Naomh Bríd proved a right handful at times, but by and large Aodh Ruadh were well worth this seven point victory in Father Tierney Park.
Aodh Ruadh . . . . . . 2-12
Naomh Bríd . . . . . . . 1-8
The visitors enjoyed their best periods of play over the first 30. However, they could only add four points in the second half as Aodh Ruadh tightend up and when David McGurrin found the net at the three-quarter mark the writing was on the wall for the Páirc Naomh Bríd outfit.
The first half started with Aodh Ruadh dominating and running into a 1-3 lead before Naomh Bríd came into matters eventually tying the game before the hosts hit a brace before the break to go in with a slight edge.
Ballyshannon got off to the perfect start, Paddy Gillespie hared through the flat-footed Naomh Bríd cover before laying off to Seamus Kane who had the simple job of tucking home from a couple of metres out.
Points from Diarmuid McInerney, Seamus Kane and McGurrin left them 1-3 to no score, but the Ballintra Laghey men finally hit their stride 17 minutes in when Darragh Brogan pointed after some neat build up work. Brogan and Declan McCafferty added points before Dermot Langan levelled matters with a good goal.
By half-time Aodh Ruadh had edged back in front 1-6 to 1-4.
By the 36th minute the margin was down to the minimum, but McInerney and David Dolan stretched it again before Shane Walsh responded
However Aodh Ruadh hit back hard as the game moved into the final quarter. Colm Kelly made good progress from a short kick out before bringing Pauric Patton into the play. The ball was then worked slickly through the hands before David McGurrin finished a beautiful move with a crisply taken goal to make it 2-9 to 1-7 after 45 minutes.
Diarmaid McInerney extended the lead with a free from the left four minutes later.
A well-taken point from Shane Walsh brought the margin back to five points, but that was cancelled out when David McGurrin layed off to Niall Harley who powered over with six minutes to play.
Two minutes later Diarmaid McInerney added his seventh point the day and his sixth from placed ball to put three goals between the sides.
Best for Aodh Ruadh on the night were Colm Kelly who anchored the defence brilliantly, Conor Patton, Damian Cleary and Pauric Patton got through an ocean of work in midfield while up front every single man in the attack gave a great account of themselves.
For Naomh Bríd Darragh Brogan was a dangerous up front while Cian Gallagher and Thomas Gallagher were a strong partnership in the middle third, but the visitors could only get their game together in patches.
Aodh Ruadh: Karl O'Brien; Callum O'Halloran, Colm Kelly, Michael Ward; Jason Granaghan, Eamonn McGrath, Paddy Gillespie: Conor Patton, Damien Cleary; David McGurrin (1-1), Michael 'Sticky' Ward, Diarmuid McInerney (0-7, 6f); Seamus Kane (1-2), David Dolan (0-2), Pauric Patton. Subs: Kerry Ryan for Callum O'Halloran 26m; Niall Harley for Kerry Ryan 41m; Oisin Roper for Pauric Patton 56m; Ryan McKenna for Michael 'Sticky' Ward 61m.
Naomh Bríd: Pauric McDaid; Gary McCafferty, Sam Burgess, Gearoid Gallagher; Ross Gallagher, Sean Gormley, Pauric Brennan; Thomas Gallagher, Cian Gallagher (0-1); Shane Walsh (0-2, 1f), Paul McGroary (0-1), Darragh Brogan (0-2); Declan McCafferty (0-2), Dermot Langan (1-0), Alan Quinn. Subs: Clint Walsh for Sean Gormley; Eoin Haran for Pauric Brennan.