Aodh Ruadh have something to crow about again following their Division One Minor Football League final victory over Cloughaneely,in Convoy, on Saturday.
Aodh Ruadh 0-14
The victory, the club’s first in over two decades at minor grade, was thoroughly deserved and is a major shot in the arm to the game on the banks of the Erne after a number of lean years for what is one of Donegal’s most decorated clubs.
The only surprise at the finish was that just six points separated them and Cloughaneely.
The statistic of 14 scores to four is probably a more accurate reflection of the winners’ superiority against a Cloughaneely outfit that only played in fits and starts.
The champions led by three points at half-time having more or less totally dominated the opening 30 minutes. This was due in no small way to the dominance around the middle third of the field of Eamon McGrath, Colm Kelly, Kieran Keown and Niall Harley. The half-back line of Kelly, McGrath and Keown were especially impressive in the opening half and were the launching pad for the success.
And with target man David McGurrin in inspired form in front of the posts, Aodh Ruadh, despite conceding two goals, had a look of winners from a long way out.
McGurrin posted his team’s opening three points. His third white flag on nine minutes tied up the game after Jack Mulhern, against the run of play, had flicked Cloughaneely’s first goal seven minutes in.
But with Kelly, McGrath, Keown and Harley dictating and Michael McNeely, Pauric Patton, James Kelly, along with McGurrin making their presence felt, Aodh Ruadh had moved 0-5 to 1-0 clear by the end of the first quarter. McGrath and McNeely scored the points before the winners shot four bad wides to leave the door open.
Eamon McHugh did narrow the gap with a fine point six minutes before the break after Shaun McClafferty seconds earlier pulled off a point blank save from Pauric Patton.
But with McGurrin flicking a Patton shot that dropped short over and James Kelly pointing from long range Aodh Ruadh were three ahead going in at the break.
The lead was out to four within a minute of the restart courtesy of McGurrin, before Coll struck for Cloughaneely’s second goal to leave just one between the sides once more.
Coll drove to the net after Cillian Gallagher was denied by the crossbar.
That was on 34 minutes, but with McGurrin responding with two quick points, Aodh Ruadh were three in front again and once more had established their grip on the game.
While John Harley landed a massive long ranger for Cloughaneely, the Fr. Tierney Park boys continued to dominate and keep the scoreboard ticking. And they closed out the game with two McGurrin specials and one each from Michael McNeely and team captain Ryan Granaghan.
Aodh Ruadh: Daniel Kelly; Thomas Anderson, Ryan Patton, P.J.Gillespie; Colm Kelly, Eamon McGrath (0-1), Ciaran Keown; Darren Gethins, Niall Harley; Micheal McNeely (0-2), Ryan Granaghan (0-1), James Barron; Pauric Patton (0-1), David McGurrin (0-8,4f), James Kelly (0-1). Subs: Alan Finan for J. Barron (36); Matthew Maguire for P.J.Gillespie (53); Philip Patton for T. Anderson; Pauric Storey for M. McNeely; Callum O’Halloran for J. Kelly (all 61).
Cloughaneely: Shaun McClafferty; Ciaran Ferry, Cian McFadden, Donal Scott; Eamon McHugh (0-1), Martin Ferry, Daniel Roarty; Jack Mulhern (1-0), Lee O’Brien; James Coll (1-0), John McGarvey, Shane Ferry; Ciaran McGeady, John Harley (0-1), Cillian Gallagher. Subs: Eamon Sweeney for E. McHugh (58); Gerard Brady for J. Coll (59).
Referee: Ian Molloy (N Conail).
Man of the Match
David McGurrin kicked eight points, four in the first half and four of his total from play as he proved a great target man for the winners in what was a true man of the match performance.
Two McGurrin points on 43 and 45 minutes restored a three point advantage after James Coll had struck for Cloughaneely’s second goal and ultimately set the Ernesiders on their way.
Ian Molloy let the game flow and dealt effectively and sensibly with a number of minor flash points in the second half by quickly flashing yellow cards.