Brendan McNelis . . . goalscorer for Ardara
Glenfin scored a big win in Pearse Park on Saturday night as they looked to move away from the dangerous end of the Division 2 table.
A minute’s silence preceded the game with the late Frank Ward (Glenfin), who had grandsons lining out on both sides, remembered. In direct opposition on the night were cousins Tomás Boyle (Ardara) and the Glenfin trio of Conor, Gerard and Stephen Ward.
Ardara began the day fourth from top on eight points, six off pace-setters MacCumhaills. Glenfin opened second from bottom with just three points under their belts from their seven outings.
But it was Liam Breen’s men that began with most intent as Ciaran Brady and Jason Morrow boomed over. Ardara didn’t get off the mark until the sixth minute. But when they did it was a big one with Kyle Gallagher rattling the net.
Glenfin hit back through Gerard Ward (free). However, Ardara once again responded with a three-pointer – this time off the sweet left peg of big Brendan McNelis. 10 minutes out from the interval in what remained a sluggish affair, Karl McGlynn posted to reel the leaders back into within two.
A now much steadier Glenfin then halved the deficit thanks to another Ward placed ball. It took Ardara until the 29th minute to register their first point – a classy effort from Lorcan O’Donnell. On the verge of the midpoint, this contest turned on its head with Glenfin eventually exiting with their noses in front.
First, Ward pinged another free while a Conor Brady goal meant that his side jumped from one down to two in front, almost bang on half-time.
Half-time: Glenfin 1-6, Ardara 2-1.
McNelis got the second-half up and running with a routine free as Adrian Brennan’s men looked to close a one-point gap. Glenfin though reinstated their two-point cushion through Eoin Donnellan while Ward followed that up with another finely struck free.
On 36 minutes, Stephen Ward posted Glenfin’s third on the bounce to make it 1-9 to 2-2. Despite the red and white clad umpire waving wide, after lengthy deliberation between the referee and a cluster of non-neutral assistants from both sides, Joe Melly’s effort was finally signalled good.
It was a reccurring theme in this one and you had to feel a tad sorry for the man in the middle, Trevor Maloney. He just couldn’t rely on anyone, either at the foot of both goalposts or along the sidelines. This led to a number of contentious decisions where matters threatened to boil over.
Back to the action and into the last quarter Glenfin had their noses in front by two on a difference of 1-9 to 2-4. Tomás Boyle cut it back to one and with Concarr also on the mark, the sides were deadlocked heading into the final five minutes.
As the clock ticked into the red Ward, simultaneously and with his fifth free of the night, boomed Glenfin back to the fore. The same player expertly coaxed another scoreable free out of the Ardara defence to claim what eventually proved to be the insurance over.
ARDARA: Ciaran Gildea; Kelvin Slowey, Kevin Breslin, Nicolas Maguire; Paul Watters, Danny Walsh, Kyle Gallagher (1-0); Conor Classon, Brendan Boyle; Brendan McNelis (1-1,1f), CJ Molloy, Lorcan O’Donnell (0-1); Gareth Concarr (0-3,1f), Shane O’Donnell, Tomás Boyle (0-1). Subs: Joe Melly (0-1) for K Slowey ht, Jimmy O’Connell for K Gallagher 38, Peter McHugh for L O’Donnell 60.
GLENFIN: Andrew Walsh; Gary Dorrian, Hugh Foy, Gary Herron; Daniel McGlynn. Ethan McGlynn, Packie McGrath; Stephen Ward (0-1), Paddy O’Connor; Eoin Donnellan (0-1), Ciaran Brady (1-1); Conor Ward; Karl McGlynn (0-1), Gerard Ward (0-5,5f), Jason Morrow (0-1). Subs: Ronan Gallagher for E McGlynn 12, Kevin McGlynn for C Ward, 49).
REFEREE: Trevor Maloney (Buncrana).