Marty O'Reilly . . . back to inspire MacCumhaill's to big win
A fantastic individual goal mid-way through the second half created by county star Marty O'Reilly and finished by his brother Steven, was the catalyst for a battling win by host side Sean MaCumhaills in this at times tetchy league encounter at Sean MacCumhaill Park on Saturday night.
Sean MaCumhaills . . . 3-10
Aodh Ruadh . . . . . . . . . 1-14
O'Reilly, who has been recovering from an injury, and didn't start last week's championship game in Bundoran, was in and out of this game, but when it was needed, showed real leadership to take on the Aodh Ruadh defence, more or less single handed. His speed, balance and power saw him cut through several tackles before Steven finished the ball to the net. It was a huge lift for the home side.
From there to the finish it was no place for faint hearts and the recent edge to games between these sides saw a number of minor skirmishes but one fairly serious melee.
This arose from an Aodh Ruadh goal late in the game. The goal which involved a cluster of players in the 'small square' saw Eamonn McGrath getting the final touch to the net after a David Dolan fist to a high ball had been saved. The goal sparked a row involving roughly a dozen players at the town end goals.
Over the game both defences were often in trouble, Aodh Ruadh's more so, with the MacCumhaill's full forward Steven O’Reilly particularly impressive in the opening 20 minutes when he won well measured ball and created or took scores to keep the home side's tally ticking over.
Aodh Ruadh led 0-8 to 1-4 at half-time and were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty when David McGurrin was fouled.
By contrast MacCumhaill's however, were awarded a merited penalty on 40 minutes when they cut through; a foot block to deny a certain goal resulted in the penalty. Benny McLaughlin hit the penalty well to the left corner at the river end, but Peter Boyle in the Aodh Ruadh goals made a magnificent save.
Aodh Ruadh, until the final quarter, held a narrow upper hand, but the threat from O'Reilly was always there and he duly delivered.
MacCumhaill's third goal really ripped the heart out of Aodh Ruadh, a series of calamities from a short kick by Aodh Ruadh ended up with a Benny McLaughlin having a simple side foot into an unguarded net.
MacCumhaill's were very much up for this game, when they sensed the win was on they closed the game out with a mixture of hard hitting, sensible football and a mix of experience and guile.
At midfield they had the upper hand and won either clean break or most of the breaking ball over the hour.
Shane McGrath, in the first half in particular, was impressive for the visitors; Colm Kelly consistent with one memorable point from a move he started on his own 20 metre line while Johnny Gallagher was very steady throughout.
SEAN MACCUMHAILL’S: Eoghan Gallen; Adam Lynch, Ronan McMenamin, Mark Connolly; John Lynch, Shane Duffy, Darren McGowan (0-2); Nathan Gavigan, Gavin Gallagher (0-2); Aaron Kelly (0-1), Marty O’Reilly (0-3), Gary Wilson; Stephen Mulligan, Steven O’Reilly (1-1), Benny McLaughlin (2-0). Subs., Gary Dunnion for A Lynch; Joe Dunnion for Mulligan; Marty Gallagher for S Duffy; Ryan Duffy for B McLaughlin bcard.
AODH RUADH: Peter Boyle; Calum O'Halloran, Damien Cleary, Michael Ward; Nathan Boyle, Eamon McGrath, Colm Kelly; Conor Patton, David Dolan; Philip Patton, Michael 'Sticky' Ward, David McGurrin; Shane McGrath, Darren Drummond, Johnny Gallagher. Subs: Seamus Kane for Michael 'Sticky' Ward; Johnny Gettins for Nathan Boyle.
REFEREE: Liam McConigley (Downings)