Pauric Ward Naomh Columba breaks through the Aodh Ruadh defence during the top of the table Div 2 game in Glencholmcille on Sunday. Photo Thomas Gallagher INDD 150517 N Columba v A Ruadh TG4
Naomh Columba ...... 0-9
Aodh Ruadh ........... 2-15
This was an eagerly awaited clash of the top two in Division Two but the home side found visitors Aodh Ruadh in devastating form. Scoring all but one point from play, Aodh Ruadh's ability to break and score at one end while bottling up would be Naomh Columba attackers at the other was apparent from early stages.
The Ballyshannon outfit also appear to be extremely fit and they had that bit of power too, Damien Cleary, Eamon McGrath, Conor Patton and Darren Drummond, all able to take and make hits and strip ball from their direct opponents without fouling.
In perfect conditions at Pairc na nGael, Aodh Ruadh won this game with an absorbing fast-paced second quarter, hitting 2-6 from 17th to 30th minutes, effectively ending the game as a contest by half time as they led 2-8 to 0-4.
Scores came from everywhere, but the brand of football was a thing we see all too rarely, quick breaks, long ball, short ball, men coming off the shoulder and players willing to have a pop from 30 metres and more. Philip Patton was a real thorn in the side of the 'Glen men' while Conor Patton and David Dolan were dominant around the middle.
Others who won lots of dirty ball included the hard working Johnny Gallagher and the run-all-day Nathan Boyle and Jason Granaghan.
Naomh Columba really only enjoyed parity in the very early stages and the loss of one of their best players Ryan Gillespie, with a hamstring injury after 15 minutes, didn't help their cause. They also missed a golden goal opportunity on 24 minutes, a point scored from a close range effort that needed to hit the net to stem what was then a growing Aodh Ruadh tide.
For the visitors, unbeaten in this division, there was much to admire, they did the damage in that second quarter, and while Naomh Columba held things together a little better in the second half, there was never much doubt about the outcome after goals from Darren Drummond and Philip Patton on 19 and 27 minutes stretched their lead to 2-6 to 0-4.
With a Colm Kelly point after 12 seconds, Aodh Ruadh showed their early intent, Naomh Columba responded well with Ryan Gillespie and Philip Doherty points, missed twice from scoreable chances and saw Aodh Ruadh level with a spectacular Jason Granaghan point and a powerful drive through three tackles by Damien Cleary which he ended with a point on 17 minutes put the visitors 0-3 to 0-2 ahead and they never relinquished that lead with Philip Patton on fire, finishing with 1-6.
Trailing by 13 points Naomh Columba won a penalty on 48 minutes but Martin Cunningham's well hit low drive was brilliantly saved by Karl O'Brien in the Aodh Ruadh goal which summed up Naomh Columba's day.
Colm Kelly, Conor and Philip Patton were top class for Aodh Ruadh, Paul Doherty and until injured, Ryan Gillespie, caught the eye for the home team.
Naomh Columba: Shane O'Gara; Conor Carr, Michael Maguire, Ciaran McBrearty; Paul Doherty (0-1), Barry Carr, Pauric Ward (0-1); Paddy Byrne, Philip Doherty (0-1); Martin Cunningham, Ryan Gillespie (0-1), Kevin McNern; Pauric O'Neill, Ryan McNern, Pauric Cunningham (0-3, 2 fs). Subs: Gavin McGinley (0-2) for R Gillespie (injd.); Stephen Jones for Michael Maguire; Tadhg McGinley for O'Neill.
Aodh Ruadh: Karl O'Brien; Callum O'Halloran, Damien Cleary (0-1), Michael Ward; Jason Granaghan (0-2), Eamonn McGrath (0-1), Daniel Warnock; Conor Patton (0-1), David Dolan; Philip Patton (1-6, 1f); Colm Kelly (0-3), Nathan Boyle; David McGurrin, Shane McGrath, Seamus Kane. Subs: Darren Drummond (1-0) for Kane injd; Johnny Gallagher (0-1) for Ward; Diarmaid McInerney for Boyle.
Referee: Connie Doherty (Naomh Conaill).