Ardara produced a strong finish to win the first semi-final as they came from behind against a lively Milford, at a wet and windy Davy Brennan Memorial Park.
Ardara . . . . . . . . . . . 0-15
Milford . . . . . . . . . . . 0-9
Ardara’s greater craft and big time experience proved the difference in the end against a brave Milford, who did not look out of place in their first senior Gaeltacht semi-final.
They just lacked the cuteness and sharpness of their opponents up front, who had the ability to put them away when the game was in the melting pot.
Milford played with the wind and the rain in the first half and were ahead by a single point, 0-6 to 0-5, at half-time and on general play deserved to be further ahead but were guilty of some wayward shooting.
Darragh and Kyle Black, two points each; Gary Merritt and Luke Barrett scored the first half Milford points. Danny O’Donnell’s charges also missed a number of good scoring chances.
Tomas Boyle (2), Jimmy O’Connelll, John Herron and Peter McHugh posted the Ardara points, on a day that Ardara had ten different scorers over the 60 minutes.
The sides were level twice in the early minutes of the second half with Declan Gavigan, who operated around midfield for most of the game, posting two points within eight minutes of the resumption.
In between, Pauric Curley opened Milford’s second half account with a fine point on 36 minutes.
Tomás Boyle edged Ardara into the lead for the first time on ten minutes, a lead they never surrendered.
C J Molloy, with a brilliant strike off his left, made it a two point game shortly after and while Luke Barrett pulled one back, the Ardara machine clicked into gear. Peter McHugh Johnny and Kevin Herron, Gareth Concarr, Ryan Malley and Kenneth Doherty all landed points to close out the game.
Christopher Barrett scored late on for Milford’s only point of the final quarter.
Ardara: Cathal Gallagher; Oisin O’Donnell, Declan Gavigan (0-2), Joe Melly; Nicholas Maguire, Johnny Herron (0-2), Kevin Herron (0-1); Jimmy O’Connell (0-1), CJ Molloy (0-1); Lorcan O’Donnell, Ryan Malley (0-1), Peter McHugh (0-2); Jack Brennan, Gareth Concarr (0-1), Tomas Boyle (0-3,2f). Subs: Kenneth Doherty (0-1) for Melly (38 mins), Aaron Bennett for Boyle (51 mins), Kelvin Slowey for O’Donnell (57 mins)
Milford: Sean Gallagher; Kieran Sheridan, Barry McNulty, TJ Evesson; Gary Merritt (0-1,1f), Sean Black, PJ Hagan; Joey Cullen, Luke Barrett (0-2); Christopher Barrett (0-1), Pauric Curley (0-1), Darragh Black (0-2); David Curley, Kyle Black (0-2), Paddy Peoples. Subs: Jonny Logue for Sheridan (half-time), Brandon Toye for Cullen (46 mins), Dean Burgess and Cormac Toland for D.Black and D.Curley (55 mins), Cormac Friel for Merritt (60 mins)
Referee: Enda McFeely (Convoy)
Downings completed the Junior final line up with a three point victory over Na Rossa in a hard fought second semi-final.
Na Rossa 1-8
Gary ‘Ban’ McClafferty scored a goal and six points in a man of the match performance for the reigning champions.
Downings scored both of the goals in the first half. Ben McBride netted the second after Na Rossa, who played with the wind and rain, had raced into an early 0-5 to 0-1 lead inside 13 minutes.
McBride hit the first Downings goal on 18 minutes but Na Rossa were 1-7 to 1-1 up by the 23rd minute. John Paul McCready banged home the goal.
But a goal and two points from McClafferty meant that there was just a point in it at the break as Na Rossa led 1-7 to 2-3.
Na Rossa only scored once more in the second period as Downings, with the wind in their backs, hit five points with two from Colin Gallagher and three from Gary Ban.
Downings: Sean McGroddy; Max Davis, David Hay, James Gallagher; Barry Trearty, Brian McGinley, Marty McLaughlin; Oisin Boyce, James Lee McBride; Ben McBride (1-0), Finian McClafferty, Alan Pasoma; Shay Boyce, Gary Ban McClafferty (1-6, 1-4 f), Sean McBride. Subs: Colin Gallagher (0-2) for S Boyce (h/t); Lorcan Connor for B Trearty (47); Naoise Cullen for S Gallagher (56).
NA Rossa: Pat Hanlon; Jamie McCready, John McDyre, Daniel M Melly; Ryan Breslin, Cormac McHugh, Conor Melly;, Christian Bonner, Donal Trimble; Conor McCahil (0-1)l, John Paul McCready (1-4m4f), Adam McHugh; Conor Bonner, John Breslin, Odhran Molloy (0-3). Subs: Gerard Breslin for C Melly (43);Peter Gallagher for D M Melly (50); Aaron Boyle for C McHugh (55, inj);
Referee: Kevin McGinley (Naomh Columba).