Patrick Reid put a false look on the scoreboard, but it was the goals that made the difference for the winners.
They got two in the opening half but even when they wen 3-7 to 1-9 ahead with ten minutes to go, Ardara came back and for much of the last period there was just a point in it.
Kieran Breslin had Ardara on the board on 42 seconds but Four Masters were in front on three minutes. A Thomas McGowan free fell short but Leo McHugh slipped a neat pass through to Caolan Loughney to fire to the Ardara net.
Gareth Concarr pulled a point back for Ardara but Thomas McGowan landed a beauty from the ground on nine minutes.
Then Gareth Concarr took control hitting two inside three minutes to level matters. Karl Lacey came forward to ease Four Masters back in front but Concarr with two frees had Ardara back ahead on 24 minutes.
But Four Masters were on top in the final minutes. Lacey took a pass from Leo McHugh to level before Lacey became provider, slipping Kevin McBrearty in for the lead point.
Barry Dunnion made the opening for Sean O'Kennedy to increase the lead before Four Masters hit a second goal on 27 minutes. Leo McHugh had an effort for a point which dropped short and Darren Doherty was in to flash to the net. His first effort was blocked but he was able to follow up.
There was a moment of controversy as the game entered added time as a Karl Lacey effort for a point was fumbled by the 'keeper and Darren Doherty picked up the rebound and flashed the ball towards the goal from very close range. It seemed to go over the bar, but the umpire ruled it wide.
Ardara pushed John Ross Molloy forward for the second half and he was on the scoreboard after CJ Molloy won a throw-up. There were a number of small skirmishes in those opening minutes.
Josh Lacey cancelled that score at the other end before Kieran Breslin had Ardara back in the contest, getting the ball in the net after three attempts, his first two blocked by Eamon Jordan.
Kevin McBrearty, as he did on a number of occasions, thundered through to fire over but Gareth Concarr responded.
When Kevin McBrearty added a third goal it seemed Four Masters were on their way on 48 minutes. A long ball from Darren Doherty dropped short and Thomas McGowan won it on the ground for McBrearty to fire first time.
Lorcan O'Donnell had a goal chance but his effort went just over. Ardara were launching everything in high towards CJ Molloy and Brendan McNelis and it worked on 54 minutes as McNelis fielded, turned and fired home to cut the deficit to just one point.
In the closing minutes Conor Classon picked up a second yellow and CJ Molloy was lucky to escape before Sean O'Kennedy eased Four Masters two clear on 63 minutes.
Aaron McCrea was shown black before Patrick Reid sidefooted home the final goal with 36 minutes and 35 seconds on the clock.
Scorers - Four Masters: Kevin McBrearty 1-2; Caolan Loughney, Darren Doherty, Paddy Reid 1-0 each; Karl Lacey 0-2; Sean O'Kennedy 0-2, Josh Lacey, Thomas McGowan (f) 0-1 each.
Ardara: Gareth Concarr 0-6,3f; Kieran Breslin 1-1; Brendan McNelis 1-0, John Ross Molloy, Lorcan O'Donnell 0-1 each.
ARDARA: Cathal Gallagher; Oisin O'Donnell, Declan Gavigan, Joe Melly; Nicholas Maguire, John Ross Molloy, Danny Walsh; Conor Classon, CJ Molloy; Brendan McNelis, Kieran Breslin, Paul Watters; Peter McHugh, Gareth Concarr, Lorcan O'Donnell. Subs., Jack Brennan for O O'Donnell 10; Kelvin Slowey for Watters 45.
FOUR MASTERS: Eamon Jordan; Ryan O'Donnell, Dylan Kennedy, Daire Quinn; Barry Dunnion, Karl Lacey, Aaron McCrea; Leo McHugh, Kevin McBrearty; Caolan Loughney, Darren Doherty, Sean O'Kennedy; Josh Lacey, Paddy Reid, Thomas McGowan. Subs., Neil Ward for J Lacey 53; Sean Meehan for McGowan 60; John Boyle for McCrea, bcard 63
REFEREE: Jimmy White (Killybegs)